Queensland Container Refund Scheme False Recycling Claims and Statistics

Figures provided by Ministers, Departments and Container Exchange have often been misleading at best and comparisions have been difficult to make due to inconsistent and differing methods being used for calculation of relevant statistics.

Depending on what suits their agenda at the time you have annual consumption figures for containers of “up to 3 Billion” and “over 2.4 Billion”.

Containers for Change and Container Exchange are fond of quoting the figure of 30 to 35% for past recycling rates when in the 2017-2018 financial Year immediately before the commencement of the Container Recycling Scheme it was 45%.

There needs to be an independent audit performed of the embarrassing Container Recycling Scheme with a view to replacing it with a supermarket Reverse Vending Machine system like Germany and other countries.

This article is a supporting article for the main article | Queensland Container Refund Scheme.

Recycling Percentages

Before the start of the Container Refund Scheme recycling rate was 45% but immediately afterwards it dropped to 38.5% before increasing to 41.6% 4 months later however the claims from Government and Container Exchange was that they were recycling 62%!

This is easily proven incorrect yet the media have not picked up on this and the only other questions around this have been from from an interstate environmental group who calculated it at 33% and were attacked by Container Exchange and protected by the Minister who claimed there was no need for an audit.

  • Recycling Rate 2017-2018 FY = 45%

Containers for Change started on the 1st of November 2018

  • Recycling Rate 11/2018 to 06/2019 = 38.5% (calculated)
  • Recycling Rate 11/2018 to 10/2019 = 62% (claimed)
  • Recycling Rate 11/2018 to 10/2019 = 41.6% (calculated)

Reduction in Litter

One claim that has been thrown into the Container Exchange Annual Report for 2018-2019 on page 8 is the 35% reduction in litter between November 1 2018 to presumably the end of January 2019 which is a 3 month period.

Container Exchange Annual Report for 2018-2019 on page 8

The Minister said that there was a reduction in litter in the environment of about 35% in a media statement on the 7th of September 2019 | 800 million containers now returned through Containers for Change. No mention was made that this was beverage container litter and this is another deliberate attempt to overestimate the benefits of a flawed scheme.

Minister Enoch said across Queensland, the container refund scheme had helped reduce litter in the environment by about 35%.

Leeanne Enoch | 800 million containers now returned through Containers for Change

Details of this survey can only be found in the Department of Environment and Science Annual Report for 2018-2019 on page 36 where there was an omission that this was as survey conducted in February 2019.

Department of Environment and Science Annual Report for 2018-2019 on page 36

Calculations

A number of figures have been supplied by the Queensland State Government for the total number of bottles and cans covered by the Container Refund Scheme.

Neary 3 Billion by the Minister responsible at the time Dr Steven Miles in the Implementing Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme Discussion paper from April 2017.

In a Media Statement by Steven Miles on the 22nd of July 2016 he quoted the figure of 2.4 Billion and this figure has been used by numerous media and other organisations as late as 2019. As this is the lower figure this will be used for calculations as it will only increase the percentage.

In the Queensland Productivity Commission report on Container Refund Scheme Price Monitoring Review the claim is 2.8 Billion containers per year. The final report is here.

Containers Exchange claimed a 63% redemption rate based on 38% via Container Refund Points and 25% via material recovery facilities (council etc).

To estimate costs (Table 4.1), the Commission used scheme prices and data on volumes provided by COEX. The data includes the volumes of eligible containers sold in Queensland per month, by material type, for the period 1 November 2018 to 30 April 2019.

The direct cost of the scheme per container ranges between 4.59 and 5.36 cents, depending on the type of material in containers. The predicted container redemption rate is 63 per cent, which implies an average refund of 6.3 cents per container.
To calculate the direct cost of the scheme, the Commission took the total of 1.4 billion containers sold into the market in the first six months of the scheme’s operation 4 and, for each month, categorised the volumes by material type and then multiplied those volumes by the scheme price for that type of material.

4 Redemption rates used included: (a) 38 per cent returned through container refund points; and (b) 25 per cent returned through material recovery facilities. Data supplied by COEX.

August 2019 | Container Refund Scheme Price Monitoring Review

It’s not possible to work it out from the initial figures in the first Annual Report as there are loans included in the amount and containers by customers were stored from before the scheme started and cashed in based on the large numbers the first weeks of operation.

Recycling Rate 2017-2018 FY = 45%
Containers Sold in 2017-2018 Financial Year = 2.4 BILLION
Recycling Rate for 2017-2018 FY = 45% *1
*1 Thanks a billion: Container scheme transforms Queensland recycling

Recycling Rate 11/2018 to 06/2019 = 38.5%
Containers Sold in 11/2018 to 06/2019 = 1.6 BILLION *1
Calculated Recycling Rate 11/2018 to 06/2019 = 38.5%*2
Claimed Recycling Numbers 11/2018 to 06/2019 = 617 MILLION*3
*1 Using the 2017-2018 figure across eight month period.
*2 .617/1.6 = 38.5%
*3 Container Exchange Annual Report 2018-2019
[Note: using the figures in the annual report for 2018-2019 show this figure to by 28% based on income from containers and payments to customers – as this was the first year of operation this figure may be slightly distorted so will not be used for this calculation]

Recycling Rate 11/2018 to 10/2019 = 62% or 41.6%
Containers Sold November 2018 to October 2019 = 2.4 BILLION
Claimed Recycling Rate 11/2018 to 10/2019 = 62% *1
Calculated Recycling Rate 11/2018 to 10/2019 = 41.6% *2
Claimed Recycling Numbers 11/2018 to 10/2019 = 1 BILLION
*1 Thanks a billion: Container scheme transforms Queensland recycling
*2 1/2.4 = 41.6%
[The TEC survey claims a 33% recycling rate, this is assumed to be based on the 3 Billion container figure so I have not included it above but it shows how far the Queensland Government supplied figures are from the truth.]

