Pressure is mounting on NSW Environment Minister Gabriella Upton over the introduction of the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), which has started today across the state.

While members of the opposition and numerous associations, are unhappy with the rollout of the scheme, Minister Upton has also been criticised by members of her own Government.

Speaking yesterday after a meeting of the state’s ministers, Deputy Premier John Barilaro, said: “I’m honest enough to say that [the scheme] has not rolled out the way we wanted it.

“I made it clear that I think the roll out has been abysmal. The reality is we have got to accept that logistically we have stuffed it up.”

The NSW Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, was more damning in his assessment and called on the Government to delay starting the scheme.

“The Environment Minister needs to be sacked,” Foley said. “More importantly the introduction of this scheme should be deferred.”

There are currently less than 300 collection points registered across the state and the vast majority of those are over the counter collection points at businesses including cafés, car washes, computer repair shops and bakeries.

When TheShout visited one collection point this morning with a number of bottles, we were told by the business owner to come back tomorrow because they were not ready.

The Liquor Stores Association of New South Wales (LSA) has already been critical of the Government’s handling of the rollout and today, Executive Director Michael Waters, said that the Premier should now step in and rule out another policy disaster bequeathed to her by Mike Baird, and the bad advice received from NSW Environment Department when they recommended a policy of The Australian Greens.

“The best gift the NSW Government can give is to return $4–5 a carton to the pockets of the hard working families of NSW as they struggle with putting Christmas on the family table,” Waters said.

“The CDS is clearly a debacle and needs to be either delayed immediately or scrapped altogether, after already sending small beverage manufacturers to the wall, angering liquor store owners, particularly those situated in cross-border communities, and upsetting the good people of NSW.”

Waters also pointed to the further frustration as first suppliers in NSW will today receive their second monthly CDS bill, with seven days to pay.

The LSA said it is also still concerned about the welfare of those small retail businesses situated along the border communities of QLD, ACT and VIC – jurisdictions which do not yet have a deposit scheme. The association said it is continuing its work with the NSW Small Business, and Cross-Border Commissioners to see what can be done to help these small businesses.

“To only have 260 collection points available today; a fraction of the 800 that were promised by the government, leaves around 400 communities across NSW now paying more for their favourite drinks, but with no ability to conveniently ‘return and earn’, is a dismal failure and those responsible must be held to account,” Waters said.

“The NSW Government had the best advice in the country when the Federal Government conducted its Regulatory Impact Statement, finding a CDS was one of the most expensive, yet the least effective option to reduce container litter.”

“Beverage containers are not ‘nearly 50 per cent of litter by volume’, as Minister Upton stated today – the correct number is 44 per cent, and capturing 43 per cent of 44 per cent (18.9 per cent) means that NSW citizens are now forking out $1 billion to deal with less than 19 per cent of the litter problem in NSW (by volume), but just 9 per cent of total littered items.

“All is not lost, but the Premier needs to act swiftly now and govern for all of NSW, not for the ideologies within the environment bureaucracy who seek to strip over a billion dollars from the pockets of NSW citizens for minimal environmental gains”, added Mr Waters.

TheShout has contacted Minister Upton for comment on the CDS rollout, but has received no response at the time of publishing.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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