Australian Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson has called upon Coca-Cola Amatil, Lion Nathan and Schweppes to front the upcoming Senate inquiry into allegations of rorting in state-based container deposit schemes.
“We’ve seen these big companies wheel out their lobby group – the Australian Food & Grocery Council – on the weekend, stating that they plan to front the inquiry,” Senator Whish-Wilson stated.
“While I welcome that undertaking, it is essential that these companies send their own high-level finance representatives – rather than having the AFGC speak for them.
“This would allow for full transparency in regards to the opening up of their books, as well as provide their chief financial officers for questioning – instead of having a middle-man or PR agency appear on their behalf.
“I cannot speak for other members of the inquiry – however, surely it is better that any evidence tendered on behalf of these companies is submitted by them, allowing for the inquiry to cross-examine executives and avoid any suggestions of hearsay.
“There are serious unanswered questions about millions of dollars of unredeemed deposits and handling fees, which are charged against containers sold, as opposed to those collected.
“There is a clear divide in the beverage industry. Those companies that are opposed to a national recycling scheme have raised their prices under the Northern Territory scheme higher than the next three big beverage companies, who don’t object to a scheme.
“This evidence, and the work of the Boomerang Alliance, has convinced me of the importance of a Senate inquiry into this issue.
“There are millions of dollars in unredeemed deposits at stake here.
“I look forward to the Senate inquiry shedding light on this issue to progress the implementation of a national container deposit scheme.
“The implementation of a national container deposit scheme is vital to removing plastic beverage containers from streets, creeks, beaches and oceans – and increasing the overall level of recycling.”