The Tasmanian government's preferred option for a Container Deposit Scheme is a missed opportunity for community groups and the not-for-profit sector. It is a disappointing decision that effectively locks out charities from benefiting from the scheme, in preference for a "for profit" system.
The government's proposed model is based on a NSW system. And while the minister says everybody can participate in his scheme, the reality is under his model the dollar return to community groups and sporting clubs is very low. This is why in NSW, where a similar model operates, less than 20 per cent of collections are by done by community groups and sporting clubs.
Compare this to Western Australia, where sporting clubs, community groups, local government and small business handle some 70 per cent of collections. This should be an opportunity for clubs and charities throughout Tasmania, not just the private sector, not just the waste industry.
Tasmanian has some 260 million containers available for return each year, with a 6.5 cent handling fee that equates to $16.9 million per year that charities and not for profits could inject into their revenue streams. The big problem with the scheme the minister has announced is that if a group such as a PCYC wants to run a collection point, we would need to do so as a sub-contractor to the for-profit Network Operator, who will take a cut of the 6.5 cent handling fee.
This transfer of revenue from the not-for-profit to for-profit section makes no sense and it could for example be the difference between the Launceston PCYC being able to provide entry level jobs for young people, or having to rely on volunteers.
With the growing difficulty in securing sponsors and philanthropists, charities and not for profits need to diversify their income streams and this is a great opportunity to do this. As an example, the Launceston PCYC has ample parking ample and shed storage, we could easily be a large drop off collection point. Initially the scheme would enable us to provide work experience and community hours for people coming out of the youth justice system they would get real life work experience in a range of areas. There would also be the opportunity for entry level for people who have been unemployed for some time.
That's why we should be concerned if a multinational waste recycling company is getting the handling fee. We don't know if the money will even stay in Tasmania or Australia.
In NSW they have a reverse vending machine, where you take your containers and get your 10 cents back and that's very convenient for consumers, but the money doesn't stay in the community and certainly doesn't create jobs on the scale that are possible.
The government needs to choose a system that actively and substantially supports the community sector to create employment and income streams. If it doesn't, we are all missing out.
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