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

14 May 2002

$1B Greenhouse Program Moves Into Next Phase

The Government has continued its strong commitment to combating greenhouse gases through its overall funding of almost $1 billion.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said that maintaining a high level of funding in the tight budgetary situation reaffirmed the Government's commitment to achieving Australia's target of 108 per cent of emissions over 1990 levels, regardless of whether the Kyoto Protocol comes into force.

"The Government has reviewed the forward estimates of the Measures for a Better Environment package so that the funding made available better aligns with the ability of industry to develop appropriate projects and build capacity," Dr Kemp said.

"This will lead to greater greenhouse value and more sustainability from Government funding.

"In this Budget the Government will explore the potential of biofuels to cut greenhouse gas emissions, with $2.5 million in both 2002-03 and 2003-04 from the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program for a study of market barriers, including vehicle testing to determine appropriate standards for ethanol blend fuels.

"The timing of some funding for the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program, Renewable Remote Power Generation Program, Alternative Fuels Conversion Program and the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program has been extended over several years to better align with industry take up capacity."

The Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) was established in 1998 as the world's first government agency dedicated to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Its $400 million Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program has already funded projects likely to save 26.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases over the period 2008-2012 - the equivalent of the emissions of almost 1.3 million cars over the same period.

The Greenhouse Challenge now has over 700 industry members, who have reported total annual emission abatement of more than 30 million tonnes.

In 2002-03, up to $14 million will support the commercialisation of innovative renewable energy equipment, technologies, systems and processes.

The renewable energy required to be generated under the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target will increase from 1 100 000 megawatt hours in 2002 to 1 800 000 megawatt hours in 2003, which is equivalent to enough power to meet the residential electricity needs of over three quarters of a million people.

The Government will reduce or exit from a small number of non-performing grants where technical or business issues have reduced the feasibility or viability of the projects. These small savings will have no impact on the effectiveness of the Government's overall greenhouse strategy but will achieve minor savings of $5.7 million.

Of the Australian Greenhouse Office allocated funding of $221 million for 2001-02, only an estimated $95 million will be spent, consistent with industry's ability to gear up for the funding. The AGO 2002-03 budget of $113 million is expected to be fully taken up as industry capacity grows.

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

Commonwealth of Australia