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Tonight on Stateline - why

the Government is considering

making re cycling

compulsory. We know that land

fill is no longer an

option. The rise of the boy

from broom Hill, Richard Goyder

on Australia's biggest

corporate takeover. And the

Austrian couple going to

extraordinary lengths to save

an en dangered reptile.

Hello and welcome to the

program. I'm Rebecca Carmody.

This week, the 2007 election

campaign has been haunted by

the ghost of 2004. First,

interest rates moved up again,

a difficult reminder of the

Prime Minister's promise to

keep them at record lows. And

today Mark Latham was back with

a stinging critique of the

current campaign. The former

Labor leader is critical of

both sides, but the Government

has welcomed his contribution,

nonetheless. Political editor

Michael Brissenden reports.

Where is your hat? Just 14

sleeps to go and it's hats on

for start of the final

fortnight of campaigning.

Although as usual some of them

seem to be take ing things a

head too far. Yesterday around

Australia about 100,000 people

wore these. If you have hair

like mine you probably should

cover it up. From silly

hats to shopping centres. At a

superficial level the recipe

for election campaigns rarely

changes much. Come again. But

whatever you put in the mix, no

two cakings are ever will same

and there's always some

surprise ingredient s and the

odd bad egg or. Two You

mentioned Mr Latham. I don't

normally do that. I have broken

the drought by mention ing Mr

Latham. Yes, he's back. Hardly

un expected. Mark Latham's

intervention had to come

eventually and, as usual, it's

penned for Australian vintage vitriol. In a piece

'Financial Review' today, Mr

Latham declares this the

'Seinfeld' election, a show

about nothing, a contest

between two essentially

conservative forces and a Labor

administration he says would be

even more timid and

conservative than the present

one. Even though behind the

scenes he says the Labor

faithful are reassuring each

other that once Labor is in

power it will be far more

progressive than it's less

Letting on. Mark Latham's

hatred for the current Labor

leader and most of the Labor

Party is well known. But the

return of the recluse has been

enthusiastically embraced by

the Government. I thought he just confirmed everything that

Peter Garrett had said. Peter

Garrett had said we'd change it

all when we get in and Mark

Latham says that, you know, we

all expect and hope that it

will br a lot more, he uses the

word progressive, I use the

word rad ical, a lot more

radical many in the the Labor

Party gets in. I haven't read

the - I have a copy. I haven't

read the article in

question. I have a copy. I

thought you would. I have been

reading about SA today and I

don't intend to re visit the past. I am on about the future. The Government has

jumped all over it but being attacked by Mark Latham

probably won't do too much damage to Kevin Rudd's It's been damage to Kevin Rudd's chances.

It's been a bit of a week for It's bee a bit of It's been a bit of a It's be a

the ghosts of 2004. Plenty

argue Mark Latham is his own

biggest light but the

Government threw everything

back at him back then

with. This week's interest rate

rise saw the 2004 campaign

return to haunt John Howard's

pitch in 2007. I am sorry about

that. And I regret the

additional burden that will be

put upon them as a result. I

said that I was sorry they'd

occurred. I don't think I

actually used the word apology.

I think there is a difference

between the two thing. Was it

an apology or not. Sn it hardly

seems to matter. The fact is

the Prime Minister's dis

sembling has kept this a dominant theme for three full

days. This morning it was the

topic of choice in radio

studios across the country and

a big focus of the Prime

Minister's interviews: Do you take responsibility for dlience

interest rates? I certainly

take responsibility for the

strong economy. So you take

responsibility for six increase

- interest rate increases?

