WMRR weighs in on Victorian CRS controversy

WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan has taken a swipe at VicRecycle chair Paul Klymenko over the assertion that the Victorian state government will give control of the impending container refund scheme (CRS) to private waste companies.

To be clear, said Sloan in statement released on Wednesday, all that the Victorian Minister has committed to is a split responsibility model and a public tender – no one group or sector is being sidelined in the Victorian government’s proposal; if anything, the government is seeking a program that provides avenues for multiple participants to get involved, and it has committed to a transparent public tender process to select these participants.

“The ongoing baseless and empty rhetoric by VicRecycle chair Paul Klymenko that the Victorian government intends to create a monopolist scheme is so far from the truth it’s laughable. How does a split model program with multiple players that will be decided through a public tender spell ‘monopoly’? Is VicRecycle so afraid of participating in a transparent tender process that it needs to perpetuate these untruths in an ongoing attempt to pressure the government to change its tune to the beverage industry’s favour?” CEO of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia,” Sloan, said.

“All existing schemes in Australia are successful – just ask their communities, which is why the Victorian government is going to market through a transparent process so that all can participate to build Victoria’s scheme. To be clear, all schemes have a head contractor – in some states it is the beverage industry and in some, it is waste and resource recovery sector companies. There are no monopolies, and all have multiple participants. No one is locked out in any state regardless of what is being reported.

“We cannot stress enough that a successful scheme is one that is accessible, drives recycling, reduces litter, provides a new income stream for Victorians, and creates a remanufacturing sub-sector that uses Australian recycled containers. We can only get there if the inherent conflict of interest associated with higher container return rates – i.e., the more accessible the scheme, the more containers will be returned, leading to increased costs for beverage suppliers – is managed.”

The NSW scheme, which VicRecycle has criticised, is an example of a model that encourages accessibility and maximises social engagement. The cost per container in NSW is lower than in Queensland and the overall amount paid out (the refund) is higher as there are more containers redeemed, according to Sloan.

“A split model CRS will balance all commercial interests and provide Victorians with the best chance at success, providing a model that is both accessible and effective, ultimately generating new money for the consumer, charities, and sporting groups, while driving infrastructure investment, new sectors, and new local jobs,” Sloan said.

“No one group, has the right to control Victoria’s CRS. If VicRecycle truly has the best interest of the community and community groups at heart, as it says it does, then it needs to stop the whinging and stop playing the person, get back in the game and participate in the forthcoming public tender, just like the WARR sector and potentially others will be.”