DON Chambers steps down as national chairman of Keep Australia Beautiful in November, but he won’t stop recruiting multinationals for a campaign to improve recycling and reduce litter.
Mr Chambers, of Rutherglen, said the states’ environment ministers would meet next month to consider a federal government challenge to the packaging industry to develop innovative designs and reducing litter.
He said if industry did not help pay for projects — including providing more recycling bins — the government would probably produce tougher regulations.
“The environment ministers have been told the problem will cost $400 million to $1 billion,” Mr Chambers said.
“The sort of scheme we are proposing would cost industry $20 million a year.”
Mr Chambers said he didn’t believe a national container deposit scheme, such as the one in South Australia, was the answer.
“It is a way of recycling beverage containers but does nothing about recycling other litter,” he said.
Mr Chambers said another proposal that Keep Australia Beautiful had put to the federal government was development of an industry-funded 24-hour hotline, allowing the public to identify littering and illegal dumping.
He said while a similar program existed in Victoria, it was yet to be introduced in Queensland and in Western Australia.
Those reporting littering or dumping must be authorised to do so.
In NSW, there was a hotline to report littering but those responsible were not fined but received a warning.
Mr Chambers has held the voluntary role with Keep Australia Beautiful for eight years, after serving as mayor and councillor with Indigo Council, and on the board of Ecorecycle.
During his tenure with Keep Australia Beautiful, he has spearheaded initiatives including the re-introduction of the national litter index and a branded litter study, developed a “no organics into landfill” policy for the national association, provided input into the federal 10-year waste plan and represented the organisation on the Australian Packaging Covenant Council.
“The Keep Australia Beautiful concept has always been about communities working with each other to help themselves and improve their communities,” he said.
“It is humbling to be associated with the dedicated people making their communities a better place to live, work and play.
“They truly are the custodians of this great land, Australia.”
Mr Chambers will continue to serve on the Victorian Litter Action alliance management committee and the Victorian board of Keep Australia Beautiful.
A member of Masters Athletics Victoria and a regular competitor locally, nationally and internationally, Mr Chambers said one of his aims was to still run 100 metres when he was 100.