Boomerang hits back at AFGC over “offensive” remarks

Environmental group, The Boomerang Alliance, has hit back at the AFGC for making “offensive” remarks regarding its proposed Container Deposit Scheme (CDS).

A recent press release sent out by the Australian Food and Grocery Council claimed that a petition prepared by the Boomerang Alliance “actively misled petitionersstating that the petition was based on a false description of a CDS proposal.

The statement claimed that Boomerang’s proposal did not mention that consumers would be likely to be charged an additional 20c on top of the 10c refundable deposit at the checkout, and was therefore misleading.

Dave West, national policy coordinator for the Alliance, refuted the comments by pointing out that the petition bluntly states that the price will only increase by a 10c deposit which will be refunded if the container is returned to a recycling depot, and that there will be no additional cost passed onto industry or consumers.

“To say that they will pay 20c at the cash register is absolutely contrary to the design and agreed rules that are being modelled by the state government,” West told Food Magazine.

West said that the scheme titled Recycling Refunds, has two core provisions:

  1. There is no charge to the bottler or retailer other than the deposit
  2. It prohibits the bottler or retailer from charging more than the deposit

Container deposit schemes in Australia have received a negative image over the past few years due to profiteering allegations in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

“Both the SA and NT schemes were subject to a senate inquiry within the past 12 months regarding profiteering,” said West. “That (inquiry) showed that it’s not an offense to profit take because the scheme didn’t put in provisions.

“The industry needs to know that there are a range of costs under different models, one is being designed to be industry-friendly which is ours,” he said. “The collection is not at a depot, it’s actually at the shopping centre carpark, and the retailer gets paid for doing that because they have to do a job.”

According to West the Boomerang Alliance’s scheme self funds and runs at a small surplus for security. He said the CDS is based on similar models used in Hawaii and California.  

“Hawaii and California are quite good models for Australia because they both have long transport distances and a similar outdoor lifestyle.”

West said that the Alliance has delivered approximately 420,000 petitions to government in support of the scheme.

“We are not trying to pretend that container deposits are the same everywhere, but we have been really clear because the number that is actually going to win or lose this from government isn’t how many people support a CDS scheme, it’s how many are willing to pay.

“I’m not trying to pretend that this is popular with industry, it’s not popular with industry. The vast majority of the industry has been constructive in its input, is accepting there is a proposal and is happy for government to decide on a proposal based on its merit.”


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