The beverage industry's ongoing lobbying against, and incessant whinging that Tasmania's proposed split model container deposit scheme will deter community participation is just white noise.
It's distracting us from what the scheme actually is - a true polluters-pay model that will offer new revenue streams for Australian communities, local businesses, and charities alike, reduce litter, and create a clean material stream for domestic remanufacturing.
The scheme will be publicly tendered, meaning all interested parties will have a fair go at participating in it. So, what's the issue?
Let's take a step back and think this through in a logical way, instead of being swayed by the emotive words and misinformation being presented by some.
Here are the facts;
Firstly, community groups, local sporting clubs and charities are not being sidelined, nor will it be harder for them to make money. There will be money in the pot and opportunities for these groups, just as there are in all Australian schemes that already have significant social enterprise involvement.
For the scheme to be successful - one measure of success being collection volumes - we need high levels of community engagement. To get that the scheme must be accessible to all Tasmanians.
The reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all scheme, and there is no one industry that has an automatic right to run this scheme in Tasmania, particularly when there are clear commercial interests on both sides, e.g., the beverage sector managing its profit margins.
A successful scheme is one that is accessible, drives recycling, reduces litter, provides a new income stream for Tasmanians, and creates a remanufacturing sub-sector that uses Australian recycled containers.
We can only get there if the inherent conflict of interest associated with higher container return rates (i.e., the more accessible the scheme = the more containers returned = increased costs for beverage suppliers) is managed. The split model scheme offers the best chance at accessibility and effectiveness, as well as the generation of a lot of new money for the community.
Thirdly, all schemes to-date have a head contractor that fulfils the role of delivering and managing network operations. Some states tendered this role, and some did not. In Tasmania, the government wants its split model to be publicly tendered - this is a good thing as it ensures transparency in the process, otherwise the scheme could be handed to a party with a commercial interest.
Let's move forward and get on with the design and tender process; this scheme will live in Tasmania for many years so we need a fair and effective model. No one group has the right to run it and the state government should be congratulated for not acquiescing to pressure from interest groups.
- Gayle Sloan is the chief executive of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association ofAustralia