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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Environment and Multiculturalism
    The Honourable Lindy Nelson-Carr

    Torres Strait waste management pilot program begins on Warraber Island

    Minister for Environment and Multiculturalism
    The Honourable Lindy Nelson-Carr

    Thursday, June 28, 2007

    Torres Strait waste management pilot program begins on Warraber Island

    Work is about to start on a waste management project that could help Torres Strait island communities maintain their pristine environment, Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr said today.

    Ms Nelson-Carr said the EPA had provided $93,500 to the Torres Strait Regional Authority to help fund a pilot waste management project on remote Warraber Island in the Torres Strait.

    “An integrated waste management facility will be built on remote Warraber Island that could become the model for managing waste products on other inhabited islands in the Torres Strait,” Ms Nelson-Carr said.

    “Warraber Island is a 38 hectare low lying coral island, 87 kilometres north-east of Thursday Island, with a population of 237.

    “Like the other 16 inhabited islands in the Torres Strait, Warraber Island has a serious waste disposal problem.”

    Ms Nelson-Carr said the current options for disposing of garbage on Torres Strait islands were to crush, burn and bury.

    “Because of the high water tables and soil permeability there is a risk that high tides will wash the waste into the sea.

    “Before construction begins later this year, a study will be carried out to determine how much waste is produced on the island and how it can best be reduced, collected, stored and removed.

    “The Project will look at ways of reducing the amount of waste being produced on the island by reviewing purchasing practices and raising community awareness.

    “In addition, it will recover oil, fuel and recyclable waste such as cardboard, aluminium and steel and plastic.”

    Ms Nelson-Carr said the waste management pilot project, estimated to cost $330,000, would be funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Water Resources, the National Packaging Covenant, and the Torres Strait Regional Authority.

    “It is expected that the project will provide a new waste oil facility, upgraded fuel/oil storage area, a new garbage compactor, and a bailer and storage area for recyclable materials.

    “However, the first phase will be to review all aspects of waste generation and disposal, in conjunction with the community, to get the design right.”

    The integrated management facility is expected to be up and running early next year.

    Media contact: Karla Steen 3336 8004