Legislation passed for container refund scheme

Mar 7, 2018 | Mayor's Blog

Mayor’s Desk – 22 February 2018

When I was a child growing up in the suburbs of Brisbane, I yearned for the day Queensland joined South Australia with their container refund scheme. Finishing a bottle of soft drink and having that 10c return label (only valid in South Australia) was just cruel to a young, entrepreneurial spirit. Fast forward 35ish years and we are only months away from our June 30th date of being able to live out that dream of cashing in cans and bringing money in for our bottles.

But like most dreams, in reality they don’t quite look or feel like we thought they may.

In September 2017, the State Government passed legislation to bring in a container recycling scheme. Fantastic, with plastic containers impacting upon the natural environment we are big advocates of reducing this waste in any way possible. Also in 2017, The State Government appointed Container Exchange (CoEx) to roll out this scheme. Fantastic, we couldn’t wait to find out how they were going to do it. Fast forward to January 2018, with only 5 months to go before D Day Council still hadn’t received any advice as to how this was going to play out. Come February 2018, we received

notice that the North Burnett is pencilled in as having 3 container refund points, and have also been given the parameters required to become a refund point, and this is where it got a bit scary for us.

Although Council agrees with the intent of this legislation we are very interested, albeit verging on worried, how this will play out in outer regional areas such as ours. The opportunity to manage refund points have been marketed to community organisations and private enterprise which is great, however fulfilling the requirements of COEX may be so difficult for these small organisations, in small communities, that they are incapable of doing so. Now usually when community cannot achieve an outcome which community expect, it falls on Council to fill the void, to step in, and sometimes we do just that. However, in this case, regardless of the expectation that Council becomes part of this container refund scheme, I have to tell you right up front that we cannot, due to the huge financial burden which would then be imposed on our rate payers. In our opinion, this is a State Government plan, and a good one, we just don’t want Local Government rate payers to have to foot the bill once more to carry it through to reality. We will just have to wait and see how this goes….maybe our communities will need a plan b?

For more information on the scheme please visit the Queensland Government website.

Talk soon.

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