Three Illawarra MPs have called on the Minister for the Environment Gabrielle Upton to release information about where collection points will be located for the ‘Return and Earn’ container deposit scheme within the Keira, Shellharbour and Wollongong electorates.
The Member for Keira, Ryan Park MP, the Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP, and the Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully MP have accused the Berejiklian Government of botching the rollout of the scheme.
As part of the scheme the price of cans and bottles will rise by approximately 10 cents. Consumers then return the cans for a 10 cent refund.
Less than two weeks out from the scheme’s December 1 start date and only 18 reverse vending machines have been installed throughout NSW – a far cry from the promise of 800 machines across 500 collection points the Government said they would deliver.
Under questioning in the Parliament last week, the Minister was unable to provide details of other planned locations for the Illawarra except that there will be one in the electorate of Keira.
Minister Upton promised that 85 per cent of more than 500 collection sites would up and running by 1 December – but this has since been downgraded to suggest that only ‘a majority’ of collection points may be in place by the start date.
Now it looks like the Government won’t deliver on anywhere near that amount, with Minister Upton refusing to provide anyone with a confirmed list of collection points.
Background: The Container Deposit Scheme in NSW is called ‘Return and Earn’ and aims to help reduce litter in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020. The EPA estimates that around 300 million containers a month will be recovered by the scheme which entitles consumers to a 10 cent refund on every returned can or bottle. Containers make up 44 per cent of all litter in NSW.
Quotes attributable to Ryan Park MP:
“The Return and Earn Container Deposit Scheme is an important environmental project, but as is usual with this Government, they are botching the rollout.
“This Government promised to install 800 machines in 500 locations for people to do their bit in protecting the environment, and deposit their cans and bottles, yet only 18 have been installed.
“I would like to know where the Return and Earn machines will be located in the Illawarra – yet the Environment Minister is too uninformed to answer my questions.
Quotes attributable to Anna Watson MP:
“The start date for this scheme is almost upon us, yet the people of Shellharbour are still in the dark about where they will be able to take their empty containers for a 10c refund.
“Minister Upton has managed to turn a positive idea into a complete farce. With December and Christmas just around the corner, this uncertainty is unacceptable. My community just wants to know – ‘where can I take my cans and bottles for a refund?’
Quotes attributable to Paul Scully MP:
“My constituents in Wollongong want to contribute to the container deposit scheme to help reduce littering and keep drink cans and bottles out of our local creeks, rivers, beaches and landfill.
“But unless the Government provides information on where collection points will be in the Illawarra, the very litter problem we’re trying to attack is hopelessly compromised.
“It defies belief that the Berejiklian Government could leave the third largest city in NSW out of the collection point roll-out but it appears that they have with no collection point confirmed in the Wollongong electorate.”
21 November 2017