NORTH East residents will be able to get a 10-cent refund on their drink containers this Sunday afternoon.
Environmental campaigner Annett Finger is escorting a big bottle across Victoria in a bid to pressure the state government into following NSW and introducing a container deposit scheme.
“Victoria is the only mainland state that does not have it or does not have an intention to introduce it, so Victoria is going to be left behind in terms of litter and recycling,” Dr Finger said.
The giant bottle will be parked at Beechworth from 1pm to 3pm on Sunday near the roundabout at Camp and Ford streets.
Dr Finger said she wanted people to bring their plastic bottles and they would be reimbursed, 10 cents each, for up to 20.
A petition will also be available to sign to present to Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.
Beechworth was selected as the North East tour stop because of its existing recycling culture, reflected in its use of Boomerang Bags.
Dr Finger said while there had been positive signs towards adopting container refunds she was determined to have Labor and Liberal commit.
“I’m waiting for a policy that says ‘if we’re elected we will introduce it’ and neither of the major parties have done it,” she said.
Meanwhile, hope is growing that the NSW government may offer compensation to retailers north of the Murray River that have been hit by its container scheme.
NSW Business Chamber Murray-Riverina manager Andrew Cottrill was party to a meeting with the Small Business Commissioner’s office last Thursday and was left optimistic.
“This is not a wait-and-see-if-Victoria-adopts-a-scheme position, they realise we need some sort of scheme to redress the situation in a short timeframe,” he said.
Mr Cottrill added the office accepted that “retailers are in financial difficulty and they’re keen to progress to a solution”.
He said he would now be seeking “more empirical data” from shopkeepers along the Murray River to present to the office in anticipation of another meeting within a fortnight.