Tasmania is “treading water” on a container deposit scheme as job opportunities for the state lay waiting, according to a leading figure in the area.
The state government is considering the third report into the idea since 2009 – released in July last year – and says it wants to “be sure” a refund scheme was cost-effective and in the public interest.
Robert Kelman, who has worked on container refund schemes for almost two decades and supported the NSW, Queensland and WA governments in designing schemes, said Tasmania “doesn’t appear to be wanting to do anything at all”.
“Really there is just a treading water in Tasmania on waste and recycling.”
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The Hobart-based Mr Kelman pointed to the NSW system which he said had delivered $100 million in private sector investment and about 500 direct jobs.
“There’s a jobs and economic angle here. The government provides the legislative framework and some small oversight from the EPA, and then the private sector invests in all the facilities – the trucks, the depots, the bailing.”
“You’d think it was a win-win.”
The NSW scheme – introduced in December 2017 – dropped drink container litter by 33 per cent in the first six months.
With Tasmania likely to be the only state without a landfill levy by mid 2019, Mr Kelman also criticised the government’s position as one based on “ideology”.
“It’s just sticking your head in the sand,” he added. “The government can raise funds that can then be spent on waste infrastructure.”
A Waste Action Plan being developed in collaboration with local government is slated for 2019, a government spokesperson said.
“The Plan will be in accordance with the 2018 National Waste Policy, which will guide continuing collaboration between all Australian governments, business and industry.”
“The State Government will not be introducing a landfill levy.”
A target giving Tasmania the lowest incidence of litter in the country by 2023 was part of the government’s 2018 reelection campaign.
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