Gentleman I take responsibility

for the strength of the economy

and the extent to which that

strength has contributed to

movement. Of course I do. I've

said that. But you've always

interest rates. Therefore you taken some pleasure in low

have to take some pain in high

interest rates, don't you? The

people will make a judgment

about the apportionment of pain

and blame. That is, frankly,

classic John Howard. Taking the

credit when there is good economic news, avoigd

responsibility when there's bad

economic news. I find that

statement remarkable because if Mr Howard is out there saying

he's preparing to take the

credit for economic growth

numbers, but explicitly reject

all responsibility for what

happens when it comes to

interest rates, that underlines

a Prime Minister who is now

desperate saying anything and

doing anything in order to secure the next election. Still, as the Prime

Minister said this week, in

campaign s voters shouldn't

look at every utterance, only

at the agrigate impression of

the whole campaign. 2004 is

playing #0u9 heavily in the

2007 campaign. And in just two

weeks time we will know what

the agrigate impression of this

one really is. This week, WA's

own Richard Goyder secured the

biggest takeover in Australia's

corporate history. The managing

director of Wesfarmers, the

shining light of business in

the State, won shareholder

approval for the $20 billion

takeover of Coles. Today, the

deal was ratified by the

Victorian Supreme Court. It's

understating it to say that

Richard Goyder has come a long

way in his 47 years. The son of

a farmer, he was raised in the

tiny towns of Tambellup and

Broome Hill in the great

southern. By the end of this

month, the former country boy

will have more employees under

his control than any other

Australian business in the

private sector. He joined me earlier. Richard Goyder,

welcome to Stateline. Thanks,

Rebecca. Nice to be with

you. As of today, this takeover

is now official. Are you

relieved the process is

over? There's a sense of relief

that the process is over

because it's been seven months

and there's been some ups and

downs but really excited about

the future. We take control of

the business on 23 November and it will be an exciting time for

all of us, I think. Has it been

more intense than you

anticipated? It's certainly

been intense. The Coles board

announced their ownership

review on 23 February so it

will be 23 November when the

change happens. And through

process we and we is a lot of

people in Wesfarmers and people

associated with us have done a

heck of a lot of work look at

the business, eVal waeting it

and in negotiations. There's

been some ups and downs, the

world markets have changed

through that period and we've

had to review our bid from time

to time. So it's been a really

interesting and a great ride

but the hard work starts

now. Is there any part of you

that's nervous that perhaps you

have bitten off more than you

can chew? There's a part of me

that is nervous about the

future because there's always

uncertain things in the future.

But I am really confident that

this is a good thing for us to

do for our shareholders. Some

analysts think you have taken

on too much debt, that you

won't be able to compete with

wool woertds. With we believe

we can and we will. Coles is an

ing a regaetion of businesses

with terrific market positions in very good industry

structures. And Wesfarmers

already has a series of

businesses that are very good

cash generating businesses. So

we're very confident that we

will be able to run the

businesses better and provide

really good out comes for our

shareholders and all ore stake

hoefrd, our economies, the communities in which we operate

and the customers. How will you

turn around the underperforming

supermarket force Coles? We

have got a plan. It will take

some time. The first thing we

will be doing is bring some new

people into the business. What

we want to do is ultimately

provide consumers with a better

outcome. At the moment, there's

too many stockouts of product

in Coles supermarkets. We think

the store s can be presented

better and there can be better

engagement with customers in

the stores. We think the fresh

offer of meat, fruit,

vegetables, poultry, bread can

all be improve . There's so there's a lot of things that we

want to do. Some will take a

fair bit of time. Some will

happen quickly. How long do you

give to turn that around before

you start to feel the pressure

from the shareholders and the

board? There's always pressure

in these roles but we have

always said we will do this on

our terms, which means it will

take some time. We've been patient investors at wress we.

We know what is required. We

know we need to bring good feel

People to the task and we will

do that. Changing the culture

of Coles will take some years.

Some things will happen

reasonably quickly but it will

take some time but the prize

will be worth while. How much

bigger, if at all, can

Wesfarmers actually get? It's

hard to contemplate today. I've

often said who knows what we will look like in five years

time, and I said that five

years ago and didn't contemplate that we would be

acquire ing the Coles group.

But we have a business model

about giving people

responsibility and accountability and we have

grown with that since we listed

in 1984. And so I don't

know. Do you have other

acquisitions in mind at this

stage? We look at other things

in our small things in our

other businesses. But we will

be the country's largest

private sector employer. We

will have a couple of hundred

thousand people working for us

and we have a lot of work to do

on Coles. That will be our

focus. In the past you've

expressed some frustration with

the government for not de

regulating trading retail

hours. How much lobbying do you

intend to do on that now, now

that you own Coles and it's in your interest In when ever I

get a chance to express my view

on it I've done it over the

years. It's important to note

they've done that for five

years since I've been back in

Perth. And Bunnings is able to

stride Trade in a pretty de

regulated manner although there

are some specific product

retributions we have. I am

passion about it because I

think Perth deserve Bert and

consume lers do better by

having de regulated trade ing

hours an we are trying to

attract people to korvelg

tbhork the city, which is

expanding and we need to provide an environment where

people will be happy to come

and live and work. The people

of WA voted and they voted no.

Why won't you respect that

result? Yes, they did. I don't

think governments should ever

go to a referendum on that sort

of thing I think it's a simple

decision that governments should take. I think it would

have been all over and done

with with in a week and let

people decide. If they don't want to shop on a Sunday, they

don't have to. But I think you

would be surprised how quickly

it would take on. And when

there is shopping on Sundays it

in WA it's hard to find car

park at the shops. I think

consumers would be better off

if it was de regulated. How

vigorous ly will you pursue

your accordingment with the Government? I will take the

opportunity and governments

have a role and they know my

view at the moment: I will take further opportunities but I understand the politics of

it. You grew up in farms in

Tambellup and Broome Hill. Does

it ahaze you haw far you've

come together? That's probably

for others to comment on. I had

a great upbringing. The farms

were terrific places and we

have lots of great friends from

down there. I have always had

ambition and a bit of person al

ambition but certainly while

I've been at Wesfarmers,

ambition for the group. But the

success where we're at at today

is due to a lot of people in

Wesfarmers. Has anything in

that background, though,

growing up on a farm, prepared

you for the world you're

in? You get a bit of resilience

growing up on a farm. I

remember the drought of 1969

where there literally wasn't a

blade of grass around the farm.