Low to Mid 30s Claims

In 2017-18, the figure improved to 45 per cent.

Now, after the first 12 months of the state government-backed cash for containers scheme, the rate is 62 per cent.

Containers for Change spokesman Adam Nicholson said COEX – the company that runs the scheme – calculated Queensland’s recycling rate after the billion cans were recycled since November 2018.

“We were the worst-littered state and we were down in the low to mid 30s for our recycling rate,” Mr Nicholson said.

Thanks a billion: Container scheme transforms Queensland recycling | 1st of November 2019

44% and 3 Billion Containers

The main page of the Container Exchange and Containers for Change Website states the 44% figure for the year before they started operation along with the 3 Billion containers per year.

In recent years, Queensland has had one of the lowest recycling rates in Australia at around 44%. Each year, around 3 billion drink containers are generated in Queensland alone and are the second most littered item.

11th of April 2020 | Container Exchange Main Page
11th of April 2020 | Container Exchange Main Page
11th of April 2020 | Containers for Change Main Page

$25 Million to Charity Organisations

Steven Miles the Minister responsible at the time included a claim in a media statement on the 22nd of July 2016 that $25 million could be made by community organisations each year. In the 8 months from November 2018 to June 2019 a total of $863,897 was paid to Charities and Community Groups [page 8 – Financial Report].

Minister claims Queensland Container Recycling Scheme a “Resounding Success” amongst Criticism

The Criticism

After criticism of the Queensland Containers for Change recycling scheme by a Sydney based environmental lobby group following a review in February 2020, Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the scheme has been a “resounding success”.

Looking at the figures for the first 8 months of operation show that the scheme had revenue of $195 million from consumer deposits and a return to customers of only $55 million. The remainder was used to run an efficient, wasteful and damaging to the environment scheme. This is a 28% container return rate and by 2022 the target is 85% from a system that is unworkable.

According to the Minister Leeanne Enoch not only is this World Class but this is a Resounding Success!

This article is a supporting article for the main article | Queensland Container Refund Scheme.

Similar findings and complaints have been raised on this website and there are many complaints from users of the service that mirror the claims made by the lobby group.

In the Brisbane Times article NSW lobby group slams Queensland’s ‘ramshackle’ recycling scheme on the 8th of April 2020, Container Exchange went further and called the Total Environment Centre’s report a “bad faith survey” and claimed the figures were “wrong” before going on to claim a link between a “rival container refund scheme” in NSW and the TEC.

A furious CoEx spokesperson Adam Nicholson said Queensland’s scheme was “deliberately a mix” of large operators (TOMRA and Envirobank) supported by myriad small businesses, which are now affected by coronavirus.

“The Containers for Change scheme has been very popular with Queenslanders in its first 18 months of operation and there is strong competition for the remaining opportunities to participate,” he said.

“We are aware that several of our larger operators are lobbying for more opportunities, in southeast Queensland especially.”

TEC said their survey was run between February 22 and March 9 this year before the impact of coronavirus closed businesses.

TEC’s executive director, Jeff Angel, said Queensland’s system was “ramshackle”, with a variety of refund points.

“A lot of these refund points do not work very well, or do not exist,” Mr Angel said. “It’s just not a robust system that can sustain convenience and high recycling rates.

“We are now calling on the Queensland government to subject the Container Refund Scheme to a comprehensive in-depth review and have power to exert greater control over CoEx.”

Mr Angel said the first billion containers collected by November 2019 reflected a 33 per cent recycling rate.

“Their target [CoEx’s] is 85 per cent by 2022, set by the government. But there doesn’t seem to be any intention to increase the number of refund points.

“They really have to reach 2 billion containers in this coming year. They are not going to achieve that.”

Mr Nicholson questioned the timing and funding behind the survey.

“I would question the motivation, and the funding source, of a NSW not-for-profit sending resources across the border to check opening hours and days of Queensland businesses at a time when most of NSW was focused on the deadly pandemic arriving on our shores.”

Container Exchange spokesperson Adam Nicholson is engaged in shooting the messenger instead of answering the issues raised. These are the same issues this website have raised and the comments of real customers have echoed these. The Queensland Container Refund Scheme is a nothing but a sham operation that is poorly run, is inefficient and damaging to the environment.

The TEC Findings

What the Total Environment Centre found in CoEx’s Queensland scheme:

  • The 44 over-the-counter manual and reverse vending machine depots (run by recycling giant TOMRA) worked very well;
  • Of 129 refund point locations reviewed, 14 did not exist or were closed and 35 were not operating correctly;
  • Many bag drop sites had no signage other than on the container, at times making it hard to locate the recycling site;
  • Many of the 64 bag drop sites did not provide bags or directions on how to obtain bags to put into the counting container;
  • Doubts exist that the scheme can help achieve the required 85 per cent recycling rate.

What does Queensland’s scheme consist of?

  • 64 bag drops (13 Gold Coast, 9 Logan, 5 Ipswich, 14 central/East Brisbane, 9 north Brisbane, 11 Sunshine Coast/Noosa, 3 Moreton Bay)
  • 35 over-the-counter depots (6 Gold Coast, 7 Logan, 5 Ipswich, 4 central/East Brisbane, 5 north Brisbane, 3 Sunshine Coast/Noosa, 5 Moreton Bay)
  • 7 mobile/pop-up points (4 Ipswich, 1 central/East Brisbane, 2 Moreton Bay)
  • 9 reverse vending machine (RVM)/drop-off depots (1 Gold Coast, 2 Logan, 2 Ipswich, 2 central/East Brisbane, 1 north Brisbane, 1 Sunshine Coast/Noosa)
  • 14 centres did not exist or were closed (5 Gold Coast, 8 north Brisbane, 1 Moreton Bay)

The Minister

In the Brisbane Times article Qld recycling scheme a ‘resounding success’ so no audit needed, says minister published on the 9th of April 202 the Minster Leeanne Enoch said the system was operating efficiently.

