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

20 May 2003

Federal Environment Minister Impressed by Local School's Environmental Work

Students at Broome's St Mary's Primary School today met with the Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, to showcase their innovative environmental and indigenous projects.

Year 7 students from St Mary's 'Environment Committee' escorted Dr Kemp on a guided tour of the school's nature trail, which is the future site for an indigenous bush fruits trail.

Dr Kemp was also briefed on St Mary's other environmental initiatives, which include an energy savings incentive scheme, a recycling awareness program, and planting of native species.

"The school is currently transforming an existing nature trail into a bush fruits trail, otherwise known as Aboriginal bush tucker, in conjunction with the local TAFE college," Dr Kemp said. "This trail will support Year 4 studies on local bush fruits in the Broome area. The school also plans to plant more native species in garden seating areas for all students to enjoy.

"Both the trail and planting native species in the school area will play an important role in protecting the habitats of local wildlife and increasing local biodiversity."

Dr Kemp presented the students with 'Hands on for Habitat kits', a Federal Government initiative that helps schools learn about threatened species in their area and how to conserve biodiversity. The kits feature a project where St Mary's students can help threatened species found in the Broome area such as the Bilby, Mulgara, Northern Masked Owl, and Loggerhead and Green Turtles.

As part of the energy saving initiative, the school has purchased a new energy efficient air conditioner that uses 50% less energy than their existing models. The school plans to eventually replace all of its air conditioners with energy saving models.

"Energy efficiency is also encouraged through an innovative incentives scheme where money saved on electricity bills will be spent on new play equipment," Dr Kemp said. "Posters are distributed around the school providing students with energy saving tips such as turning off lights and computers and reducing water use. Energy savings by the students is then matched by fundraising organised by the school's Parents and Friends committee.

"As part of the school's recycling program, students on the Environment Committee will send letters to Broome Council requesting recycling bins. Once the bins arrive, the committee will run a campaign to educate fellow students on how to recycle properly."

Dr Kemp congratulated the students of St Mary's Primary School for taking a leadership role in helping to protect the environment and raise awareness of Australia's indigenous heritage.

"The opportunity to see first hand exactly what schools are achieving in these fields is exciting to say the least, particularly when it concerns our next generation. These young people hold the future of the environment in their hands so it is reassuring to see such innovative environmental projects in place that will make a real difference," Dr Kemp said.

"I applaud students at St Mary's Primary School for their initiative and in setting an excellent example not only to other schools but their families and friends in what can be done to help protect the environment."

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

Commonwealth of Australia