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Aust. & US Military: Best Practice Enviro. Manag.

Australian and United States Military Agree To World's Best Practice Environmental Management

Australia and the United States will work towards world's best practice in sustainable environmental management for combined military activities.

The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Angus Houston and Commander United States Pacific Command, Admiral William J Fallon signed the historic Statement of Environment and Heritage Principles in Adelaide today at the Australia-United States Ministerial Meeting.

Defence has in place a comprehensive environmental management regime to ensure major exercises do not have any significant impacts on the environment. This Statement of Principles will assist Australia and the United States to further improve environmental performance for future combined military exercises.

The environmental statement acknowledges the importance of managing and using training areas sustainably. It demonstrates to the community that Australia and the United States are committed to promoting a strong culture of sustainable environmental management in all combined military activities.

According to ACM Houston, sustainable environmental practice had long underpinned Defence training activities in Australia.

"The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is fortunate to have access to some of the best training areas in the world. "We understand our obligation to manage these training areas sustainably, to enable and enhance our military capability and to ensure a positive environmental legacy for future generations," he said.

"This is an important step forward for military environmental management," Admiral Fallon said.

"The United States values the opportunity to train in Australia and appreciates that achieving military readiness depends on sustainable environmental practices. We are very happy to work with the ADF in pursuit of world's best practice sustainable environmental management."

The Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage has endorsed the Statement of Environment and Heritage Principles and welcomes the initiative displayed by the Department of Defence and its United States counterparts.

The Environment and Heritage Principles

* Australia and the United States will strive to protect the environment, conserve biodiversity and protect and conserve heritage for the benefit of current and future generations;

* Australia and the United States will strive to integrate ecologically sustainable development principles into the planning, implementation and concluding stages of activities;

* Australia and the United States will strive to ensure that all personnel understand their environmental and heritage obligations and responsibilities and have the ability to meet those obligations and responsibilities;

* Australia and the United States will meet relevant obligations under their respective environmental and heritage legislation and policies and International Conventions to which their governments are party;

* Australia and the United States are committed to a "continual improvement" approach to their activities supported by appropriate quality assurance processes, consistent with an Environmental Management System;

* Australia and the United States will consider the impact of activities on neighbouring landowners and communities and take all reasonable and practicable measures to minimise adverse impacts;

* Australia and the United States will strive to promote a cooperative approach to the protection and management of our environment and heritage by involving, where appropriate, relevant stakeholders; and

* Australia and the United States will consider environmental impacts at the earliest stage of planning activities as an integrated element of risk assessment and will strive to develop and implement measures to mitigate such impacts.

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