Containers for Change has been a resounding success

Queenslanders are passionate about recycling and we’ve seen that, with the return of over 1.6 billion containers so far.

That’s over $160 million in refunds that has been returned to individuals, schools and charities.

The scheme has also created over 700 new jobs, many in regional Queensland.

In establishing the Queensland scheme, we learned from the mistakes of New South Wales and established a model that creates jobs, while also ensuring people can return their containers in a variety of different ways

That includes the depots, bag drops and reverse vending machines, as well as mobile services to ensure rural and remote communities have access to the scheme.

Obviously from the results, you can see this is working

Our government established the container refund scheme in November 2018 and we regularly monitor its performance

In the first six months of its operation, an independent assessment of the scheme was undertaken, and the Department of Environment and Science has been acting on its findings to make sure Containers for Change continues to deliver this service for Queenslanders.

CoEx … has targets that have been established in legislation for container recovery and container refund point accessibility,” she said. “Those targets have not changed.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch

Looking at the Queensland scheme it is obvious that it can never achieve its targets and the only way to do this is to follow the European model discussed in the main article. Not only will this help to achieve the 85% target it will reduce the costs to consumers to close to zero.

The Minister however is unable to admit the scheme is a failure so Queenslanders will continue to fork out hundreds of millions for a system that will never achieve meaningful results instead of introducing a system that would provide a high percentage of returns at minimal cost.

The question that has to be asked is WHY?

Container Exchange Annual Report 2018-2019 | Queensland Container Refund Scheme

This short analysis uses data from the Container Exchange Annual Report and Financial Report for the 2018-2019 Financial Year.

This article is a supporting article for the main article | Queensland Container Refund Scheme.

World Class Container Refund Scheme?

The first thing that greets you is that on page 7 the claim is made that Queensland has “A world-class beverage container refund scheme”. This is the biggest load of bollocks and no-one with a functioning brain could make such an absurd claim.

  • How does a world class container refund scheme make you have to travel and waste hours of your life jumping through hoops to get back an amount that barely covers your fuel if you’re lucky?
  • How does a world class container refund scheme actually do more harm to the environment?
  • How does a world class refund scheme actually create pointless jobs in menial tasks?

This is a constant issue in Australian politics, Brisbane City Council claim everything they do is World Class when it’s actually the opposite and the Queensland Government is become fond of using the term to describe everything they do. Maybe if politicians were held legally responsible for their claims these useless and pointless terms would no longer be used.

What is a world class container refund scheme? Imaging a scheme where returned the containers to where you purchased them on your next weekly shop requiring no more effort, no more storage until you have a car full and no cost to you? Sounds amazing right? Nope this is how these systems work in places like the EU and have done for many years.

Australia on the other hand decided to create complicated systems with excessive costs and claim they are world class. Other countries build world class systems and don’t feed such bollocks to their populus.

Lies, Lies and more Lies

Launch day saw more than 658,000 containers returned via 252 container refund points across Queensland. More than 7250 individuals, charities, community groups and businesses had registered for scheme IDs with many more opting to receive
cash refunds or sign up to accounts with operators in the scheme.

Container Exchange Annual Report 2018-2019 | Page 10

As per the data provided on the Containers for Change website there were at most 201 Container Refund Points on the first day of operation from their own data. The claim made in their annual report is 252.

Containers for Change have now made it difficult by removing the listing of sites from their website and requiring you to use a map based system to get numbers.

As at the 9th of April 2020 the number of Container Refund Points (CRPs) from their website was 313 but the majority of these are bag drop locations, mobile and pop-ups which are limited hours and days (many are closed as well but are kept on the website).

All Locations | 313 | 09/04/2020

The real number of useful locations is 126 after removing bag drop, mobile and pop-up points.

Over the Counter and Reverse Vending Machine Locations | 126 | 09/04/2020

Closed Locations

Sample of Closed Locations | 126 | 09/04/2020

Reverse Vending Machines are not affected by events like Covid-19 but the World Class Container Refund Scheme that Queensland operates is affected and along with frequent site closing or changing location is a huge issue that the scheme has been unable to manage. It is only with the massive profits that the scheme is able to operate which is a direct cost to the consumer.

Employment

Claimed employment for the scheme is 626 new jobs across the state but what is not stated is the Full Time Equivalent (FTE) number. Most of these jobs are casual and part time. Assuming each job is 1/3rd of a FTE this is 209 jobs at a cost of $673,555 ($140,773,000 running costs divided by 209). The cost is at least 50% higher as this is for an 8 month period and is around $1 million dollars per job.

More than 620 new jobs were created across the state, many in rural and regional economies. Some social enterprises elected to become CRPs as well as raise funds through container refunds, harnessing the dual benefits of increased revenue and employment for clients.

Container Exchange Annual Report 2018-2019 | Page 19

Contact Centre

With the use of Reverse Vending Machines such as Germany there is no need to offer a customer contact centre as the refund is processed on the spot with no need for accounts, logins, providing bank details, waiting weeks or months for payments and disputing payments.

From November 2018 to June 30 2019 the centre received 79,000 queries in total consisting of more than 53,000 calls and 25,000 emails. Of these only 840 were complaints representing just over 1% of total queries.

Container Exchange Annual Report 2018-2019 | Page 23

Given the low value of the transaction and people not wanting to spend time on the phone the 1% complaint rate is likely underreported, the number of complaints on their Facebook and Instagram Page is already a large percentage of these. The low number of complaints is not supported by the number of complaints made to the media and other places like social media.