You learn patience and you

learn loyalty and just sticking

to your guns. And the last

seven months through this

process we've had to steer a

pretty steady course. And my

background has probably helped

in that . Richard Goyder,

thanks for joining me. Thanks

very much. Western Australian

s are some of the most wasteful

people in the country. We

generate more waste per person

than any other State, and also

recycle less. With the population rapidly increasing,

the State's tips have become

swollen with rubbish. More than

4 million tonnes is dumped into

land fill each year. Now the

State Government has moved to

cut that back, by introducing

new legislation which will make

companies responsible for the

products that they are

pro-deuce. It's being seen as

the first step towards planned

tri re cycling for the

industry. While

environmentalists applaud the move, manufacturers are

fighting back. Leonie Harris

reports. reports

More than 300 land fill

sites are dotted across WA, and

they've never been so busy. As

the population swells, and becomes wealthier, more is

being consumed. And every year

Western Australians throw away

more than half a tonne of waste

each.

The sad thing is that WA has

one of the lowest re cycling

rates in the country. We have a

very high litter rate in our

State. And we've come off a

thinking that has said our

waste is out of sight, out of

mind if it goes into land fill.

It's a situation that that's

been label add waste crisis,

with landfills overthrowing the

problem has grown too large for

local governments to handle.

The State Government promised

action six years ago. Now, it's

introduced laws to address the

problem. A first step that

could lead to mandatory re

cycling for industry. We know

that landfill is no longer than

option. We have to look at re

cycling as an absolute

priority.

The legislation includes

what's known as extended producer responsibility. Or

EPR. A controversial idea that

would force companies that

produce a product to take it

back at the end of its life

cycle.

It starts with plastic bags,

bolts and cans, there's

something like 15 nations in

the world that have EPR schemes

on cars. So that instead of

illegally dumping your car at

the end of its life, if you

take it to a disposal plant you

get 250 euros back. Plastic,

glass and aluminium containers

account for 10% of household

waste and 100,000 tonnes of landfill each year. Dave West

from the Boomerang Alliance

says that's where extended

produce er responsibility

should start. A fee could be

incolluded in the price of each container and it would be refunded refunde when

refunded when recycled. It's a

system already in place in SA,

where 85% of containers are

recycled. Compared with just

22% in WA. It's very simple.

It's about creating an

incentive for people to return

their products. We would see

the money that is generated

when people don't return their

containers being funneled into

new re process ing facilities. Until about 15

years ago there was a system

like this in WA. Back then,

material like glass was

expensive but it was cheaper

for beverage companies to cluct

and re-use bottles than create

new once. But that is no longer

the case and the idea of

government mandated container

deposits is drawing fierce

criticism. Every State this's looked into introducing the

scheme has faced intense

lobbying from the beverage

industry. It's going to create

some difficulties for our

members, particularly our small

business members because if

they buy 50,000 dollars bort

worth of beer a week they would

have to find another $8,000 to

buy the same amount of stock.

So it would create great

problems for our members and

obviously there would be some

impact from the consumer. Lindsay Jones heads

up the lobby group Responsible

Recycling which represents

beverage giants including

Coca-Cola as well as small

businesses like bolt shops. He

says the container deposit

scheme is a tax, because most

people won't claim the refund

and will end up paying more for

beer and softdrink. The

industry argues a better solution would be more

efficient sur bside re cycling

and access to re cycling bins

at major public events. There

is no need to go down this path

and certainly we are endeavouring ende vou ing to commu icate endeavouring to communicate e deavou ing to commu icate

with Government of the impact

of such a thing. This lobbying

is making environmentalist s

anxious. While the new

legislation provides a legal

framework for container

deposit, it would take further

regulation to introduce the

system, and the Government has

prom promised to consult with

industry before taking the next

step. Conserve Asianist s are

wor dwrid State will give in to

the demands of industry. Clear tXe dem nds of ndust y. Clear the demands of industry. Clear

ly we are concerned that the

intimidation tactics of the

beverage industry might scare

some MPs. But most MPs are see

ing true the beverage industry

spin but it's pretty clear that

they're very nervous about the

idea that there may be

electoral campaigns against

them. Dave West cites the NSW example, where similar

legislation was passed six

years ago but no regulation to

introduce container deposits

has followed. The test for the

Carpenter Government will be to

see them actually take action

during this political term. So

I guess the jury is still out

on whether it's going to be all

talk and no action. We want to

engage and work with industry.

