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February 9, 2011

ABC Darwin

Can campaigns rage

Pubs, bottle-shops and supermarkets have taken on the Territory Government in a bid to turn Territorians off cash for containers.

Calling themselves the Responsible Recycling group, the Liquor Stores Association, Australian Hotels Association and the Australia Food and Grocery Council, are running a TV campaign outlining what's wrong with the scheme.

As the legislative assembly prepares to vote on the Environmental Protection (Beverage Containers and Plastic Bags) Bill 2010, the debate is heating up.

Cash for Containers will see the Territory become the first jurisdiction in Australia commit to a Container Deposit Scheme since the South Australian Government introduced its legislation in 1975.

Under the new laws people will get 10 cents back for each container returned to collection points around the Territory.

But the pubs, bottle shops and supermarkets argue distances in the Territory mean this scheme could cost more to run than in South Australia.

And they say you, the consumer, will wear the expense.

The NT Government is fighting back on social media platforms like facebook and in the media.

Chief Minister Paul Henderson says the cost should be absorbed by the beverage industry.

"There is no reason why a slab of beer should be any more expensive than it is today in the Northern Territory. It's a misinformation campaign, it's a disinformation campaign."

105.7 ABC Darwin Mornings presenter Kate O'Toole called Julie Mould at Coondambo Station in South Australia, 100 km from Wommera to see how she uses the South Australian scheme.

"It's worked for us. I've never had any trouble getting the cans and bottles down to Port Augusta or Pimba now."

"We manage to squirrel the money and then buy things like a nice big kitchen table or timber for a pergola.

"We've done alright out of bottles and cans.

"I've never noticed the extra costs. I can't really see the difference. I don't think that the price of a can of drink in say VIC and SA is any different and they don't recycle their cans."

But Kate Cornell, advocating for the group representing pubs, bottleshops and supermarkets, wants the government to release its analysis of the cost of the scheme.

"This is a really expensive system. The infrastructure around this system is expensive.

"I think that is the issue here. What is the cost benefit analysis on having a CDL in the Northern Territory and the Government simply hasn't released it."

Public opinion still varies.

Dave from Darwin's rural area felt that it would lead to people rifling through people's rubbish.

"When somebody comes along to get the two, three cans out of bins, all the rubbish is going to be left on the road."

Jenny Duggan from Katherine constantly cleans empty beer cans from the Katherine River and can't wait for the scheme to be put in place.

"The sooner the better and hopefully people will really support it, get behind it and keep Katherine clean."


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