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June 25, 2009

The Age

Government rejects bottle refund bill

A GREENS private members bill to introduce a 10 cent refund on bottles and cans and promote recycling has passed the upper house, but was rejected by the lower house on a technicality.

The Container Deposit Legislation Bill, moved by Greens MP Colleen Hartland, gained the support of all opposition parties in the upper house but was rejected by the lower house because it carried an excise.

Environment Minister Gavin Jennings said last night the bill was unconstitutional because legislation with an excise must originate in the lower house.

Mr Jennings also said the proposal could potentially cost the Government millions, because it had not been properly costed. "Based on the number of containers in Victoria, we estimate this black hole to be $30 million a year. If recycling rates were high, the 10-cent fee collected for each container would not cover operating costs - leaving the Government to foot the bill," he said.

"The Greens support for CDL is driven by nostalgia, not evidence. Independent research commissioned by all state and commonwealth environment ministers shows CDL is far more expensive and less environmentally effective than other options, but this was ignored by the Greens and the Liberals."

Ms Hartland said the Government was hiding behind a legal technicality and was out of touch with the community.

"This campaign came from the community. It remains a community supported campaign: 94 per cent of Victorians support a container deposit system, and now the Legislative Council of the Victorian Parliament also supports it," she said.


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