Bottler of an idea for WALGA

NEW legislation for a container deposit scheme has been introduced to WA Parliament. The scheme aims to get more people recycling bottles and cans by offering a 10 cent refund, but in this week’s SPEAKER’S CORNER, Bayswater councillor CHRIS CORNISH reckons the legislation is flawed.

WHILE the container deposit scheme might make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, there are some issues with it – big issues. There is a solution which will reduce some of them – the WA Local Government Association.

Whilst I think the scheme is a bit of a virtue-signalling con, the purported benefits include reducing litter and increasing recycling. However if you’re one of the idiots who’d throw an empty can out of your car window, I doubt the lure of 10 cents will change your warped mindset.

Besides, most people use their kerbside collection quite happily and the container deposit scheme requires you to drive somewhere to do your recycling (if you want your money back).

It’s a tax

The cost of purchases are going to increase and not just by 10 cents a container. The infrastructure required to run the scheme will necessitate an increase of closer to 15 cents per container; maybe more.  So on a carton of beer expect to pay $3.60 more. A $40 carton becomes $43.60, which is a nine per cent increase. If however you buy a pack of water from a supermarket, the increase is far more significant: Woolworths’ 24x600ml packs will rise by 60 per cent from $6 to $9.60.

It’s unjust and unfair

The “battlers” (which is just about everyone) get hit far more than the affluent.

The percentage price impact is not consistent: the lower the value of the purchase, the higher the percent increase. Buy an $80 carton of beer and the percentage increase drops by half from nine to 4.5 per cent.

Government stuff things up – particularly when they’re in a hurry

They don’t do it deliberately, it’s just how it normally works out. The extent of the stuff-up is sometimes hard to predict as the devil is always in the detail.

NSW has a container deposit scheme and the government appointed the five biggest drink companies to set up and run the scheme. Due to only about 13 per cent of containers being brought back, the drink companies are pocketing 10 cents on the remaining 87 per cent of containers not being returned. This is estimated to be a staggering $34 million a month. That’s $34 million a month going from the pockets of consumers in NSW to major Australian and international companies.

So who gets the money?

This is where the state government has an opportunity to shine. Appoint WALGA to run the scheme.

It has the ability to work with local governments and find suitable refund locations, and councils are already involved in waste and have resources and infrastructure to administer the scheme.

WALGA will make a bucket load of money from this endeavour, which will then flow through to the local governments which are participating. This in turn will either reduce your local government rates or reduce the amount the state needs to subsidise local governments.

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