NSW Premier Baird should sidestep lobbyists and commit to Cash for Containers

Press release - 29 April, 2014
In advance of a meeting today of all Environment Ministers set to consider a 10 cent cash for containers scheme, a coalition of 28 environment groups, including Clean Up Australia and Greenpeace, are calling on the NSW Premier Mike Baird and his new Environment Minister Mr Rob Stokes to ignore aggressive lobbying by the beverage industry and commit NSW to its implementation.

Convenor of the Boomerang Alliance and CEO of the Total Environment Centre Mr Jeff Angel said, “Incoming Premier Mike Baird and new Environment Minister Rob Stokes will start on the right foot with environment protection and voters if they move quickly on this incredibly popular and effective scheme.

“The program will save local councils money, create an estimated 3000 jobs in the recycling industry and importantly reduce litter clogging our beaches, rivers and oceans.

“Shelly Beach, in the Premier’s electorate, was this month named by the CSIRO as the dirtiest beach in NSW, with the highest rate of marine debris. The CSIRO has identified a container deposit scheme as a key solution.

“The new Environment Minister Rob Stokes is an active member of Mona Vale Surf Club and a former environmental lawyer who would understand the virtues of this scheme which has been so successful in South Australia and the Northern Territory in cleaning up our beaches and protecting the marine environment.

Greenpeace’s Senior Campaigner Mr Reece Turner said, “Former Premier Barry O’Farrell faced intensive lobbying by the Australian Food and Grocery Council and beverage giants like Coca-Cola Amatil and avoided committing to this recycling scheme.

“There could be no stronger evidence of Premier Baird’s commitment to clean up the culture of lobbying in NSW than to back this incredibly popular bottle and can recycling scheme which 84 percent of NSW voters support.

“For the Australian Food and Grocery Council to tag this scheme as a ‘tax’ is just nonsense. It involves a 10 cent refundable deposit you can choose to redeem or give to a charity or your kids as pocket money.

Chairman of Clean Up Australia Mr Ian Kiernan AO said, “NSW volunteers from last year’s Clean Up Australia reported an increase of three per cent in the beverage containers they removed from NSW parks, beaches, roadways, bushland and waterways. At 41 per cent of all rubbish collected, NSW holds the record for the highest level of beverage rubbish in Australia. This is not a record we should be proud to hold.

“South Australian residents, where this scheme has run for 35 years, recycle up to 85 per cent of their containers - double the national average.

“There has never been a better time for us to tackle this states’ number one rubbish type, considering an incentive scheme under which beverage containers can so easily be captured and recycled.”

For further information and to arrange interviews:
Alison Orme Media Greenpeace Australia Pacific 0432 332 104

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