It was disappointing and surprising to read the New South Wales Environment Minister’s press release of 15 October 2022 that the Government was proposing to include wine bottles in the New South Wales Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). This announcement, made with no consultation or forewarning with the wine sector, would – under a conservative estimate backed by the NSW EPA’s own costings – see a $30 million tax placed on Australian wine producers. If wine bottles were included in CDS arrangements nationally, the cost would be around $100 million per annum.
But it’s not just the cost we’re concerned about. Frankly, CDS arrangements offer almost no environmental benefit. In both South Australia and New South Wales, state EPAs estimate that including these containers would increase collection rates by around one per cent. The New South Wales Government is choosing a model that would place the entire cost of the scheme on winemakers, for almost no additional environmental benefit, with the scheme operators (major international brewers and soft-drink manufacturers) profiting off managing the scheme.
As an industry, we have until 2 December 2022 to provide a formal submission into this process (consultation documents can be found here) and we encourage every business to lodge their concerns through the formal process. Weight of numbers will be important and Australian Grape & Wine – in collaboration with NSW Wine – will provide analysis and information to support your submissions in the near future.