The Costs of the Scheme

The two figures that really matter is the cost of the program and the amount returned to the consumer. In this scheme it’s around 28% is returned to various customers, this is a recycling figure of 28%. These figures do not take into account loans provided by the state government or stakeholders but these are minimal over the life of the scheme and are to be repaid in future years. The effects of these loans on the figures is minimal and doesn’t change the fact that the CRS is an unmitigated disaster.

  • Revenue of $195,573,000 (deposit on containers sold and sale of recycled goods).
  • Container Refund Expense of $54,800,000 (refund to customers including councils)
  • Surplus after costs $27,927,000 (profit)
  • Operation costs $140,773,000

Many of the expenses following would not exist if a Reverse Vending Model like Europe was adopted, these include most of the following.

  • Container Handling Expenses of $37,594,000
  • Logistics Expenses of $9,320,000
  • Container Processing Expenses $7,539,000
  • Material Recovery Facility Expenses $23,574,000
  • Container Export Rebates $11,903,000 (for containers exported out of Queensland)

Running costs for Financial Year 2018-2019

FY 2018-2019FY 2017-2018
Administrative Fees$6,677,000
Professional Services$5,063,000$5,502,000
Marketing and Communication$3,344,000
Employee Benefits (wages, super)$2,415,000$162
Other Expenses$4,702,000$1,008,000
Finance Costs$2,227,000

Schemes Targets

The Scheme target is 85% of containers recovered by 2022 but the percentage in 2020 is sitting in the low 30’s.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Doesn’t Understand Home Confinement, Movements and Gathering Direction

Is asking for clear communications on what is expected from the Government asking too much? On top of all of the failures from the Queensland Government with the Covid-19 Pandemic including their refusal and/or inability to identify which suburbs are the worst affected, now the Premier shows she doesn’t understand the laws nor their purpose and cannot explain what an area or what a local is.

Any decent politician would know that having clear rules is essential to public support during this time but QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk fully supports the issuing of infringement notices based on an undefined definition of a local or an area. Why not ensure that the rules (that have changed multiple times even within hours of being put in place) are well communicated and clear?

The discussion around the Gold Coast beaches and locals and areas starts at 5:51 and is with the QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Channel Nine’s Karl Stefanovic and Ally Langdon.

Our frontline workers are in the battlefield

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Ally asks the Premier about the beaches on the Gold coast because “..we’re told they’re closed but you can exercise. Does that mean you can swim.”

Ok Ally, the Mayor made the decision to close the beaches, the three beaches on the Gold Coast. He spoke to me about it and I backed him in his decision, uhm, they’ve also closed the car parks. What he is saying is if you are local, you are allowed to go for a walk, but if you are not local you should not be coming down to the beach to do your exercise. You should be doing your exercise in your local area.

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – Such a weird message.

Such a clear message and …

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – So if someone is not a local and they’re in the area anyway… they can’t even go to the beach but a local can. What’s the point of it?

Why should they be in the area Karl, why should they be in the area. If you’re not local, why should you be in the area?

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – maybe they were there before the lock down.

You can’t be on holiday. There’s no holidays.

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – What if you’re across the road, what if you’re five kms away can you go for a walk on that same beach, what if you’re six and not exactly in that area. This is where it falls down.

Well if you’re a local you should be able to go, there is nothing wrong with that. If you’re in the Gold Coast area you should be able to go for a walk around your local area. I don’t think we can get caught up in technicalities here. What we need to say very clearly is that now is not the time for a holiday. If you live locally, go and walk locally. If you don’t live locally, stay in your suburb and celebrate family… celebrate Easter with your family.

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Ally – So that is a no to swimming in the ocean even if you’re a local? Right?

Look no, my understanding is that if you are a local that you’re allowed to go for a swim and come out. But you would have to talk to the Mayor about that, he’s made the rules about the beaches on the Gold Coast.

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – I’d be interested to see what the definition of a local is.

The worst part about this interview is that the QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shows no concern that the laws are not clear, does not understand herself the basics of the laws that she is promoting and is giving incorrect and misleading information.

Scenarios that she clearly cannot fathom include

  • People from other areas, states or countries that are in that area at a hotel or family members residence. According to the Premier these people cannot go to the beach at all.
  • More to come soon.

The Public Health Direction states clearly that one of the permissible reasons you may leave the house is to exercise (see the full directive at the end of this article).

Home Confinement requirements in Queensland
6. A person who resides in Queensland must not leave their principal place of residence except for, and only to the extent reasonably necessary to accomplish, the following permitted purposes:
c. to engage in physical exercise;

There is no definition of area nor local, it does not say you cannot drive to the area, or walk, or catch a bus or anything else. It says that you can leave your residence to engage in physical exercise.

Anyone who is issued a Penalty Infringement Notice under these circumstance should consider appealing the decision by following the instructions on the rear, if that appeal fails, all you have done is given yourself more time to pay if you don’t want to appeal this in court.

Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction

Summary

Effective from: 11.59pm on 2 April 2020

Posted: 2 April 2020

Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)

Section 362B

On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 19 May 2020 and may be further extended.

Further to this declaration, l, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believe it is necessary to give the following directions pursuant to the powers under s 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Preamble

  1. This Public Health Direction replaces the following Public Health Directions:
    1. the Home Confinement Direction given on 29 March 2020;
    2. the Mass Gatherings Direction (No 2) given on 21 March 2020;
    3. the Restrictions in Private Residences Direction given on 27 March 2020.
  2. This Public Health Direction is to be read in conjunction with other Public Health Directions issued under section 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 that have not expired or been revoked.

