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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Mr Gary Nairn, MP
Federal Member for Eden-Monaro

Dr Sharman Stone, MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for Environment and Heritage


Hi-tech Environmental Reporting Saves Councils Time and Money


Local Governments will be able to save money thanks to an investment of $100,000 by the Federal Government in a new electronic State of the Environment Reporting Guide, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Sharman Stone MP, announced today.

Speaking at the Easing the Load - Facilitating State of the Environment Reporting/and ESD Assessment Conference in Narooma, Dr Stone said that because State of the Environment Reporting was mandatory at the local, state and federal level it was important that councils had the right tools to plan effectively.

"State of the Environment Reporting is an early warning system that provides vital information about the state of health of our environment. Timely, accurate information is crucial in understanding environmental priorities. It can help boost productivity and deliver more effective long-term planning," Sharman Stone said.

"Traditional, bulky paper reports that take months to produce will now be a thing of the past thanks to the development of this electronic guide."

The electronic State of the Environment Reporting Guide has been produced in CD Rom format. It comprises a flexible template of environmental indicators including land, water and atmospheric themes, as well as a customised mapping facility.

The electronic template is applicable to regional and individual jurisdiction reporting.

Federal Member for Eden-Monaro, Mr Gary Nairn, said he was delighted that councils in the Australian Capital Region were driving the development and application of the technology, with their next report, due in November 2000, the first to be produced electronically.

"With some of Australia's most spectacular natural coastline and mountain ranges, there is no better place than Eden-Monaro to be trialing this new technology," Mr Nairn said.

"As well as helping local councils in the region better understand the natural limits of our landscape, electronic reporting will save time money and slash red tape associated with producing environmental reports. A cleaner, greener bottom line means great news for councils and ratepayers alike."

The Federal Government contribution of $100,000 has been matched by expert and in-kind support from the 17 councils of the Australian Capital Region, the Institute for Sustainable Futures (UTS) and the Australian Capital Territory Government.

The electronic guide is available from the ACT Office of the Commissioner for the Environment.

Media Inquiries:
Nicole Johnston, Dr Stone's Office, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415
Gary Nairn, 02 6297 3952 or 0419 420 108
26 May 2000

Commonwealth of Australia