A suite of options to ease pressures on local businesses impacted by the container deposit scheme are being investigated, NSW Member for Murray Austin Evans has assured the community.
It comes after Deniliquin business owner Robert Hallum’s revelation this week the recycling scheme had led to a significant reduction in sales at IGA Supermarket and Central Cellarbrations of ‘‘three to four pallets’’ of product each week.
Mr Hallum said the loss of income, which has affected staffing hours, is directly related to price increases businesses have been forced to pass on to consumers on containers eligible to be recycled under the scheme. Other border businesses have reported decreases in sales of 30 per cent, leading to reductions in staff.
Like Mr Hallum, Mr Evans said the easy fix would be to have the Victorian Government roll out the same scheme across the border.
Mr Evans said the ACT and Queensland have indicated they will roll-out the scheme, and while every effort is being made to encourage Victoria to do the same he admitted there is some reluctance.
‘‘The ideal solution is for Victoria to come on board, and I have been working on that but not getting much traction — I did not get a ‘yes’.
‘‘I have been spending time with the Victorian Nationals and trying to convince them of the merits of the scheme.
‘‘I’m trying to take advantage of the election down there (in Victoria) and if there is support in Victoria, and I expect it would be similar to the support we received in New South Wales; it could certainly become an election issue.
‘‘I don’t seem to be getting any vibes from either side (of the Victorian Government) so it might have to be driven by the people.
‘‘Victoria has raised some concerns about the scheme, and a lot of them are the same concerns that were raised here which we could help them through.
‘‘We’re also getting a lot of feedback that small businesses (in Victoria) would prefer not to have it.
‘‘Robert Hallum’s suggestion of getting the Federal Government involved to nudge Victoria is not an avenue I have worked on yet, but I think it is worth looking at.’’
Mr Evans said compensation is also being considered to reduce the impacts on the scheme.
He said this could be provided temporarily as a transition payment or, if Victoria was to commit to a future scheme implementation, until Victoria came on board.
‘‘We are looking at compensation schemes and perhaps even some discounting (of containers eligible to be recycled) along the border.
‘‘We need to see if we can work within the scheme and see whether we can do something to reduce the costs, so that in areas within a set distance of the border, the pricing is the same on both sides.
‘‘These are some of the things that have been floated but are not yet agreed upon.
‘‘It (the scheme) is not going to go anywhere.
‘‘It seems very popular, but we just need to deal with the cross border issues.’’