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Australian environment industry goes for gold

The creation of the world's largest solar-power suburb is among the outstanding Australian environmental achievements of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Launching a series of reports to mark the world's first 'Green Games', Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today congratulated the Australian environmental industry on setting new benchmarks for sustainable development.

"The environment industry is one of our fastest growing industry sectors, valued at more than $8.5 billion per year," he said. "The potential to expand its export markets is huge as current global expenditure in this sector is worth more than $500 billion per year.

"Many of the innovative design features and technologies used in the construction and operation of the Olympic facilities could be applied to future overseas and Australian facilities, ranging from the family home to the largest public buildings."

Senator Hill said the benefits of Olympic projects to the social, economic and environmental 'triple bottom line' would be felt for decades after the closing ceremony.

"For example, the Olympic Village and suburb of Newington is truly a 'living city'. The solar power, water saving and other devices in each of its 667 permanent dwellings means that they'll use half the energy and half the water of a conventional house," he said.

"Australian technologies at work at Homebush have also turned a contaminated wasteland into parklands, decontaminated on site 400 tonnes of soil containing dioxins and other toxic chemicals, protected endangered species and implemented impressive waste management and water conservation schemes."

Senator Hill said that the games would not only achieve the highest environmental standards in Olympic history, they would help establish Australia as a world leader in developing and applying environmental technologies, expertise and partnerships.

"The reports I am launching today detail Australia's world leading environmental capabilities - they will be of interest to businesses and organisations everywhere in their search for practical solutions to environmental challenges," he said.

Australia's environmental capabilities include waste minimisation and transformation, wastewater treatment and re-use, stormwater management, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, cleaner production, site remediation and sustainable construction. The reports released today are:

> Greening the Games - Australia Creating Sustainable Solutions for a New Millennium, a the story of how Australian expertise is delivering the 'Green Games';

> The Australian Environmental Industry Directory, produced by the Environment Management Industry Association of Australia (EMIAA); and

> Australia's Leading Edge Environmental Technologies, with more than 30 examples of Australian innovation.

The reports, and further details on Australia's environmental capabilities and innovations, are available through Australia's EnviroNET

See also www.australia.org.nz

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