Australians take up climate change challenge

Tuesday, 12 June, 2007

The Banksia Environmental Foundation has announced its Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year finalists for the annual Banksia Awards 2007.

The recent focus on Australia's environmental issues has triggered a 25% increase in Banksia Award entries compared to 2006. Entries into the Banksia Climate Award have jumped by 200%, while entries into the Banksia Water Award climbed 36%.

"The issues of climate change and water shortages have pushed media, political and corporate agendas in 2007, so it is fantastic to see the steep rise in entries for these award categories," said Graz van Egmond, executive director, Banksia Environmental Foundation.

"Representatives from corporate Australia to local governments to community groups, all with a burning desire to reverse the damage done to the environment, make up the diverse and dynamic list of finalists.

"These finalists are recognised for the direct and tangible difference they make to the environment through the development of proactive and necessary environmental projects."

The Banksia Environmental Award categories reflect the major environmental issues facing Australia today including climate change, water preservation, land and biodiversity, sustainable development practices and minimising energy usage.

The 53 finalists across 11 awards include large and small corporations, individuals, community groups and government departments.

They include the four finalists of the prestigious Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year Award which recognises outstanding, ongoing achievement in environmental preservation by an individual or organisation.

Four of Australia's top 10 companies are Banksia Award finalists in various categories: Westpac, BHP Billiton, Telstra and Rio Tinto.

Winners of the 2007 Banksia Awards will be announced at a gala dinner on 20 July at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour.

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