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December 18, 2003

Alcoa and Greening Australia Partnerships Wins Prime Minister's Excellence Award

VICTORIA, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 18, 2003--

The following announcement was jointly issued in Australia today by Alcoa World Alumina Australia and Greening Australia

A 21-year-long partnership between Alcoa World Alumina Australia and Greening Australia is the National Winner of a Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships.

The Award winners were announced at a special evening in Sydney last night (17 December).

Alcoa Managing Director Wayne Osborn and Greening Australia Limited CEO Carl Binning said they were delighted to receive recognition in the longevity category as the partnership had delivered long-term benefits for the community and environment, particularly in Victoria and Western Australia.

"Through this partnership, our two organisations have shared ideas, challenges and staff. We've learnt from each other and our programs have had a measurable effect - in environmental, economic and social outcomes," Mr Osborn said.

Mr Binning said Greening Australia was proud of its record of working with the business community to deliver practical solutions to complex environmental problems.

"Alcoa has made an unprecedented contribution to rural and regional Australia through their support of Greening Australia and the Landcare movement. It's imperative that we partner with the business sector, government and community to address the extensive environmental issues we face in Australia," he said.

The partnership has contributed in a practical way to repair the Australian landscape by;

  • Planting of over 10 million trees - Providing practical tools for environmental restoration and operating for 12 years, the Alcoa Revegetation Assistance scheme in Victoria gives farmers and Landcare groups access to specialist machinery and equipment. More than 700 Alcoa Landcare sites have been established and thousands of hectares of degraded land treated.
  • Extensive and ongoing environmental education - Grow Us A Home was introduced in 1992 in recognition of the changing urban landscape in the Perth metropolitan and Peel regions. The decade long program is estimated to have raised the level of environmental awareness of over 40,000 people through the involvement of teachers, parents and students.
  • Improving seed supply - The Alcoa Portland seedbank collects and houses seeds from indigenous plants for use in revegetation projects, providing the right seed for the right sites;
  • Practical knowledge transfer - a range of practical publications and resources has been produced for landholders, rural and urban audiences


The partnership began in 1982 - the International Year of the Tree and first year of operation for Greening Australia.

"Alcoa was only 19 years old when we began to work together," said Mr Osborn.

"In the ensuing 21 years, we have seen Greening Australia grow from small beginnings to become a vibrant community partner and agent for environmental change across Australia. We've also grown and, this year, Alcoa is celebrating 40 years in Australia."

"Our partnership with Alcoa is enduring, changing to suit today's needs and is a fine example of how collaboration could result in excellent outcomes for all," concluded Mr Binning.

The Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships 2003 are run at the state and territory level and divided into three categories: Small, medium and large business.

Two additional special awards will be made this year - one for a partnership that has had an impact on the community and the other for longevity to a partnership that has been operating for more than five years. Greening Australia and Alcoa are joint National Finalists in the Longevity category.

The Award winners will be announced at a special evening hosted by the Prime Minister in Sydney this Wednesday night (17 December).

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File pics available on request.

For more information or to arrange interviews please contact:

Mary-Anne Scully, Greening Australia Limited, on 02 6281 8585 or
0408685225

OR

Brian Doy, Alcoa World Alumina Australia, on 0404 800 027
Kevin Lowery, Alcoa Inc. 412-553-1424

Attached: Major milestones from 1982 - 2003


Media Backgrounder

Major milestones - Alcoa and Greening Australia 21 year partnership 
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1982 - partnership established in Western Australia

1982/1983 - Alcoa Community Tree Planting Program established - this 
evolved into the Greening Australia Support Scheme that provided trees
to community groups for tree planting projects

1983 - 'Leaflet' newsletter introduced as a means of providing the
community with up to date information on their local environment and
revegetation issues and achievements.

1990 - partnership extends to Victoria with initial funding
supporting the Treeline Project (forerunner to the state Rail Trails
program) in the Hamilton area and the first 90 kilometres of direct
seeding on farmland adjoining the disused Branxholme to Miakite
railway line.

1990- 1997 - establishment of key projects in Western Australia -
Ribbons of Green (which went on to inspire the National Corridors of
Green Project) and the Plants for Conservation Program. During this
period, the partnership was heavily committed to raising awareness and
working with communities and individuals in the establishment of
substantial corridors of bush in urban and rural landscapes to provide
habitats and movement for fauna in Western Australia.

1991 - Alcoa commenced support of seed supply in Victoria with
renovation (including a walk-in refrigerator) of an old bluestone
primary school in Portland, Victoria. The Alcoa Portland Regional
Seedbank was born, together with provision of a Kimseed Clarke Seed
Cleaner for the embryo Melbourne Indigenous Seedbank. In following
years, this support of seed supply extended to the South Gippsland
Indigenous Seedbank with support for collection for the initial seed
stocking and, in 2001, the provision of a Daniell Seed Scarifier and
Kimseed Clarke Seed Cleaner.

1992 - 2003 - Educational program, Grow Us A Home, was introduced in 
recognition of the changing urban landscape in the Perth metropolitan 
and Peel regions. Land clearing for urban development purposes to 
accommodate Perth's population doubling over 20 years has led to 
immense urban bushland destruction. Grow Us A Home aims to educate, 
enthuse and empower the Perth and Peel school community about the 
value and importance of native vegetation and biodiversity through 
them submitting revegetation plans for their school or local community
using local native plants.

With the main focus on participation, school projects must demonstrate a benefit to the environment, such as:

-- Providing habitat for birds, reptiles and other animals. -- Protecting a place under threat from land degradation. -- Preserving wetlands. -- Providing corridor linkages between areas of remnant vegetation. -- Providing shade in school grounds.

There is also a large component of professional development for teachers that provides access to learning/teaching opportunities on the value of re-establishment of habitat for biodiversity in urban landscapes. Over 11 years, the program is estimated to have raised the level of environmental awareness of over 40,000 people through the involvement of teachers, parents and students.

1993 - the Alcoa Woady Yaloak Catchment project commenced in Victoria.
This was followed by the Warrambeen Landcare Demonstration Farm and 
renovation of run-down bluestone shearers quarters to produce the 
Warrambeen Landcare Education Centre

1993 -1994 - Development of the highly regarded publications: Growing 
Understory Seed and Regional Natural Resources Identification Kits

1994 - Chain of Diamonds - this WA project aimed to enhance community 
perception of wetlands in order to preserve them for the future, and 
providing funding to metropolitan community groups for education and 
revegetation projects.

1996/1997 - More new WA publications: Bush Plants for your Garden/
Perth Plants for Your Garden (now on its second publication)

1997 - Rural Towns Program (WA) - An extension of the Regional Seed 
Production Farm, this project aimed to create a rural revegetation 
program as support for the State government's Rural Towns Program.

1998 - Regional Seed Production Farms - the objective of this program 
of which was to secure a long term reliable supply of local understory
seed for direct seeding revegetation projects. This year also saw the 
start of the Fairbridge Consultancy in Western Australia to support - 
supporting teacher and student education programs that focus on 
sustainability in industry and agriculture.

1998 - current : The Living Landscapes project is working with farming
communities to develop landscape management practices that protect 
biological diversity within an economically viable and sustainable 
land use system. The project's current focus is on the central 
wheatbelt of Western Australia - an area that has suffered the effects
of up to 98% land clearing.

2002: Development of Grow Us a Home Website- an interactive
educational resource for teachers and students to compliment the
Project.