The NSW Government is rushing through their Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) and seems reluctant to let the community know that the scheme will have a big impact on the average consumer’s hip pocket.

The NSW CDS starts on 1 December and will impact on anyone who purchases a range of their favourite alcohol beverages from a NSW retail outlet – plus many other beverages.

The NSW Scheme will cover all beverage containers between 150ml and 3 litres in volume – albeit with some interesting exceptions including: plain milk (or milk substitute) containers; flavoured milk containers of one litre or more; pure fruit or vegetable juice containers one litre or more; glass containers for wine and spirits; casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine and casks for water – one litre or more; sachets for wine 250ml or more; containers for cordials, concentrated fruit/vegetable juices; registered health tonics.

Some estimates suggest the initial cost impact may be as low as $3.40 per carton however, it may be significantly higher for retailers to be able to recover the full cost impact including on costs and GST and again put into the role of ‘Tax Collector’.

The NSW Government should be keeping the public informed on details of the scheme rolling out in December including the real cost impact, with an additional hit on the hip pocket of the NSW public, equating to a price rise of well over 10 per cent going into the Christmas trading period.

NSW retailers will bear the brunt of consumer backlash over this policy and have been urging the Government to get a public education campaign up and running.

As neighbouring states do not have a deposit scheme, the NSW scheme will also be confusing for consumers and problematic for wholesalers and retailers to manage, particularly around border communities with the ACT, Victoria and Queensland.

Is the NSW Government setting itself up for ‘Strike three’ over yet another policy that is being rushed through without adequate consultation with key stakeholders and without bringing the community along with it?

Hot on the heels of the Greyhound Racing fiasco and the prolonged Council Amalgamations that have proven to be too politically hot to handle, NSW residents are now facing significant price increases on their favourite beverages – running into the Christmas trading period – all instigated by the NSW Government.

Check the ALSA, LSA NSW and Exchange for Change websites for further updates and resources.

This column was submitted by Terry Mott, the CEO of the Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) for the October issue of National Liquor News.


Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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