Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

The Gillard Government welcomes national effort on litter

Joint media release
22 August 2011

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, and Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability, Senator Don Farrell, today welcomed Keep Australia Beautiful's National Litter Index.

The National Litter Index is a national survey to measure litter in various sites around the country to create an annual report.

Tony Burke welcomed the release of the report which reveals a slight decrease in the national litter rate in 2010/11.

"The National Litter Index is an important report, it provides comprehensive data on litter and is a useful tool for Government and the community," Mr Burke said.

"The good news is that there appears to be a slight decrease in the national litter rate when compared to last year.

"However, litter is still a real problem for our environment particularly for marine animals and ecosystems.

"I applaud the work Keep Australia Beautiful has been doing on this issue and I encourage everyone to maintain the effort to reduce litter and waste."

The National Litter Index found the largest number of items were located within retail sites, industrial sites and shopping centres, while the largest volumes of litter objects were found at industrial and highway sites.

Senator Don Farrell said the Gillard Government's Product Stewardship legislation, which commenced on 8 August 2011, can also help to address waste problems by ensuring everyone involved in the life cycle of targeted products plays a role in reducing the impacts of those products on the environment.

"Product stewardship involves those who produce, sell, use and dispose of products sharing responsibility for reducing their environmental impacts," Senator Farrell said.

"Enshrining this principle in legislation is a major commitment under the Government's long-term National Waste Policy.

"Work is underway to reduce the environmental impacts of packaging materials through the Australian Packaging Covenant."

The Gillard Government is also working with states and territories to prepare a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement which aims to analyse a number of options to further address packaging resource recovery and litter reduction.