With a new Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) looming in New South Wales, the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has made a last ditch plea to the state government to reconsider the timeframe of the scheme rollout.
Earlier this year AACS CEO Jeff Rogut highlighted a lack of detail about the specifics of the scheme as a reason for delaying the rollout, and now says that despite repeated efforts to speak to politicians about the issue, none have “even had the decency to respond”.
“AACS has written to politicians from the major parties outlining the very real issues and problems that await the introduction of the scheme under the current proposed timetable. Regrettably, these correspondences and requests to meet have not even been acknowledged,” Mr Rogut said.
“Under the current timeline, the NSW Government will appoint a CDS Scheme Coordinator and Collection Network Operator in April 2017.
“This leaves just eight to ten weeks to establish contracts with third party collection points and physically install the necessary infrastructure to ensure the scheme is effective.
“Anyone with a basic understanding of contractual negotiation, retail environments – not to mention the machinations of Government – would know that such a tight window is not viable.”
Mr Rogut said he had been hopeful the new state premier, Gladys Berejiklian, would adopt a more willing attitude to work with industry.
“It’s not too late to work with us to come up with a more realistic timeframe to give the CDS a chance to achieve the litter reduction outcomes it has been designed to,” he said.
“Ultimately, the scheme aims to change consumer behaviour and reduce litter. It will be counterproductive to introduce a half-baked scheme in an unviable timeframe and risk jeopardising its integrity from the outset.”
Last month the state Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) told C&I Week that more than 50 organisations had registered interest in providing collection point services.
The spokesperson said the network operators were “being finalised now as part of a competitive tender process”.
The EPA said it expected there will be at least 430 collection points rolled out across the state, with the cost of the scheme to be covered by beverage suppliers.
“The costs [of the CDS] will be proportionate to the amount of containers collected, as beverage suppliers will only be required to pay the refund amount on the containers that are redeemed not on every container sold,” the spokesperson said.
“The fee structure will be determined by the scheme coordinator and network operators, and is subsequently an element of the competitive tender process now underway for those positions.”