We want to engage and work with community, with local

governments, to educate,

encourage changes in behaviour.

Underpinning the legislation

also some mandatory mechanisms

that highlight if there is not

a will by industry and by key

stake holder s to be engaged we

would have to move down a

mandatory line. As the debate

on how best to reduce waste

continues, WA's increasing

population and appetite for

consumables is leaving behind a

rapidly growing mess. We all

have a role to play in this.

Every single person in the

State has to understand that,

as a State, we're high

consumers, we are high waste

creators, and we have to

change. There are other ways

of doing it rather than putting

a tax on product. In other

States, their re cycling is

better in WA, in Victoria and

in NSW, and they don't have a

container tax. For more than

20 years the country's most en

dangered reptile has had an

unusual protector. The tiny

western swamp tortoise had

almost disappeared until an

Austrian couple came along to

Channon its cause. The

population has steadily

increased but with the climate

drying the tortoise is once

again in danger. Leonie Harris

reports.

It seems an odd pairing -

the tiny Australian tortoise

and the energetic Austrian

couple. For 20 years, Gerald

ed on Guundie Kuchling have

been coming to this swamp in

Ellen Brook in their mission to stave western swamp tortoise, Australia's most en dangered

reptile and the most en

dangered tortoise in the

world. Goodbye and see you.

Keep safe. The animal's

survival can be credit ed in no

small part to these two. How

did two Austrian s end up

dedicating so much of their

life s to looking after

Australia's most en dangered

reptile? It's an interesting

question. The different aspects

to it. One is that the first

western swamp tortoise known to

science was a quiet was

acquired in the Museum of

Natural History. That tortoise

was collected in the 19 - 1800s

but as Perth grow its habitat

was built on and by the turn of

the century the animal was

believed to be ex-tint but in

the 1950s one was found by a

school boy and then it was

study. Then enter Gerrard

Guundie Kuchling, the man who

ended up as the champion of the tortoise. They're small and not

particularly colourful or

anything. But very nice and

interesting animals. How did

you get dragged into all of

this? Dragged. Well. I love

turtles and tortoises . I

always have had a collection

since I was a child and I kept

tortoises and other pest

pets. The western swamp

tortoise belong s to a group

that under the guidance of the

Kuchlings and a recovery team

of scientists,

conservationistis and

volunteers there are now

believed to be 300 animals in

swamps around Perth. Some

tortoise s are more worried

than others. This one would

retract the legs and the

head. The tortoise population

has been boosted by a

successful breeding program at

the Perth zoo. The animals

released from this program have

helped populate four areas in

WA. But the only population in

the wild that's large enough to

sustain itself is at the Ellen

Brook nature reserve, and it

exists in the middle of clay

mines and industry. They

usually like this area because

the water is a bit clouded.

Most of the habitat has been

lost. There is little habitat

level. The areas of habitat

left are very small . Each

year, the animals in the wild

will collected, measured and

weighed. This is Number 4, so

named because she was the

fourth of this species ever

studied by scientists. She was

found in 1962, was an adultd

then and 45 years later she's

still breeding. OK, let's see

if she has eggs. Yes. Yes,

yes. It's good news for those

try ing to stave species but

laying eggs is exhausting for

the female tortoises and once

weak they are less able to

survive the heat of summer,

particularly in a drying

climate. Last year was

particularly harsh. It was

something like the driest in

100 years. So in the last 11

months we found the carcasses

of four females. Hats. The

four were from a group of only

15 adults at the swamp. Their deaths created a big dent in

the breeding stock. It was

certainly a significant percentage and is somehow

worrying. This year is much

better. The water tables in

general in Ellen Brook but

climate change certainly

potentially can have quite an

impact of on the species if the pattern continues, as is

predicted at the moment. This

focus on the future has led

Gerald and Guundie Kuchling to

write two award winning

tboontion species in the hope

of inspiring young people. This

animal, known as the smiling

tortoise, may not be cuddly or

furry but the couple hope

future generation also be just as enchanted by it as they.

Are I think we all have to

leave our marks. I am committed

to educateding and entertain

ing children and to raising

awareness that we are not alone

on this planet and we have a

duty to look after other

species because if one species

goes, another species goes and

we are part of the whole

system. So I think it's our

responsibility to do something.

And that's Stateline for this

week. We leave you with the art

that's on display this weekend

as part of the Northbridge

festival. I will see you next

Friday. Until then, goodnight.

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