Citation

  1. This Public Health Direction may be referred to as the Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction.

Revocation

  1. The following Public Health Directions are revoked effective from 11:59 pm on 2 April 2020:
    1. the Home Confinement Direction given on 29 March 2020;
    2. the Mass Gatherings Direction (No 2) given on 21 March 2020;
    3. the Restrictions in Private Residences Direction given on 27 March 2020.

PART 1 — DIRECTION – HOME CONFINEMENT, MOVEMENT AND GATHERING

  1. This direction applies from 11:59 pm on 2 April 2020 until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless it is revoked or replaced.

Home Confinement requirements in Queensland

  1. A person who resides in Queensland must not leave their principal place of residence except for, and only to the extent reasonably necessary to accomplish, the following permitted purposes:
    1. to obtain food or other essential goods or services;
    2. to obtain medical treatment or other health care services;
    3. to engage in physical exercise;
    4. to perform work or volunteering, or carry out or conduct an essential business, activity or undertaking, and the work, business activity or undertaking to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s principal place of residence;
    5. to visit another person’s residence in accordance with paragraph 9;
    6. education and early childhood workers may travel to and from their home centre over the term 1 break;
    7. to visit a terminally ill relative or to attend a funeral or wedding, subject to any applicable restrictions under other relevant Public Health Directions;
    8. to provide assistance, care or support to an immediate family member;
    9. to attend any court or tribunal of Australia or to comply with or give effect to orders of the court or tribunal of Australia;
    10. to attend a childcare facility, school, university, or other educational institution, to the extent care or instruction cannot reasonably be obtained in the person’s principal place of residence;
    11. to assist with or participate in an investigation or other action by a law enforcement authority, whether voluntarily or not;
    12. for children under 18 years who do not live in the same household as their biological parents or siblings or one of their parents or siblings, continuing existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children and siblings, but not allowing access or contact with vulnerable groups or persons;Example of a vulnerable group or person – a person over 70 years or a person with a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19
    13. avoiding injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm;Example – escaping a risk of harm related to domestic and family violence
    14. to comply with or give effect to the exercise of a power or function of a government agency or entity under a law.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 2 persons or with members of household

  1. Subject to paragraph 8, a person who leaves their principal place of residence for a permitted purpose under paragraph 6 may be accompanied by members of their household or, alternatively, by no more than one person who is not a member of their household.
  2. If a person requires physical assistance to leave their principal place of residence or it is reasonably necessary for the safety of the person or the public, and there is no other reasonable way for a purpose under paragraph 6 to be achieved, a person may be accompanied by more than one person who is not a member of their household and who is a carer or support worker for that person.Example – a person with a disability may be accompanied by more than one carer or support worker.

Receiving up to 2 visitors at a residence

  1. Subject to paragraphs 10 to 12, a person who is an owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of a residence may allow up to two visitors who are not ordinarily members of the person’s household.Examples of visitors – Family members and close friends
  2. Paragraph 9 does not prevent workers or volunteers entering a place of residence and they are not counted as visitors for the purpose of paragraph 9.
  3. Paragraph 9 does not apply to a residential aged care facility, corrective services facility or detention centre.Note – The Aged Care Direction given on 21 March 2020 and the Corrective Services Facility Direction given on 22 March 2020 restrict visitors to those facilities. Other Public Health Directions may be made applying to other types of facilities.
  4. Paragraph 9 does not apply to a residence of a person with disability if it is necessary for more than two people to attend the residence to provide services to the person with disability to meet their support needs.
  5. An owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of premises, including a residence, must take reasonable steps to encourage occupants of, and visitors to, the premises to practise social distancing to the extent reasonably practicable.

Gatherings in non-residences

  1. A person who owns, controls or operates premises, other than a residence, must not organise or allow a gathering to occur on the premises.

Exemptions

  1. The Queensland Chief Health Officer may grant an exemption to part or all of these directions on compassionate grounds or for other exceptional circumstances.

