Government fails to reach its own target on container deposit scheme, leaving consumers and environment high and dry

In Parliament | 09.12.17

The Berejiklian Government is falling massively short of its own targets for its botched container deposit scheme with its own figures showing both household budgets and the environment losing out. 

Based on the latest figures by Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton, the scheme is on track to collect a mere 4.6 per cent of the estimated 195 million bottles and cans that were forecast to be returned by individuals through the Return & Earn scheme in its first month. It launched on December 1. 

Consumers can expect to get back just $886,600 by way of refunds, despite paying out $53 million extra at bottle shops and supermarkets to pay for the scheme. That represents just 1.7 cents out of every dollar. 

Latest figures from the Government show it is averaging 286,000 containers returned each day. By its own forecasts consumers need to be handing over the counter or depositing at the few reverse vending machines an average of 6.2 million containers every day. 

A week into the launch and only 52 reverse vending machines have been installed – a far cry from the promise of 800 machines across 500 collection points the Government said they would deliver.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe MLC 

“The rollout of the container deposit scheme is a shambles.

“The environment needs this scheme to clean up our waterways but our beaches and parks will remain choked with litter unless the Minister can clean up her act.

“The Government’s claims that it is working ring hollow. By its own calculations, less than 5 per cent of the cans and bottles out there will be collected through the scheme, meanwhile families who are paying up to $4 extra for a carton of beer or soft drink are getting a few cents back. 

“Labor fully supports the objectives of the scheme but because of the Minister’s botched rollout both families and the environment are the losers here.”