Retailers welcome delay in Qld Container Refund Scheme

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The Queensland government has delayed the implementation of the state’s Container Refund Scheme from July 1 to November 1, so that lessons from the NSW experience can be learned.

NSW’s ‘Return and Earn’ container deposit scheme (CDS) was launched on December 1 last year and has faced criticism from retail groups, claiming the NSW scheme was rushed and resulted in problems such as too few collection points.

Australasian Association of Convenience Stores CEO Jeff Rogut said the NSW scheme has “missed the mark” and should serve as a clear signal that “pushing ahead with inappropriate timelines is not only reckless, but counterproductive and costly”.

“A CDS requires certainty around its operation before it’s introduced,” he went on. “This means having agreements in place with third-party providers, ensuring stakeholders are aware of their responsibilities in delivering the scheme, and undertaking a public education campaign so people know how it works.

“It also means allowing a sufficient transition timeframe for new label requirements to be implemented, for retailers to sell through old stock, and for an appropriate framework of collection points to be put in place.

“As other states and territories weigh up the implementation of similar schemes, we urge governments to consider the real-life implications of ill-conceived and rushed ideas.”

NRA Manager of Industry Policy David Stout welcomed the Queensland government’s decision to delay the introduction of the recycling scheme in the state.

“Pushing back the start date until November will enable manufacturers and retailers to effectively prepare for the CDS and ensure it’s not plagued by the same problems that have occurred in NSW,” he said.

“The NRA commends the Queensland government for taking the time to consult with the retail sector, and this will result in the program operating far more smoothly than it otherwise would.”

The Queensland government is aiming to have more than 200 refund points in operation for when the scheme begins and will apply to most drink containers between 150ml and 3L, with some exemptions.

How has the CDS affected your business?

If you’re a retailer or supplier that has been affected by the CDS, we want to hear from you. Email your thoughts to [email protected].