There will be a container deposit scheme (CDS) in Queensland by the 2018 state election, whichever party seizes power.
Liberal Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls announced his support for a container deposit scheme late last week and promised to introduce one to the state if elected in two years.
Based on South Australia’s CDS, introduced in 1975, the Queensland scheme will involve a 10 cent deposit charged on drink containers between 150ml and three litres – like plastic bottles and aluminium cans – which will be refunded when the container is returned to a depot or via reverse vending machines.
The Liberals have said the scheme would cost about $25 million and be bankrolled by the 20 per cent of containers which are expected not to be returned. In addition, up to 200 jobs would be created.
Meanwhile Queensland Environment Minister Stephen Miles said: “I hope this is the LNP turning over a new leaf, supporting sensible ideas to clean up our environment. I’ve got a bunch of other plans they can support too.
“It’s a far cry from their position last year when Stephen Bennett said Queensland’s “dispersed population does not lend itself to consolidated container collection and recycling”.
He said Labor was committed to investigating a cash for cans type of scheme for Queensland and it had been allowed for in the state budget, due this month.
The Queensland government has established an advisory group to design the scheme, including representatives from the drinks industry, local government, waste and recycling firms and environment and community groups.
Dr Miles said the CDS would be consistent with the main elements of the NSW scheme, which Premier Mike Baird is aiming to introduce by July 2017.
“We’re working closely with New South Wales – who’ve committed to introduce their scheme by 2017 – to ensure any scheme we advance for Queensland is consistent on the key elements with what is rolled out south of the border,” Dr Miles said.
“But more than that, achieving consistency between NSW and Queensland will avoid creating major new problems affecting South East Queensland and, especially, the Gold Coast.
“An example of what we need to avoid can be seen from what happened when the Newman-Nicholls Government scrapped Queensland’s waste levy. The consequence of that rash decision is that over 300,000 tonnes of garbage from Sydney is now being dumped in the Gold Coast every year.”
While container deposit schemes have been successful and have popular support, drinks industry giants have been staunch opponents, believing they hit drinks sales hard.
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