Industry groups reject national container deposit scheme

Monday, 04 June, 2012

A group of industry and union representatives has rejected the proposed national container deposit scheme (CDS), claiming it would effectively impose a tax on beverages that would cost jobs in the manufacturing sector and increase the pressure on struggling Australian families.

“A national CDS would cost Australian families a fortune,” said Jenny Pickles, General Manager of the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s (AFGC’s) Packaging Stewardship Forum. “It would effectively impose a tax on drinks including milk, juice, water, wine and beer that would significantly increase the cost of an average shopping basket.”

“Independent studies have shown time and again that container deposits are extraordinarily expensive. According to government research, the net cost would be up to $1.76 billion, which is 28 times more expensive than an industry-funded proposal that would deliver a similar reduction in litter and increased recycling rates,” Pickles said.

“It’s important that Australian families understand that they will have to pay not only the cost of the deposits, but also the significant cost of setting up and running the scheme.”

The scheme would result in almost 1700 manufacturing sector jobs being lost each year, Pickles said.

“Container deposits are a feel-good policy with a billion-dollar price tag,” said Pickles. “It simply doesn’t add up for Australian families, particularly when there are far cheaper and equally effective policy options on the table for governments to consider.”

According to Pickles, families in the Northern Territory have experienced increases in living costs as a result of a CDS being introduced earlier this year.

The group published an open letter in The Australian newspaper on 25 May stating its objections to the scheme. Twelve industry and union groups make up the group, including the AFGC, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, the Packaging Council of Australia and the National Packaging Covenant Industry Association.

The national CDS would see a 10-cent deposit added to the price of drink containers including milk, fruit juice, water, soft drink, beer and wine. Clean Up Australia says that the South Australian CDS has resulted in recycling rates of between 75 and 85%, which is double that of other states.

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