The Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT (LSA) has labelled the NSW Government’s Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) a shambles, and called for the scheme to either by delayed or scrapped entirely.
With only a quarter of the expected 800 reverse vending machines in place, the LSA has said hundreds of communities will be unable to claim their deposits for returning containers, and that the CDS is simply a new tax on consumers.
“The details of this overly complex, poorly crafted, rushed and very badly communicated ‘scheme’ have been drip-fed to industry and often subject to change,” LSA Executive Director Michael Waters said.
“We are completely at a loss as to how this regime even snuck through Parliament when the original Regulatory Impact Statement showed it was going to be a $1bn hit to the pockets of NSW consumers with only negligible environmental benefits. The big winner from the scheme appears to be the NSW Government, estimated to add another $15m a year to their coffers as a benefit from increased GST revenue.
“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.
“It’s clear the Minister doesn’t even understand the fundamental price impacts of her own scheme. Her comments on radio [on Wednesday] morning suggested that retailers who are now charging around $4 more for a case of beer are simply ‘price gouging’ and ‘opportunistic’ were an insult to our members at the coalface copping the backlash from our customers.
“For retailers to recover the full cost impact of the scheme, the price of drinks sold in bottles, cans and PET will increase by at least $3.50 per carton (24) initially from 1 November 2017, which the Minister should be aware of as it was announced by the Scheme Coordinator on 18 August 2017.”
The LSA has also produced an infographic, which helps to explain the full cost impact of the scheme. You can see that infographic here – LSA_NSW_CDS_Cost_Impact
The LSA added that it has learned that only 200 collection points will be up and running when the CDS starts on 1 December which, the association claims, will leave over 460 communities across NSW without a collection point when the scheme starts.
Waters added: “NSW is a big state, and to only have 200 collection points available on 1 December, and only a fraction of the 800 expected reverse vending machines expected means consumers are paying more for their favourite drink with no ability to conveniently get their 10c back – there’s no return, and no earn – just a new tax on consumers.”
LSA said it is also very concerned about the welfare of those small retail businesses situated along the QLD, ACT and VIC border communities, as these jurisdictions do not yet have a deposit scheme, causing confusion for consumers and big problems for both retailers and the government to manage.
“We’ve received no sympathy or interest to date from the Minister’s office or the EPA about the impact the scheme will have on our members situated close to the QLD, ACT and VIC borders, so have reached out to the NSW Small Business, and Cross-Border Commissioners to see what can be done to help these small businesses.”
“The beverage industry, and importantly NSW residents expect, and indeed deserve more, from our elected public servants, and as such we call on the NSW Parliament to recycle this disgraceful scheme”, Waters said.