Definitions

  1. Corrective services facility has the same meaning as in the Corrective Services Act 2006.
  2. Detention centre has the same meaning as in the Youth Justice Act 1992.
  3. Essential business, activity or undertaking means a business, activity or undertaking that is not prohibited by the Non-essential business, activity and undertaking Closure Direction (No.4), or its successor, or another Public Health Direction.
  4. Essential goods or services are food and other supplies, and services, that are needed for the necessities of life and operation of society, such as food, fuel, medical supplies, and other goods.
  5. Household means persons who ordinarily live at the same residence, including if family or kinship customs or cultural obligations have the effect of a person living across multiple residences.
  6. Indoor space means an area, room or premises that is or are substantially enclosed by a roof and walls, regardless of whether the roof or walls or any part of them are:
    1. permanent or temporary; or
    2. open or closed.
  7. Gathering, subject to paragraph 23, means:
    1. a gathering of more than two persons in a single undivided outdoor space at the same time; or
    2. a gathering of more than two persons or more in a single undivided indoor space at the same time.
  8. Gathering does not include a gathering:
    1. at an airport that is necessary for the normal business of the airport;
    2. for the purposes of or related to public transportation, including in vehicles or at public transportation facilities such as stations, platforms and stops;
    3. at a medical or health service facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facilities;
    4. for the purposes of emergency services;
    5. at a residential aged care facility or residence of a person with a disability, that is necessary for the normal business of the facility or residence;
    6. at a prison, correctional facility, youth justice centre or other place of custody;
    7. at a court or tribunal;
    8. at Parliament for the purpose of its normal operations;
    9. at a food market, supermarket, grocery store, retail store or shopping centre that is necessary for the normal business of those premises;
    10. at a workplace, including but not limited to an office building, factory, manufacturing facility, resource extraction, mine or mineral processing facility, utilities or construction sites that is necessary for the normal operation of those premises;
    11. at a school, university, educational institution or childcare facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility;
    12. at a hotel, motel or accommodation facility, such as a worker camp, that is necessary for the normal operation of accommodation services;
    13. at a wedding or funeral permitted under the Non-essential business, activity and undertaking Closure Direction (No. 4), or its successor, or another Public Health Direction;
    14. at an outdoor place where persons may be present for the purposes of transiting through the place;Example – Queen Street Mall
    15. at an indoor place where persons may be present for the purposes of transiting through the place;Example – Central Station
    16. specified as exempt from this direction by the Chief Health Officer in writing.
  9. Outdoor space means a space that is not an indoor space;
  10. Premises has the same meaning as in Schedule 2 of the Public Health Act 2005, and also includes land and vessels.
  11. Principal place of residence means:
    1. for a person who permanently resides in Queensland, the residence where the person ordinarily resides.
    2. for a person who temporarily resides in Queensland, the residence where the person ordinarily resides when the person in present in Queensland.
  12. Residence means premises used, or intended to be used, as a dwelling or mainly as a dwelling, and includes the land on which the residence is situated, and includes:
    1. a single detached dwelling;
    2. each of one or more attached dwellings that are separated by a common wall;
      Examples for paragraph (b) — villa unit, townhouse, terrace house, row house, unit in an apartment block.
    3. a manufactured home as defined in section 10 of the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003;
    4. a caravan as defined in section 7 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008;
    5. any other building or structure situated on the same land as the premises or dwelling.
      Examples for paragraph (e) – shed, pool house, carport, granny flat. But does not include a corrective services facility or detention centre.
  13. Residence does not include a residential aged care facility, corrective services facility or detention centre.
  14. Residential aged care facility means a facility at which accommodation, and personal care or nursing care or both, are provided to a person in respect of whom a residential care subsidy or a flexible care subsidy is payable under the Aged Care Act 1997 of the Commonwealth.
  15. Resident has the meaning given in section 14 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
  16. Social distancing includes remaining at least 1.5 metres away from other persons, regular washing of hands and avoiding handshaking.
  17. Tenant has the meaning given in section 13 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.

PART 2 – PENALTIES

A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.

Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:

Failure to comply with public health directions

  • A person to whom a public health direction applies must comply with the direction unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
  • Maximum penalty—100 penalty units.

Dr Jeannette Young
Chief Health Officer
2 April 2020

Published on the Queensland Health website at 2 April 2020, 11.35pm

Gladys Berejiklian creates Resilience NSW to cover up Incompetence

The first sentence from Gladys Berejiklian’s press release sums up the levels of idiocracy in our three levels of Government. World-Leading means what exactly? When was the last time someone with a brain said that an Australian Government at any level was “World-Leading”, had planned or prepared for anything from a disaster to growth?

This new agency didn’t just pop up overnight yet there is very little information about it, they have hired 150-200 staff at a cost of $30 million just in wages alone but aside from a press release and a few media interviews no information is forthcoming.

The Press Release

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced the creation of a new NSW Government agency, Resilience NSW, which will drive world-leading disaster preparedness and recovery approach for the NSW community.

This follows Commissioner Fitzsimmons’ retirement after decades of service in the RFS, including 12 years as its leader.

Ms Berejiklian said NSW is proud of Commissioner Fitzsimmons’ role during the recent bushfire season and for his outstanding service over many decades to the RFS.

“The NSW community has shown extraordinary resilience in the face of many disasters – bushfires, drought, flood and now the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We know the next six months will be very difficult but we must already turn our mind to recovery.

“Through Resilience NSW we will re-double our efforts to prevent, prepare and recover from crisis which impact NSW.”

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said he was honoured to have the opportunity to continue to serve the people of NSW in this vital new role, and to work alongside the leadership of the state’s combat agencies.

“Resilience NSW will lead the whole-of-government prevention, preparedness and recovery effort. It will oversee and coordinate emergency management policy, service delivery and all aspects of disaster recovery at a state, national and international level,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“There was never a more important time to make sure that communities devastated by drought, bushfires and now COVID-19 are getting the help they need to rebuild and recover.”

NSW Media Release | 6th of April 2020

The Incompetence of government

The NSW community has shown extraordinary resilience in the face of many disasters – bushfires, drought, flood and now the COVID-19 pandemic

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian | NSW Media Release | 6th of April 2020

Without any doubts all of these so called disasters were exacerbated because of a combination of incompetence and lack of planning by the Local, State and Federal Governments. How an additional layer of bureaucracy will fix issues that run deep into other areas of government is beyond idiocracy.

  • Bushfires were so widespread mainly because of cutbacks to the hazard management in NSW.
  • Drought is down to poor planning and the failure to build dams when you have doubled the population in most places of Australia.
  • Flooding is often exacerbated because of poor planning and allowing homes to be built in inappropriate areas, poor maintenance of stormwater and lack of infrastructure to get rid of flood water quickly from built up areas.
  • Covid-19 is a sterling example from the NSW Government given they allowed the Ruby Princess passengers to disembark in the middle of the night with no checks. Of the 2,700 passengers that disembarked, over 700 were infected and at least fifteen have died (at the 8th of April 2020) and these passengers have travelled all over Australia. This was a failure at the Federal Government level as well but nearly all the blame must lie with the State Government who is responsible for health. A criminal investigation is underway but no doubt the people responsible will be promoted or moved sideways into a new agency or department.

The Agencies Mandate

Resilience NSW will lead the whole-of-government prevention, preparedness and recovery effort. It will oversee and coordinate emergency management policy, service delivery and all aspects of disaster recovery at a state, national and international level

NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons | NSW Media Release | 6th of April 2020

Prevention, Preparedness and Recovery

According to Shane Fitzsimmons the new agency will not only be about prevention but also preparedness and recovery.

