Greens and Family First pushing for drink container deposit system to go national

Posted by Editorial on 1st April 2009

A Victorian Green plan to introduce a 10 cent returnable deposit on all drink bottles, can and cartons should be rolled out nationally, according to the Greens Sustainable Cities Spokesperson, Senator Scott Ludlam.

The Greens believe the scheme, which will be similar but “more comprehensive” than South Australia’s, will create up to 400 new jobs and 300 recycling centres across Victoria.

“This is an initiative that would reduce waste, slash council rates, provide consumer incentives to recycle and create hundreds of green jobs. There’s no logical reason why government wouldn’t support it – it should be rolled out nation-wide, starting with Victoria, which builds on decades of similar legislation in South Australia,” said Senator Ludlam.

The legislation is being proposed by Victorian Green MLC Colleen Hartland.

Ms Hartland this week released a report that suggested the scheme would increase beverage recycling rates in Victoria to 83%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 350,000 tones and create up to 400 new jobs. Local councils could save up to $15.2 million a year on waste management, providing direct savings for ratepayers.

“As the country grapples with the consequences of the global financial crisis and the global environmental crisis, governments need to be considering new ideas that create new jobs by saving our environment,” concluded Senator Ludlam.

Family First Senator Steve Fielding is also calling for a national refund scheme, having had legislation in Federal Parliament for the last year.

“If the Rudd government was serious about reducing waste it would support a scheme that has worked in South Australia for 30 years and reduces greenhouse gases by 1.8 million tonnes per year,” he claimed. “Family First’s plan saves eight gigalitres of water a year which would supply more than 24,000 homes with water. As Victoria’s dams dwindle to 29% capacity and a lack of water causes farmers to leave their lands, surely a scheme that delivers water savings is worth adopting.”

“More than 80% of Australians support a container deposit scheme and the Rudd government should be listening to them and supporting Family First’s scheme,” Mr Fielding said.

A Senate Inquiry failed to recommend Senator Fielding’s proposed legislation last year, with the Australian Food and Grocery Council welcoming their findings due to concerns it might increase the price of a carton of beer or soft drink by up to $3.60.