Submission on the NSW Container Deposit Scheme: Discussion Paper

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the NSW Container Deposit Scheme Discussion Paper prepared by the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

MACROC is the regional organization of councils for the Macarthur area of South West Sydney. Formed in 1985, it represents the local government areas of Camden, Campbelltown, and Wollondilly. MACROC’s role is to identify issues of regional importance and advocate for positive regional outcomes. Regional issues for the Macarthur region include transport infrastructure planning, managing population growth, employment generation, economic development and land use planning.

South West Sydney is the area targeted by the NSW Government to accommodate the major proportion of Sydney’s future metropolitan population increase and the challenge for our local government areas will be to achieve sustainable growth while at the same time protecting the environment for future generations.

With population expansion comes increased waste generation and our Councils appreciate the need for a regional and collaborative approach to strategically plan a co-ordinated response to this important issue.

The NSW Government would be aware of MACROC’s achievements in cross-regional collaboration which can be demonstrated across a range of different project areas.

The partner Councils have already worked collaboratively for some years towards achieving the key result areas identified in the NSW Government’s Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy:

  • preventing and avoiding waste;
  • increasing recovery and use of secondary materials;
  • reducing toxicity in products and materials and;
  • reducing litter and illegal dumping.

Among the most successful initiatives towards meeting these key result areas is the Councils’ highly successful joint tender/contract project for the establishment and operation of an advanced processing facility for domestic waste.  The project resulted in the construction and operation of a $50 million facility to service the current 15-year contract.

As a result of this collaborative initiative, the councils have already exceeded the NSW Government’s 2014 landfill diversion target for domestic waste:  for the 2012/13 period, the partner councils achieved a rolling average of 70% landfill diversion for kerbside-collected domestic waste.

The MACROC Councils are committed to work with the Government and our community of Macarthur to reduce litter and increase recycling and understand that in February 2015 the Premier announced that the NSW Government would implement a container deposit scheme for the recycling of drink containers by 1 July 2017.

MACROC, on behalf of its Member Councils, participated in the CDS Community and Local Government Working Group, one of six working groups that were established to inform and assist the CDS Advisory Committee which was asked by the Minister for the Environment to provide advice on key aspects of the design and implementation of the system.

As part of that Working Group MACROC, together with other representatives from Local Government, raised a number of areas of concern particularly with regards the importance of the scheme being designed to complement rather than compete with the very successful kerbside collection that currently operates in NSW.
The CDS Discussion Paper examines the design of a container deposit scheme and presents possible models for such a scheme. The Discussion Paper does not drill down to an operational level and because of that there are number of questions about the CDS that cannot be answered at this stage.

MACROC supports the Government’s aim to reduce the volume of litter in NSW by 40% by 2020. However implementation of the container deposit scheme would need to be mindful of potential financial cost to Local Government. Therefore MACROC believes that whatever model of CDS the NSW Government adopts it should be a scheme that does not impose an additional financial burden on Local Government.

MACROC encourages further consultation with Local Government throughout the design and implementation of CDS in NSW. Effective consultation will help ensure the CDS meets the needs of Local Government, State Government and the community.

This regional submission should be read in conjunction with any submissions made by our Member Councils.

Prepared by
Christine Winning
Executive Officer
26 February 2016