Coca-Cola denies legal action plan on NT law

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 4th October 2011

Despite widespread media reports to the contrary, Coca-Cola Amatil, Australia’s largest beverage bottler, denied today that it has been planning to initiate legal action against the proposed Northern Territory’ Container Deposit Scheme.

Last month, Australian Food News reported the Northern Territory deposit scheme was generating considerable heat.

Speaking to Australian Food News today, Coca-Cola Amatil’s spokesperson Sally Loane said, “Reports that Coca-Cola Amatil is planning legal action against the NT CDL scheme are inaccurate. Coca-Cola Amatil, along with other beverage companies, is actively engaged in trying to meet obligations under the Northern Territory legislation by 3 January 2012 so our products can continue to be available.

However, Coca-Cola Amatil supported the position of the Australian Food and Grocery Council based on legal advice to the Australian beverage industry that the scheme legislation may be invalid in so far as it conflicts with Commonwealth legislation, specifically the Mutual Recognition Act.

“This was raised with the Northern Territory government during the preparation of the legislation and was considered during the Northern Territory parliamentary debate. The AFGC raised these concerns in correspondence with the Commonwealth and State Governments in March this year,” Ms Loane said.

Pointing out that the Northern Territory government has commenced the process of seeking exemption from the Commonwealth legislation, Ms Loane said, “Should this process be unsuccessful the legislation will be open for challenge. At that stage industry will re-consider its options.”

Ms Loane added, “The beverage industry has been very supportive of the National Waste Policy and the Product Stewardship legislation, and sees individual state or territory legislation as undermining that national approach.”