IGA supermarket owner Bob Mathews says the NSW government’s decision to extend a compensation scheme is a win for “the little bloke”.
The government on Thursday announced its financial aid for southern Riverina retailers hit by its container deposit scheme would run until 2020 after having been due to end next month.
Member for Albury Greg Aplin said the extension would continue to bolster retailers within 80 kilometres of the Murray River who have been hurt by a 10-cent deposit on bottles and cans not applying in Victoria.
“They’ve been very grateful for the assistance and some of them have made plans for expansion for instance in the past and that’s why I think this is important, that they have the certainty that this assistance will continue so that those expansion plans can be undertaken in the knowledge that there will be an ability to compete on a level playing field with their Victorian competitors,” Mr Aplin said.
Mr Mathews, who owns supermarkets at East Albury and Springdale Heights and staged a protest before Premier Gladys Berejiklian last year, welcomed the move.
He paid credit to NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs, saying she had heeded Murray River retailers.
“It shows that the little bloke can be heard and the commissioner has listened and she’s done a fantastic job,” Mr Mathews said.
“Last year we didn’t have a Christmas because of the container deposit scheme started, but this will enable us to have a Christmas.”
The detail of the extended compensation scheme is subject to the findings of an inquiry by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal expected to be completed early next year.
Mr Mathews said there had been a rebound in customer numbers over the 12 months of the scheme, but they were buying less.
Meanwhile, Mr Aplin said he had lobbied for a container vending machine to be installed at Thurgoona to complement existing units at Lavington, Springdale Heights and East Albury.
“I have put that to the government that I think that there will be a need for a machine in the Thurgoona area as well and that will be locked in I suppose as one of the requests for (a) future rollout of these container deposit scheme machines,” Mr Aplin said.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here