Prevention

Does this suggest they will be ordering the building of infrastructure such as dams and stormwater infrastructure? What about ordering hazard reduction in forests? And stopping housing development in low lying flood prone areas? If not how will they PREVENT anything from happening?

Given that the departments and agencies already responsible for these areas are supposed to be responsible how does an additional agency identify these areas? Who is responsible for the failures as now there will be multiple departments and agencies responsible and no doubt finger pointing will ensue.

Preparedness

Preparation entails knowledge of the areas that you are responsible for, this new agency is responsible for everything from a Pandemic to Cyber Security to Drought to Flooding to Fire and beyond.

How will it be in a position to ensure preparedness for the local, state and federal governments to respond when required?

Recovery

Recovery is another vast area and this one agency is going to be responsible for all types of recovery from Cyber Attacks, Pandemics, Drought, Floods to Fires and more. How will it be able to recover when local government resources are required? All levels of government already show they cannot work together particularly when different parties are in power in different levels of government.

State, National and International

Further Shane Fitzsimmons said the new agency will oversee and coordinate emergency management policy, service delivery and all aspects of disaster recovery at a state, national and international level.

State

This is ok as they are a state government agency but will they have the power to direct councils at the local government level?

National

Will Resilience NSW have the power to order other states and the Federal Government what to do? If not this is just fanciful thinking.

International

Exactly what will a “World-Leading” NSW Agency have to offer other countries let along believe that they will be engaged with overseeing and coordinating emergency management policy, service delivery and “all aspects” of disaster recovery?

Staffing

Staffing is currently 150-200 at the outset. Allowing for all the staffing costs and the numerous senior staff that will be involved and working off the 200 staff figure x $150,000 and you have a cost in wages along of $30,000,000 per annum and this will likely double or triple in the months to come to approach $100 million per annum. Add in office space in the CBD, vehicles, infrastructure and travel and this is becoming a $200 million agency but time will tell as no details have been released.

The team itself is probably about 150 people, less than 200 people at the moment

NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons

Infrastructure

Is the agency Resilience NSW going to outsource it’s infrastructure to cloud providers as required by the NSW Government or run everything in house? Given it’s role includes Cyber attacks on infrastructure, logic would suggest it would run it in house so an attack on the poorly secured infrastructure in Australia would not see it cut off from it’s information.

As usual this information is not available.

Alternatives to the Resilience NSW Agency

There are multiple departments and agencies that should or do perform the roles of the new Resilience NSW Agency.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet

The Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) leads the NSW public sector to deliver on the NSW Government’s commitments and priorities.

Our mission is to enhance the lives of the people of NSW by driving priorities, brokering outcomes and delivering programs and services.

We support the NSW Premier and Ministers by:

– carrying out a coordinated policy, project and reform agenda that boosts the efficiency, productivity and effectiveness of NSW
– partnering with NSW Government agencies, as well as the private, not-for-profit and academic sectors, to ensure that services are delivered on time, within budget and to the community’s expectations
– coordinating the initiatives of Ministers and their agencies to achieve the government’s targets
– managing the passage of government legislation
– supporting the delivery of major projects
– coordinating and planning significant state events
– working with the federal government and other state and territory governments on national reforms.

About the Department | Department of Premier and Cabinet Website

The Minister for Emergency Services

What exactly does the Office of Emergency Management do?

Looking at the OEM it appears that they do everything the his new agency is going to do and more. They already have a minister responsible (even if he did take a European holiday in the middle of the bush fires in NSW).


St​ate Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC)

This section is directly from the Office of Emergency Management Website on the 7th of April 2020.

When an emergency occurs that is not under the control of a Combat Agency (as defined in the State Emergency Management Plan​), the State Emergency Operations Controller (SEOCON) assumes control. The SEOCON is supported in this role by the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC).

The SEOC has the necessary staff and communications equipment to control the emergency operation. When an emergency occurs that is under the control of a Combat Agency the SEOC may support that agency in controlling the emergency.

Roles of the State​ Emergency Operations Centre

The main roles of the SEOC during an emergency operation are:

  • To control the emergency operation
  • To plan for the ongoing emergency operation
  • To plan acquire and allocate resources
  • To provide public information about the emergency operation.

In addition to this operational role, the SEOC collects, stores and disseminates information to support emergency operations.​


NSW Emergency Management Arrangements

This section is directly from the Office of Emergency Management Website on the 7th of April 2020.

​The community of New South Wales lives with a variety of natural and technological hazards. The more common hazards are floods, severe storms, and bushfires but other events such as exotic animal disease, major aircraft crashes and earthquakes are possible.

Most incidents are handled using standard procedures, however, if an event requires a significant and coordinated response, then this is termed an emergency.

The New South Wales Government acknowledges the inevitable nature of emergencies and their social, economic and environmental consequences. Accordingly, it recognises the need for a co-ordinated response by all agencies having roles or responsibilities in such emergencies.

A number of Acts of Parliament set out the duties and responsibilities of the emergency services. The State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 (as Amended) is the Act that provides the legislative basis for co-ordination of emergency preparedness, response and recovery operations.

The Act provides for:

  • the preparation of the Emergency Management Plan (EMPLAN) and subordinate plans to ensure a co-ordinated response for necessary operations;
  • the establishment of Emergency Management Committees at State, Regional and Local Government levels; and
  • arrangements for controlling emergency operations.

The State Emergency Management Plan​​

The key element of emergency management planning in NSW is the Emergency Management Plan (EMPLAN). The objective of EMPLAN is to ensure a co-ordinated response by all agencies having responsibilities and functions in emergencies.

