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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

4 October 2006

Education for sustainability


All Australians have a vital role to play in creating a more sustainable nation, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.

Speaking on the day the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) National Conference commences in Bunbury, Senator Campbell said “With the environmental challenges we now face, such as climate change and water management, educating young and old on the importance of sustainability is an international priority.”

The conference will discuss the Australian Government’s Strategy for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005 – 2014, with the themes of Learning Sustainability, Biodiversity Education and Sustaining Futures.

"As a major sponsor of the conference, my Department has a strong interest in how education can contribute to a more sustainable society," Senator Campbell said. "This conference is one of many initiatives we support as part of the Australian Government’s commitments under the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development."

A culture of sustainability can improve educational, environmental, social and economic outcomes, such as those achieved by the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI). There are 2,015 schools across Australia are participating in the programme, some of whom have made waste and water reductions of up to 40 per cent, and are saving as much as $8,900 on their electricity bills.

"Education for sustainable development is taking place not only in schools, but also within the wider community," said Senator Campbell. With support from the Australian Government, 10 major organisations including NAB, Toyota, Westpac and Wesley Mission are using practical education techniques to work towards sustainability within their organisation.

"The UN Decade is a great opportunity to reflect on what we are already doing in this area, and to deepen engagement with the community on sustainable development."

The Strategy for the Decade acknowledges that new ways of living and working across all sectors of the Australian community are required to address unsustainable practices. Developed in consultation with all Australian Government portfolios, the strategy sets out how the Government is working towards solving complex issues, and aims to give Australian communities the understanding, knowledge, skills and capacity they need to contribute to sustainable development.

The strategy is to be released soon, and builds on the National Action Plan Environmental Education for a Sustainable Future – released in July 2000.
For more information on the AAEE National Conference, visit http://www.aaeeconf2006.org/
To find out more about sustainability education, visit http://www.deh.gov.au/education/index.html

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield 0409 493 902

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