There are fears the NSW Government’s Container Deposit Scheme will have a severe impact on local business.
The scheme will officially come into effect on Friday, which is expected to bring with it a price rise for some products.
Independently owned and operated supermarkets and liquor stores, in particular, will be forced to increase their prices to accommodate the 10c refund per can and bottle.
Businesses in border towns on the NSW side of the Murray River are predicted to take a financial hit with customers expected to venture into Victoria to purchase products at cheaper prices.
Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins is worried many local businesses, particularly in Tocumwal and Barooga, will lose customers.
‘‘Council is concerned that some of our businesses will be affected and hope the New South Wales state government can sort this issue out quickly.
‘‘There is already clear evidence of drinks such as slabs of beer being purchased in bulk in Victoria to avoid the levy.’’
Mr Perkins said it was also alarming that the Container Deposit Scheme would be introduced this Friday yet the shire doesn’t have a recycling collection point for its residents.
It is believed the nearest collection point is located in Albury.
‘‘The company managing the collection point does not appear to have taken any step to develop a collection point in the area,’’ Mr Perkins said.
‘‘It is unfair that local communities are being expected to pay the levy but cannot redeem any funds for container returns.’’
Tocumwal IGA manager Anthony March said he’s concerned the matter won’t be addressed until February.
‘‘With Christmas coming up and the New Year break in January, I can’t see anything happening during those times.
‘‘I actually support the concept; I think it’s a great idea. But not a lot of real thought has gone into the planning.’’
Mr March said he had already spoken with fellow IGA managers along the Murray River that will be affected by the scheme.
‘‘If you wanted to buy a slab of water, it will be cheaper to go to Cobram because it might be $3 cheaper, which means more shopping will be done there.
‘‘This doesn’t just hurt my business and others along the Murray, businesses on the Queensland and ACT borders will also be affected by the scheme.
‘‘There is also the issue of TV advertising, which is redundant as we have Victorian media services. Many of the prices listed are Victorian prices which won’t reflect the New South Wales prices for viewers.’’
Mr March said Tocumwal IGA would consider installing a recycling collection point if available.
Mr Perkins said council would encourage businesses to come forward to volunteer to take on a collection point.
‘‘The requirement would be to have a collection point per town, open for 24 hours per week, which includes eight hours on the weekend.
‘‘There does not appear to be any urgency to correct the present situation which is both unfair and unjust for both consumers and retailers,’’ Mr Perkins said.