MEDIA RELEASE 20th October, 1998
Question to the Federal Minister for the Environment
Does the Federal government think that each Australian child saved from lead poisoning is worth two dollars?
In 1993 the Federal government introduced the leaded fuel tax, which was levied because of the recognised health and environment risks attributable to lead and last year alone they raised over $152 million last year from this tax.
In May 1996 the Howard government stopped the $150,000 per year funding to the National Leadline project which was a community based advisory service which received over 300 calls per month from people with lead related concerns.
We think that $150,000 per year is not too much to ask. One thousandth of the tax earnings on lead is a pittance. To keep taxing the Australian people and to give NO SERVICE to the community in return needs review.
Fortunately, the Carr government saw the need for the service and now funds the Lead Advisory Service for residents of New South Wales.
But, WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF AUSTRALIA?
"The studies are there for anyone to see. We know that in Sydney 25% of young children living in the inner suburbs have blood lead levels above the Australian goal. These figures could apply to any community in Australia with pre 1970 housing stock with old lead paint" said Ms OBrien Co-ordinator of The LEAD Group.
"We think that every Australian child has a right to expect the best chance in life. The lack of Federal funding equates to more damaged children and that is a scandal" she said.
Media Contacts: Elizabeth OBRIEN telephone: (02) 9716 0014.
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