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Howard and Hill - cash before ozone protection.

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Media Release

Senator Nick Bolkus

Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage


27 January 2000



Howard and Hill - cash before ozone protection


Australia already has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, yet the Prime Minister and Senator Hill are prepared to risk a growing ozone hole for the sake of a few dollars and after years of hard work on ozone protection.


The impending sale of around 250 tonnes ozone depleting halon gas was uncovered in documents prepared for the next round of Senate budget estimate hearings. The sale has not been announced and the Government has tried to slip it through the back door.


“This sale beggars belief” said Nick Bolkus, Shadow Minister for Environment, “It is both irresponsible and immoral for the Government to allow halons to be sold — they should be destroyed.”


“Only November last year, Hill was bragging about Australia’s leading role in ozone protection, yet here he is taking a giant step backwards.”


The Australian Defence Force has led the world in phasing out halon use. In contrast, the US Department of Defence is actively shopping for halon supplies throughout the world, to cover for lack of action and its continuing unnecessary dependence on halon.


Instead of destroying the ozone-depleting halons, which were collected by industry (at their cost) and banked in good faith for destruction, Senator Hill has sold them to the US - a move personally signed off by the Prime Minister.


Public outrage in 1997 forced the Government to back down on the proposed sale of the Halon Bank and to take responsibility for the Bank. “It is an utter travesty that the Government is willing to undo the superior concern and performance by Australian industry in a pitch for dubious export income.”


The Australian Government has already destroyed its stocks of Halon 1211. But the more lucrative Halon 1301 (worth more than $35,000 per tonne on the international market) has not been destroyed.


“Its not enough to sell Telstra to pay for fundamental environmental protection, the Government is now selling ozone depleting halons and putting all Australians at increased risk of skin cancer” said Senator Bolkus.


“No amount of money is worth risking increasing rates of skin cancer in Australia” said Senator Bolkus. “Already more than two-thirds of Australians will develop some form of skin cancer."



Nick Bolkus 0419 426 617

Alex Gordon 0417 243 742




jy  2000-02-01  14:20