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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Cabinet Approves National Pollutant Inventory Proposal

October 14, 1996

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the establishment of a National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) will be a priority for the Federal Government.

Federal Cabinet has today given the green light for Senator Hill's draft proposal for a National Pollutant Inventory to be established as a National Environment Protection Measure.

Senator Hill says Australians are demanding access to higher levels of information about the substances which are emitted into their environment.

"There is no doubt this is a hot issue. My office has received thousands of letters on the NPI. In fact, we have received more correspondence on the NPI than we have on any other environmental issue.

"Australians are increasingly concerned about the substances which are being emitted into the environment. They have a right to information about those emissions. The establishment of the National Pollutant Inventory will guarantee that right."

Senator Hill says the draft proposal approved by Cabinet will form the basis of negotiation with the States and Territories.

"We have already gained the approval of the States and Territories through the National Environment Protection Council to develop a proposal for the NPI. We will now take our proposal to the Council's next meeting in Brisbane in November.

"It is clear that this sort of Commonwealth and State cooperation is the most practical way to implement the Inventory and the best way to meet the need of stakeholders. It is vital that the Inventory is supported and implemented nationally so that Australians can enjoy the benefit of equivalent environment protection.

"The main goal of the Inventory will be to assist governments, industry and the community to monitor and evaluate the levels of pollutants to air, land and water and take whatever action is needed to reduce those levels. We will be able to identify problems and inform people about pollutants in their local area.

"Under the Inventory, businesses and government authorities will be required to report emissions of listed chemicals and substances, if they exceed specified thresholds."

Part of the negotiation process with the NEPC will be to develop a reporting list of substances and establish thresholds to determine whether a facility needs to report its emissions.

Further comment: Matt Brown (Minister) 06 277 7640 or 0419 693515

Mark Hyman (Dept) 274 1499

Commonwealth of Australia