Does beer cost more thanks to govt’s Return and Earn scheme?

Return and Earn reverse-vending machines pay people 10 cents for every eligible bottle or can. Picture: Daniel Munoz
Return and Earn reverse-vending machines pay people 10 cents for every eligible bottle or can. Picture: Daniel Munoz

The price of beer in NSW will be monitored over the next year in the wake of the government’s Container Deposit Scheme.

The CDS  – better known as Return and Earn – was launched in controversial circumstances in December 2017.

The scheme sees consumers take eligible empty containers – which include beer and soft drink cans and bottles – to pick-up points or reverse-vending machines to claim a 10-cent refund.

There was concern the scheme would see a rise in the price of beer and soft drink as companies pass the cost of the refund onto the consumer.

Now the NSW government has directed the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal to monitor the prices of all beverages, including those not eligible for refunds.

This is because companies who produce a range of different container beverage products might decide to increase the price on those not covered by the CDS.

“We’re inviting comment on our proposed approach to the review, including feedback on how the costs of the scheme have affected beverage prices, and whether there has been any impact on competition in the beverage industry” IPART chair Dr Peter Boxall said.

The IPART issues paper points to concerns the scheme would hit small business hard.

“During consultation before the CDS commenced, some stakeholders were concerned about the costs of the CDS falling disproportionally on small and medium sized enterprises,” the paper stated.

Businesses near the border with another state were concerned about people bringing in containers supplied outside NSW to be redeemed for a refund. 

Public submissions can be made until March 13.

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