COLLECTIVELY SPEAKING: Bob Ball collects a variety of interesting memorabilia.
COLLECTIVELY SPEAKING: Bob Ball collects a variety of interesting memorabilia. Max Fleet

Cash for containers scheme to pass

A STATEWIDE cash for containers scheme looks certain to pass through NSW Parliament as Labor throws support behind the Baird government initiative.

But while the government criticised Labor's failure to deliver the program while in power, the Opposition had some Question Time bagging of its own.

"It's self-evident why these sorts of measures are needed," Maroubra Labor MP Michael Daley said.

"The CSIRO predicts that plastic ingestion in, for example, sea birds, might reach 99% of species by 2050," Mr Daley said.

"We are calling on the government to go further than that, and to support Labor's proposed ban on single-use plastic bags," he said.

Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith already has a bill calling for a plastic bag ban, and a petition with more than 12,000 signatures calling for a ban has been presented in parliament.

The government ridiculed Labor's push, pointing out that in 2004 then-Premier Bob Carr said he would ban light-weight plastic bags within two months.

Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd made a similar promise in 2007 but failed to deliver despite Labor being in power until 2013.

The scheme will force beverage companies to refund 10c for every eligible container returned.

Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis said it presented a lucrative fundraising opportunity for charities and community groups on the North Coast.

"As the Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast, I can say that the North Coast is very proud of its clean, green image," Mr Gulaptis said.

"This scheme will enhance our reputation for being clean and green," he said.

The beverage industry has raised concerns the program would hurt its bottom line.

Coca-Cola Amatil this week reassured investors there was no immediate threat to profits, issuing an ASX statement saying the scheme "will not be implemented for some time".

"It is uncertain whether any additional states may consider the introduction of a container deposit scheme, however the Queensland and ACT governments have both previously indicated their interest in developing a scheme similar to or aligned with NSW," it said.

The scheme will begin on July 1 next year.

-ARM NEWSDESK



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