MELBOURNE, AAP – The Victorian government has decided on the final design of the state’s long-awaited container deposit scheme, due to be rolled out in 2023.
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio on Wednesday announced the state will adopt a model that will split responsibility between those coordinating and financing the scheme and groups collecting containers.
“It will be the best scheme to reduce litter in our environment and will be the most effective in terms of having accessible collection points for Victorians,” she told reporters.
Victorians will receive 10 cents for every empty can, small bottle and carton they drop off at a collection point.
Collection points will include shops, vending machines and drive-through depots, while there are also plans for pop-up collection points at music festivals and other special events.
Charity, community, and sports groups will also have the option of operating container collection points to raise funds.
“What I can assure every Victorian out there, whether they are in a school, whether they work for a community organisation or not-for-profit, a sporting club, this is going to be a massive boon to your fundraising efforts,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
She said the final design of the scheme was supported by 85 per cent of participants during public consultations.
Others involved in the consultations had wanted a “producer responsibility” model such as those in Queensland and WA, where the beverage industry oversees a network of multiple operators.
Split responsibility schemes are already in place in the ACT and NSW, and Tasmania will follow the same model when it begins its container deposit scheme in 2022.
Advocates of the split responsibility model, including the environment group Boomerang Alliance, say it removes the ability of beverage companies to limit collection rates in order to protect profits.
“It sets up the right allocation of responsibilities so that the system can grow, be accountable, accessible and deliver multiple benefits for decades,” director Jeff Angel said.
“It’s based on the NSW approach where there has been very significant involvement of charities and small businesses, billions of drink containers returned and very accessible refund points.”
More than 50,000 people have signed the Boomerang Alliance’s change.org petition to stop beverage giants from running the Victorian scheme.
Ms D’Ambrosio said states with a producer responsibility model had poorer return rates than those with a split responsibility scheme.
“If you’ve got a poorer return rate than other schemes, then there’s less money to be shared by community organisations. That is a simple fact,” she said.
“Our scheme will ensure that we have the highest return rate that we possibly can get in Victoria.”
But VicRecycle, a lobby group established by Coca-Cola Amatil and Lion, wants the government to clarify if smaller entities will be given direct access to the scheme.
“If Victorian charities, community groups and sporting clubs are forced to sub-contract to take part as operators in the CDS, they will lose up to $50 million in revenue,” chair Paul Klymenko said.
A scheme coordinator and network operators will be appointed by the Victorian government to manage collection points and refunds through an open tender process once legislation has been approved by parliament.
Victoria is the final state or territory to introduce a container deposit scheme.