July 12, 2010
Drink Container Levy remains in Limbo
The latest round of discussions on a national Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) system have ended in stalemate with both sides expressing disappointment at yet another delay.
At a meeting in Darwin last week, Australia’s Environment Ministers commissioned a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) into a national CDL as well as ‘a number of options which may have a positive cost benefit and a tangible impact on recovery rates and litter reduction’ in Australia.
However the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), which represents industry interests, said it was disappointing that ministers had chosen to use tax-payers money to fund another study.
AFGC chief executive, Kate Carnell, said while industry will fully co-operate with the RIS process, it was questionable why ministers needed another study on the merits and effectiveness of a national CDL.
“There have already been a number of tax-payer funded reports on this issue – industry can’t see what another one is going to achieve,” he said.
“It’s hard to see what value Environment Ministers will get from another study, especially after the last one by the BDA Group, which estimated the cost of a national at a massive $680 million a year following an error in the original economic costs.”
However Carnell said it was encouraging that minister’s agreed to a strengthened Australian Packaging Covenant (APC), which commenced on 1 July this year.
Over the next five years, the Covenant will target improved design, away-from-home recycling, litter and product stewardship by all parties in the packaging chain.
The Greens said the meeting represented a missed opportunity for the Federal Government to finally act on establishing a national Container Deposit Scheme.
"Although progress was achieved on a number fronts, there is more stalling on bringing in a nationwide beverage container deposit scheme with the Council deciding to undertake a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement," said Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.
"This initiative has been smothered under studies for years, and this decision means further delay on a scheme we know can work and is cost effective.”