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Green groups say more action, less talk neede -

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PETER CAVE: Green groups are stepping up their pressure on governments around Australia to make
more progress on a range of environmental issues.

Some campaigners say they're tired of the slow pace of reform on issues ranging from container
deposit legislation to a ban on plastic bags and what to do with the mountains of electronic waste
created by TV sets, mobile phones and computers.

And as Simon Santow reports, they're hoping that a meeting of Federal, State and Territory
environment ministers in Hobart today will bring meaningful change, rather than talk and more
hollow announcements.

SIMON SANTOW: Environment groups are impatient for change when they say they can see solutions to
problems but very few are being acted upon.

JON DEE: All we keep getting are statements about how important it is to deal with these issues,
but we're seeing very little in the way of real and measurable results that deal with the problems
in a way that solves them.

SIMON SANTOW: Jon Dee is the chairman of green lobby group Do Something and he's concerned that a
gathering of ministers in Hobart today will be an excuse for doing nothing.

He argues that Peter Garrett as the Federal Minister fails the dinner party test on his
contribution to fixing the nation's green problems.

JON DEE: Someone said to me, "How would the old environmentalist Peter Garrett judge the
Environment Minister Peter Garrett on the results that he's getting?"

And the consensus around the table was, he wouldn't score himself very highly. And that's a sad
indictment of the lack of results that we're seeing.

SIMON SANTOW: Peter Garrett left this morning's meeting not long after it had started.

PETER GARRETT: I have to say that environment ministers are working both collaboratively and
productively on the issues that are in front of them and I'll expect to have something more to say
about that later in the day.

REPORTER: Can you update us on the status of the Tasmanian devil please?

SIMON SANTOW: So he could make announcements for the benefit of the local Tasmanian media before he
rushed back to join his colleagues at the Wrest Point Casino hotel.

PETER GARRETT: Ministers will have a full and very productive meeting here in Hobart; we're
enjoying being here in Hobart.

SIMON SANTOW: Peter Garrett is faced with the problem of finding solutions to everything from how
to reduce plastic bag consumption, whether or not to bring in a scheme nationally that rewards
consumers for bringing back their containers for recycling, and how to deal with growing electronic
or e-waste.

Jon Dee from Do Something:

JON DEE: They need to stop talking about the problem of e-waste, they need to put the legislation
in place.

SIMON SANTOW: How do you explain their reluctance?

JON DEE: It makes no sense that environment ministers at a state and federal level have not acted
on the issue of electronic waste.

On one hand you have TV manufacturers and computer manufacturers saying please put in place
national legislation, we will follow it. You have recycling companies have built facilities to
recycle that electronic waste. The infrastructure is in place, the industry is willing, the public
have indicated that they're fully supportive of change.

So the only thing holding it back right now are the environment ministers and the bureaucrats who
support them.

SIMON SANTOW: Jeff Angel from the Total Environment Centre in Sydney is in Tasmania to lobby for
change.

JEFF ANGEL: There were some very conservative policies about how you assess the economic benefits
of recycling brought in by the previous government.

We are seeing definite signs of Peter Garrett trying to overcome those so that the environmental
and obvious economics benefits of recycling get a much clearer and louder voice in the process of
making decisions.

SIMON SANTOW: Is it red tape that Peter Garrett's battling against? If industry is on board it
would seem like a no brainer that the whole thing should just happen.

JON DEE: Well you would think it would be a no brainer, but entrenched in the bureaucracy that's
particularly an inheritance from the Howard years is the opposition to new environmental
regulation.

They seem to want to do wishy washy voluntary programs that have very little effect and we've had
to along with Peter Garrett's office and some of the other ministers struggle to escape that
straight jacket.

SIMON SANTOW: So are bureaucrats in every state and federally advising politicians that, oh look
minister it's all too difficult?

JON DEE: Yeah there's been this straight jacket inaction and resistance to modern environmental
regulation. We've had to overcome that. We're hoping that today's meeting will be the first major
sign of a change in attitudes to product take-back and container deposit type legislation.

PETER CAVE: Jeff Angel from the Total Environment Centre ending Simon Santow's report.