MPs favour 10¢ deposit

CRONULLA MP Mark Speakman and Oatley MP Mark Coure are strongly supporting the push for a national recycling scheme involving a 10¢ deposit on cans and bottles.

Both have argued within the government for such a scheme, which has been under consideration for more than two years and could be adopted when environment ministers from around Australia meet in July.

Packaging battle: Container litter on the edge of Cooks River.  Picture: Carlo Miazzi

Packaging battle: Container litter on the edge of Cooks River. Picture: Carlo Miazzi

The ministers will review a cost-benefit analysis of 10 options for reducing packaging waste, including three involving charging a deposit on containers.

Mr Speakman said the NSW government's position was that it would make an evidence-based decision on which option to support.

"My personal view is there is a strong case for a container deposit scheme," he said.

"It is likely it can be done in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

"The Victorian Premier [Denis Napthine] has already come out in favour, while I think the Queenslanders are opposed."

Mr Speakman said he had seen the litter problem at Towra Point on World Wetlands Day in February and again last month during a fact-finding cruise on the Cooks River and Botany Bay.

The Cooks River inspection was organised by the Boomerang Alliance, which is co-ordinating the deposit scheme campaign.

"The amount of bottles and cans at Towra Point was unbelievable," Mr Speakman said.

"They had obviously come from boats or been washed down the rivers into Botany Bay."

Mr Coure said he had spoken to Environment Minister Robin Parker about the matter this month.

He believed there was potential for a scheme that did not increase the cost to consumers and would see local councils and community groups working together.

Mr Coure told Parliament last year NSW should consider following South Australia and Northern Territory in implementing a container deposit scheme.

"Over the years, I have participated in Clean Up Australia Day in places like Oatley Park, Moore Reserve and Carss Park and each time we fill many hessian bags with cans and bottles," he said.

FOR AND AGAINST

 IN FAVOUR

The Cooks River Alliance of seven councils is a member of the Boomerang Alliance, which this month presented the state government with a petition containing 70,000 signatures from voters wanting a 10¢ container deposit scheme.

Clean Up Australia chairman Ian Kiernan said 8 billion bottles and cans were sent to landfill or ended up as litter every year and represented almost 50 percent of Clean Up Day rubbish.

 OPPOSED

The Australian Food and Grocery Council said a 10¢ deposit scheme would push up an average family’s grocery bills by more than $300 a year.

‘‘To get a 10¢ deposit back, consumers would need to hand over up to 20¢ at the cash register,’’ chief executive Gary Dawson said.

‘‘Nowhere in the world is there a drink-container deposit scheme that is free to consumers.’’

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