Concerns over SA Government’s CDS review

20 February, 2019 by Andy Young

The South Australian Government is undertaking a review of its Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), which will include looking at whether to include any further containers in the scheme.

Concerns have been raised surrounding claims that wine bottles could be included in the scheme with Australian Grape & Wine saying it is “deeply concerned” by those calls.

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“As an agricultural industry, the continuing success of the Australian wine industry relies on sustainable environmental practices. While recycling is strongly supported as a part of our environmental commitment, no compelling evidence has been presented to support the inclusion of wine bottles in South Australia’s CDS,” said Tony Battaglene, CEO of Australian Grape & Wine.

Wine bottles currently represent less than 0.04 per cent of South Australia’s litter stream, as most bottles are consumed either at home or at a licensed premises. Both New South Wales and Queensland have introduced CDS in recent years, with neither state including wine bottles in their scheme.

Battaglene added: “Good public policy is built upon a strong evidence base, and a proper weighing-up of costs and benefits. South Australia’s CDS has been a strong driver of litter reduction in public spaces without wine bottles being included, and with a focus on resource recovery, there is no evidence to suggest that CDS will be the appropriate vehicle.  However, the costs to South Australian wine businesses and that economy are very clear and there are also potential flow on implications for the wider Australian industry.”

Detailing the potential impact on South Australia’s wine industry, Battaglene said: “We estimate the costs to South Australian wine businesses would be around $5m per year, coming in the form of direct costs and the associated costs of the additional red-tape wine businesses would have to deal with every day. These costs would be felt by many small businesses that contribute so much to rural and regional economies in South Australia.”

He added that with wine being a significant contributor to the South Australian economy and the state’s highest single export sector, the introduction of wine bottles into the state’s CDS has the potential to jeopardise the financial sustainability of the wine sector.

“Australian Grape & Wine strongly supports the efforts of the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) to inform South Australian wine businesses about the potential impact this review could have on their operations.

“We echo SAWIA’s call to make sure businesses engage in the consultation process and encourage people to speak to their local member of parliament,” said Battaglene.

“We wonder why the government is considering such a move as part of its review. Surely a government that does so much to promote South Australian wine businesses wouldn’t then want to impose unjustifiable costs on the sector?” said Mr Battaglene.

You can have your say on the consultation process for the CDS review on the South Australian Government’s website.