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Australia’s container tax one step closer to reality

By Ankush Chibber , 28-Aug-2012

Proposed 10c container tax is drawing a lot of heat in Australia
Proposed 10c container tax is drawing a lot of heat in Australia

Australia’s much debated and contested ‘container tax’ is one step closer to being implemented with a key government body giving its consent to the initiative.

The container tax refers to the National Drink Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) where a 10 ­cent deposit will be placed on every bottle or can of milk, water, fruit juice, soft drink, wine or beer.

In a communiqué released by the Council of Australian Governments Standing Council on Environment and Water late last week, the majority of ministers agreed to progress all options for packaging waste recycling and litter reduction to a ‘Decision Regulation Impact Statement,’ including the container tax. 

AFGC disappointed, will continue to fight

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) came out strongly against this decision of the environment ministers, which all but gave full consent to the tax scheme in the country.

Jenny Pickles, general manager of AFGC’s Packaging Stewardship Forum, said the ministers had missed the opportunity to rule out another tax on families.

“The CDS would mean yet another hit to the family budget, delivering financial pain with little environmental gain, particularly when most families are already doing the right thing by recycling and not littering,” he said.

“Under the new tax we would all pay more at the checkout and be forced to collect, store and transport every container we buy to a collection depot which may require up to a 50km return trip for some families,” she added.

“The kerbside recycling system has worked well for more than a decade, at no extra cost to families. The AFGC and its partners will continue to campaign against this unfair and unnecessary tax,” said Pickles.

Queensland dissents

At least the AFGC is not alone in the fight. In a significant move, the state of Queensland rejected the container tax and instead announced another scheme, which it expects to achieve the same aim.

Andrew Powell, environment minister of Queensland, rejected what he called a costly national drink container deposit tax. Instead, he announced a collaborative partnership between the state government, industry and Keep Australia Beautiful Queensland to reduce littering and improve recycling rates in the state.

 Powell made the announcement in advance of the meeting of Council of Australian Governments Standing Council on Environment and Water, where the decision to include the container tax was taken. 

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