With supplier and retailer price increases for the NSW Government’s Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) kicking in this week, TheShout has reported on those increases coming into effect and the lack of communication from the Government regarding this.
The industry has been critical of Government not being proactive enough in communicating details of the scheme to the public and leaving it to retailers to explain that it is in fact consumers who will be paying for this Government-enforced scheme.
Following on from those stories TheShout contacted the Government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and asked for their comments and response to these complaints from the industry. TheShout also asked the EPA what it had done in terms of communicating the costs of the scheme to the public, explaining why the price increases were coming into effect one month before consumers can start claiming their 10c per eligible container and that it has not been positive or proactive in its communications with the public about the scheme.
The response from an EPA spokesperson to all of these questions and concerns was this: “Prices are a matter for individual businesses and are influenced by many factors beyond Return and Earn. Consumers will be able to redeem 10-cents on every eligible container they purchase.”
Michael Waters, the Executive Director of the Liquor Stores Association of NSW and ACT (LSA), told TheShout that this kind of ambivalence from the Government was indicative of how it has dealt with the industry ahead of the CDS coming in effect.
“Well, where do I start?,” Waters said when asked for his reaction to the comment. “As the details have slowly come to light, we’ve become increasingly concerned about many aspects of the Scheme, and completely at a loss as to how this regime even snuck through Parliament.
“Retailers and suppliers alike have so many questions that have simply been ignored or unanswered in these critical past few months, and what’s worse the NSW Government seem to be doing everything in their power to avoid letting the community know what the real impact to consumers’ hip pockets will be.”
He added: “The LSA had been given a commitment that key communication materials for retailers and their customers would be developed and launched at our annual The Panel event on 27 September, and to find out from the (more than a little embarrassed) Scheme Coordinator less than 24 hours prior that the Minister’s office had ‘pulled the pin’ and reneged on this commitment is a clear indicator of a department trying to hide something. The beverage industry, and importantly NSW residents expect, and indeed deserve more, from our elected public servants.”
The LSA has materials for its members to help communicate to consumers what the cost of the scheme will be and the price increases that will occur as a result.
Make sure you catch Michael Waters speaking to Ross Greenwood about the CDS on Channel 9 News, tonight at 6pm.