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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

19 February 2003

Labor Irresponsible on Pollutants


Labor has deliberately attempted to mislead the public on the state of our air quality. Either that, or it is just incapable of interpreting simple data.

"Labor's environment spokesman, Kelvin Thomson, has taken the results of the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) completely out of context and has wrongly claimed air pollutants in Australia's cities are increasing," Dr Kemp said.

The facts are these:

Dr Kemp said the State of the Environment Report 2001 clearly showed urban air quality had generally improved from 1996 to 2001 and that air pollution in rural and regional Australia is also well below levels of concern.

Dr Kemp said Labor's attempt to compare the 8.8 billion kgs of pollutants in the 2001-2002 year with 3.2 billion kgs the previous reporting year is not only meaningless, but very misleading.

"Labor's irresponsible interpretation of the data reported in today's media only serves to misinform the community," said Dr Kemp.

"The State of the Environment Report said carbon monoxide was of concern in only a few specific urban areas, such as the centre of Sydney, and this was a problem because of motor vehicles and not because of industry.

"The truth is that while Labor keeps fumbling the figures, the Howard Government has been leading the national effort on air quality through a range of National Environment Protection Measures, such as the NPI, all of which have been developed since 1998.

"However, with the rising number of facilities and substances required to be reported, extreme care is required when comparing the most recent NPI emissions to those from previous years.

"The Commonwealth has also introduced new national fuel quality standards to reduce pollution through cleaner diesel and petrol and through the use of new automotive technology. It has also established many eco-efficiency agreements with industry to help reduce their impact on the environment."

Media Contact:
Dr Peter Poggioli Dr Kemp's office 0412 970 063

Commonwealth of Australia