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NSW Container Deposit Scheme from 1 December 2017

Whether you agree or disagree with the introduction of Container Deposit Schemes (CDS) the fact remains that NSW will follow South Australia and the Northern Territory and have a CDS in place from the 1 December 2017.

NSW will be followed by the ACT, Queensland and Western Australia who plan to have their CDS operational by 1 July 2018, leaving Victoria as the only mainland state not to have a CDS.

The introduction of the CDS has created a depth of uncertainty amongst retailers, in particular the estimated increased costs required to fund the operation of the CDS of up to $0.22 per unit which includes the 10 cent deposit or $5.28 per case on all eligible products. These increased costs will start to be passed on to consumers from 1 November as suppliers begin to increase their prices to build the deposit refund float.

A serious unintended consequence of the NSW CDS being introduced ahead of Queensland and the ACT will be the cross border trading that will occur in the border regions of Queensland and the ACT and in the longer term Victoria, as consumers take advantage of the price variations.

In NSW, MGA has been communicating strongly with the office of the NSW Minister of the Environment Hon Gabriele Upton to delay the launch date until 1 July 2018 in line with Queensland and the ACT. Close consultation has also taken place with NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs, as well as major suppliers on how the price discrepancies between NSW and Victoria can be mitigated.

In Victoria, MGA have had several meetings with the Minister for the Environment, Hon Lily Ambrosia, Chief of Staff Ian Porter and Advisor Emily Garnett on the cross border trading issue and have been advised that the Victorian governments’ position is to not introduce a Container Deposit Scheme.

Speaking with our NSW border retailers they believe that if the Victorian government continues to hold their position of not introducing a CDS then only a National Pricing Policy by suppliers will mitigate cross border sales and stop their businesses from being decimated.

MGA has been assisting with and pressing the NSW government, the EPA and the Scheme Coordinator, ‘Exchange for Change’ to finalise and urgently implement a media campaign and retailer point of sales material that will educate the consumer on the mechanics of the CDS, and the impact it will have on retail prices.

As part of the Scheme ‘TOMRA Cleanaway’ have been appointed as the network operator to establish 500 “across the counter” collection points and co-partner with retailers to position 800 Reverse Vending Machines. Retailers can apply to be allocated a RVM by visiting the website tomra.com/en/collection/reverse-vending/tomra-technology/ and completing the ‘Expression of Interest’ form. MGA has been in consultation with the ACCC to ensure that the allocation procedure of the RVMs is fair and equitable, by not favouring big business over small business.

Clearly the introduction of a Container Deposit Scheme in NSW without having a longer consultation period with industry and other state and territory governments on the impacts of not having a common implementation date will have a serious impact affecting the viability of NSW members’ businesses. The cost to businesses and communities as a result of cross border trading on the southern NSW towns bordering Victoria has created for those retailers a grave position of uncertainty for their business future. MGA has planned further meetings with relevant government officials to continue strong lobbying to minimise the impact of cross border trading to MGA members.

CDS eligible containers
All beverage containers between 150ml and 3 litres in volume except for the following;

  • Plain milk (or milk substitute) containers
  • Flavoured milk containers 1 litre or more
  • Pure fruit or vegetable juice containers 1 litre or more
  • Glass containers for wine and spirits
  • Casks for wine and casks for water – 1 litre or more
  • Sachets for wine 250ml or more
  • Containers for cordials, concentrated fruit/vegetable juices
  • Registered health tonics

NSW CDS timeline

  • February 2015 – the then Premier of NSW Mike Baird announced that his re-elected Liberal Government would introduce a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS).
  • May 2016 – the NSW government announced that the CDS would be operational as at 1 July 2017
  • August – September 2016 – Consultation took place on the draft Bill and Regulatory Framework Discussion Paper, where over 130 submissions were received and considered by the government.
  • October 2016 – the Waste and Resource Recovery Amendment (CDS) Act was passed by the
  • NSW government.
  • November – December 2016 – Expressions of interest for the Scheme Coordinator and Network Operator were called.
  • January – February 2017 – the Tender Bidding Process took place
  • February 2017 – Minister for the Environment Gabriella Upton announces that after requests by environment groups and industry bodies the CDS roll out will be extended by five months to 1 December 2017.
  • July 2017 – NSW government announces Exchange for Change as Scheme Coordinator and TOMRA-Cleanaway as Network Operator.


Queensland/ACT/WA CDS timeline

  • July 2016 – Both States and Territory announced that they would follow South Australia, Northern Territory and NSW and have a Container Deposit Scheme in place by 1
  • July 2018.

If you would like more information on the Container Deposit Scheme you can visit these webpages; NSW: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/recycling-and-reuse/return-and-earn/how-return-and-earn-will-work QLD: www.ehp.qld.gov.au/waste/ ACT: www.tccs.act.gov.au/recycling-and-waste/resource/container-deposit-scheme WA: www.der.wa.gov.au/our-work/programs/390-wa-container-deposit-scheme; or you can contact MGA on 1800 888 479.