Deniliquin business owner Robert Hallum has welcomed news this week that an ‘assistance package’ is to be attached to the continuing rollout of the NSW Government’s Container Deposit Scheme.
The assistance is specifically to compensate eligible businesses close to the Victorian border and who can demonstrate an impact from the scheme not being implemented across the border.
Support will cover transitional costs for the first 12 months of the scheme, which started in December 2017.
Mr Hallum — who owns Central IGA supermarket and the Central Cellarbrations bottleshop — said the biggest impact comes from price increases on products which come in ‘return and earn’ eligible containers, which in turn encourages locals to seek the same product for a smaller cost in Victoria.
While he said the assistance package seems to be a step in the right direction, he will reserve his final judgment until more details are released.
‘‘At this stage I really have no idea what they are doing, but I would be happy with anything that helps us to be competitive,’’ Mr Hallum said.
‘‘We have to be competitive to survive, and this package may allow us to drop our prices back until Victoria hopefully comes on board (and introduces the scheme).’’
Even though the assistance package is only expected to be available for the first 12 months of the scheme, including back-dating to December 2017, Mr Hallum said it’s expected to allow businesses to ‘‘sustain a bit longer’’.
The assistance package, announced by the NSW Government and to be managed by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, is expected to be available to affected businesses within 80km of the Victorian border.
Eligible businesses have been identified by IPART as small to medium independently owned and operated NSW retailers near the border that take a significant proportion of total sales from multi-pack beverages (more than six containers).
The assistance package is also expected to include targeted business advice for affected businesses through Business Connect.
‘‘This assistance will mean that identified border businesses will have the financial support and business advice they need to adjust to the introduction of the CDS,’’ NSW Member for Murray Austin Evans said.
‘‘The CDS is showing great results for the environment but it is clear there have been consequences for some businesses which I am now confident we can address.’’
IPART will assess all applications for assistance, which must be received by August 31. For more information on how to apply, contact email@example.com.