22 December 2016
The peak body for Australia’s convenience sector, the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS), has called upon Premier Mike Baird to delay implementation of his Government’s proposed Container Deposit Scheme, due to start across New South Wales in mid-2017.
Details of the Scheme were announced by the Premier this year, forming part of the NSW Government’s litter reduction initiatives.
The CDS is intended to operate as a refund scheme, whereby anyone who returns an empty eligible beverage container to an approved collection point is eligible for a 10 cent refund, funded by beverage suppliers, who also fund associated handling and administration fees.
Jeff Rogut, CEO of AACS said there are a number of issues of concern for the industry.
“AACS urges the Government to consider a staged implementation of the CDS to ensure it is an effective Scheme for all participants – industry, government, and the community.
“Whilst AACS understands the rationale for introducing a CDS, we hold serious concerns around the proposed manner and timing of implementation. We believe there are likely to be serious unintended consequences for our industry and for NSW consumers.
“We’re part of a growing chorus of industry and community groups that are calling on the Government to reconsider the proposed start date of 1 July 2017. We believe this date is not viable and risks undermining the integrity of the Scheme from the outset.”
Mr Rogut said the Government is due to appoint a CDS Scheme Coordinator and Collection Network Operator in April 2017, leaving a short timeframe to practically roll out the scheme by 1 July 2017.
“This leaves an eight to ten-week timeframe to roll-out the Scheme, including striking contracts with third party collection points, and physically installing the infrastructure necessary to ensure the scheme is effective.
“Consumers will understandably be sceptical about participating if collection points are not in prominent and appropriate locations, and the reputational damage will cause significant problems for both industry and the NSW Government.
“Staging the Scheme will allow for collection points, packaging and other aspects to be scaled up over time to deliver a successful Scheme that changes consumer behaviour and reduces litter.”
Mr Rogut said AACS is also concerned about the inevitable cross border issues between NSW and other states, calling on the Government to harmonise the CDS across current and proposed schemes in other jurisdictions.
“In order to minimise the administrative burden and cost to our industry, we urge the Government to harmonise the timing, structure and details of the CDS with proposed schemes in other states,” Mr Rogut said.
Jeff Rogut, AACS CEO – 0467 873 789
22 December 2016