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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

1 May 2002

Independent Review of Australian Greenhouse Office

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced the commencement of an independent review of the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO). This fulfils a commitment to a 2002 review, made when the AGO became an Executive Agency two years ago.

Dr Kemp announced that the Hon. Warwick Smith, an Executive Director with Macquarie Bank, is conducting the review. Mr Smith, a former Federal Minister and Shadow Minister for Science and Energy, has considerable experience in parliamentary inquiries on public policy issues. He will report his findings to the Government by 30 June this year.

"The review will examine the appropriateness of the current scope of the AGO's operations and assess its effectiveness and efficiency in delivering government policy and in communicating the government's position on Australia's international obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, its commitments on greenhouse, developments in international negotiations, interaction between greenhouse policy and other government objectives, and our forward strategy for addressing climate change," Dr Kemp said.

"The threat posed by climate change is an issue of great national and international importance. The Howard Government established the Australian Greenhouse Office in 1998 to provide a whole-of-government approach to greenhouse matters. It is the world's first government agency dedicated to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, backed by $1 billion in funding.

"The AGO has achieved much under the leadership of Ms Gwen Andrews and Dr Colin Grant who recently announced they would be departing to further their careers elsewhere. The AGO has overseen programs worth more than $300 million encouraging innovation and development in Australia's renewable energy industry, and the development of legislation to establish the world's first national market in renewable energy under the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, which by 2010 is expected to annually deliver enough renewable electricity to meet the residential needs of four million people.

"The AGO's $400 million Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program has funded projects likely to save 26.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases of over the period 2008-2012 - the equivalent of annual emissions of almost 1.3 million cars. The Greenhouse Challenge, which has over 700 industry members, has reported total annual emission abatement of more than 30 million tonnes by 2000.

"The AGO has also been working to improve Australia's capacity to reduce emissions in agriculture and land management and the world-class National Carbon Accounting System has been developed to assist in monitoring land use change and its impact on Australia's emissions.

"An independent review will help ensure that Australia continues to deliver on its greenhouse gas targets," said Dr Kemp.

Media contact:
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Terms of Reference for the Independent Review of the Australian Greenhouse Office

The Australian Greenhouse Office was established in early 1998 to be the lead Commonwealth agency on greenhouse matters. It has been responsible for the delivery of a range of programs established under the Government's policies Safeguarding the Future and Measures for a Better Environment, and for policy advice to the Government on its greenhouse response.

The review of the office is to report to the Government by 30 June 2002. The report should respond to the following terms of reference:

Taking into account:

Provide advice on:

Commonwealth of Australia