By Councillor Peter Harle, 7th April 2014
At the Cabinet meeting I asked the Premier the following question relating the Container Deposit Scheme:
“My question relates to the possibility of your Government introducing Drink Container Legislation similar to that operating in South Australia since 1977. The Victorian Premier has stated that if NSW goes ahead Victoria will too. You may recall I raised this issue with you and several of your MPs‘ and each time they quoted support for such a scheme. Will you and your Government now support such a scheme when it is brought to parliament later this month?”
The response was the usual “political speak” with no commitment other than it will be “discussed” with relevant Ministers later this year.
That is unfortunate for NSW and its environment. It sounds as if the “Food and Grocery Council of Australia plus Coca Cola Amatil” have a significant influence on this Government despite the fact that every Council and Shire in NSW supports such scheme, as do more than 80% of people surveyed.
I was interviewed the next morning by Fran Kelly on ABC RN radio and asked if I agreed with the claim by Coca Cola “that it is a tax”. Of course it is not a tax! It is a deposit scheme whereby the 10 cents deposit is refundable if you choose to return the drink container. If the purchaser does not redeem the deposit then anyone that collects and returns the container obtains the 10 cents.
ABC Radio National Podcast Link here:
Further information for the Drink Container Scheme here: http://www.boomerangalliance.org.au/cash-for-containers.html
The overall purpose for any such scheme is to attach a value to a product to make it worthwhile collecting, irrespective of whether it is for recycling or disposal.
Why the Container Deposit Legislation was introduced in South Australia.
South Australia has a very successful tourist industry. To attract visitors and ensure a clean and tidy environment it introduced its enormously successful Container Deposit Legislation in 1977 http://www.epa.sa.gov.au/environmental_info/container_deposits . Visitors to that state will immediately recognise that it is the cleanest and tidiest state in Australia.
Sadly for NSW, only 35% of all drink containers sold are collected; the remainder end up in land fill, creeks, rivers and eventually the Oceans surrounding Australia. South Australia (and the Northern Territory as of January 2012) consistently achieve a return rate of between 95 and 98%. That net gain is primarily due to the 10 cents deposit attached to the product. Supporting evidence shows that when the Container Deposit Legislation was introduced in SA in 1977, the initial deposit was 5 cents. Gradually collection rates dropped from 98% to around 85%. In 2008, the SA Government increased the deposit rate to 10 cents returning the “recovery” rate to previous levels.
I strongly suggest to the Premier, that his Governments’ Environmental credentials leave a lot to be desired. Introducing Drink Container Legislation would increase its community standing enormously. It remains to be seen whether this Government too succumbs to the business lobbyists or the best interests of our community and the environment.
Reference to previous discussions and postings on the Drink Container Levy here:
Cllr Peter Harle JP