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

14 May 2002

$55M to Improve Air Quality and Industry's Environmental Performance

The Commonwealth Government will spend over $55 million in 2002-03 to improve air quality and to encourage better environmental performance from business and industry.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said $21 million of this would be used to protect the atmosphere, with reducing pollution from motor vehicles a top priority for the Government.

"More than $10 million will be provided in 2002-03 for in-service emissions testing of diesel and petrol vehicles," Dr Kemp said.

"Another $2.3 million will be spent on implementing the new national fuel quality standards legislation, with higher standards for petrol and diesel to be followed by those for Liquid Petroleum Gas, Compressed Natural Gas and biodiesel in 2002-03. The new standards could cut some pollutants by over 50 per cent over the next 20 years.

"Over $5 million will ensure that the Government continues to lead national efforts to improve air quality, ensuring a better quality of life and better health standards for all Australians.

"This builds on the work done with more than $850 000 in last year's Budget to set up Australia's first air quality forecasting system to help people with respiratory problems protect their health on days of high pollution. It will also complement work by the Australian Greenhouse Office to explore the market for biofuels with $2.5 million in both 2002-03 and 2003-04 from the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme."

A new standard will be developed for fine particles and for priority air toxic pollutants including benzene and formaldehyde, while the national standard for ozone and sulphur dioxide will be reviewed.

In addition, the Government will continue the Launceston Wood Heater Replacement Program, targeting a major source of urban air pollution.

"This financial incentive program has been well received by the Launceston community with nearly $400 000 having been spent by the end of this financial year on replacing almost 800 polluting woodheaters," Dr Kemp said.

"The Government expects to spend approximately $1 million on rebates in Launceston in 2002-03." Other measures in the 2002-03 Budget include:

The Government will continue to work with industry to develop eco-efficiency arrangements for improved environmental performance. Twenty-one agreements have been signed in the last 12 months covering over 350 000 companies.

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

Commonwealth of Australia