EM​PL​AN

  • identifies the combat agency primarily responsible for responding to the emergency;
  • specifies the tasks to be performed by all agencies in the event of an emergency;
  • provides for the co-ordination of the activities of other agencies in support of the combat agencies; and
  • specifies the responsibilities of the Minister and the State, Region, or Local Emergency Operations Controller.

Planning below State level​​

An important principle of Emergency Planning in NSW is that local communities have a greater insight into the needs and resources of their support of the wider community. Accordingly, EMPLAN devolves control and co-ordination of emergency operations and the responsibility for preparedness, response and recovery to the lowest possible level but lays out a structure by which these resources may be augmented by Region and State resources if the Local level resources cannot cope.

Combat agen​cies

A combat agency is the agency with the specific expertise and equipment to deal with the effects of designated hazards. The agency responsible for each major hazard is designated in EMPLAN.

Animal Health Emergency
NSW Agriculture 

Aviation Emergency
Emergency Operations Controller 

Bushfire
NSW Rural Fire Service 

Fire (Urban)
Fire and Rescue NSW 

Flood Storm, Tempest
NSW State Emergency Service 

Hazardous Materials
Land based: Fire and Rescue NSW
State waters: NSW Maritime and NSW Port Corporations
Inland waters: Fire and Rescue NSW 

Marine Oil Spill
NSW Maritime and NSW Port Corporations

Sub-Plans: planning for specific hazards

A Sub-Plan is a plan developed to counter a specific hazard, where the planning required is either more specialised or more detailed than that provided for in EMPLAN.

The following Sub-Plans have been produced:

  • Animal Health Emergency (Exotic Animal Disease)
  • Aviation Emergency
  • Bushfire
  • Flood
  • Hawkesbury/Nepean Flood Emergency
  • Major Structural Collapse
  • Marine Oil & Chemical Spill
  • Storm

Supporting Plans: plan​​ning for a coordinated response

Emergencies can develop to the point where a combat agency requires support, assistance, and advice from other agencies. Displan identifies Functional Areas and requires “Functional Area Supporting Plans” to be produced to ensure appropriate support is provided for the efficient supply of the necessary assistance. The following supporting plans have been developed:

  • Agriculture and Animal Services
  • Disaster Recovery Human Services
  • Engineering Services
  • Environmental Services
  • Health Services
  • Public Information Services
  • Transport Services

Emergency Ma​​​nagement Committees

Emergency Management Committees are established at State, Region, and Local Government levels. The Minister appoints the Chairperson of the State Emergency Management Committee. Regional Emergency Operations Controllers chair the Regional Emergency Management Committees, and Local Government Councils provide chairpersons for the local committees. Membership includes the heads of the Emergency Service organisations at each level and representatives of the functional areas. At state level, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning & Natural Resources, the Department of Local Government, the Premier’s Department, and Treasury are also represented. Functional areas are not represented at local government level unless their structures extend to that level.

Control of op​erations

Where a combat agency is designated in EMPLAN, the head of the Combat Agency controls the operation. Where no combat agency is designated, control of the operation is vested in the Emergency Operations Controller.

At State level the State Emergency Operations Controller (SEOCON) is appointed by the Governor. Emergency Operations Controllers (who are also Police Officers) are also appointed at Region and Local levels.

Emergency Operations Controllers co-ordinate support or assist in co-ordinating support to a combat agency when requested by the Head of a combat agency.

Summary

What the new Agency does apart from check on other departments and agencies is unknown. Why isn’t this being undertaken by the NSW premier’s department whom surely the responsibility lies that the departments and agencies are doing their job? And what about the Office of Emergency Management that already does what the new agency does and more?

Another agency costing $200 million or more to perform checks that Departments are doing the job they are paid to do is absurd.

This new agency is duplicating the role of the ministers and the heads of these departments and agencies. The Premier should be putting competent people in these positions that are held criminally responsible for failure and as the the Premier of NSW they should also be held responsible for the failures of their departments and agencies.

This is like the changes to government that occur with newly elected politicians that want to be seen to be doing something so they split or merge departments at massive cost and disruption to “save” money or provide “better” services. How many times have Transport and Main Roads been merged and split in Queensland for example.

The Australian States need a core set of Departments like Transport, Main Roads, Education, Emergency Services and Health that are set and cannot be changed, merged or split at the whim of a new government. Each of these departments would be headed by ONE Minister and not multiple like we see now in some states like Queensland for example. Ideally in the future these departments that are working the same in each state would merge to remove the duplication and confusion between states as well as duplicated licensing costs for workers that operate in multiple states.

No doubt the other states will follow quickly with rushed agencies to perform similar tasks and each will want to outdo the others.

IKEA Electric Delivery Trucks Make No Sense in Australia

IKEA has been promoting the commencement of the conversation of their delivery vehicles to electric.

The Australian branch of Swedish home furnishings giant Ikea is taking its transport fleet all-electric, with a commitment to have quit internal combustion engines for all of its delivery and assembly vehicles nationally by 2025.

Ikea, which has been one of the leading installers of renewables globally – and of commercial-scale solar in Australia – said on Friday that its shift to EVs would start immediately, reaching 5 per cent in FY19, 10 per cent in FY2020 and 100 per cent in FY25.

The company in Australia has a fleet of around 100 trucks to deliver large furniture and another 250 vehicles for deliveries of smaller goods – already seven of the these are electric, delivering goods in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

The vehicles it uses are not its own, but outsourced through partner companies like Kings Transport and Logistics, which itself has been switching to electric in partnership with Victoria-based electric vehicle conversion specialist, SEA Electric.

IKEA Australia commits to all-electric delivery vehicle fleet by 2025

It all sounds good but it ignores the facts that Australia sources the majority of it’s electricity from coal and that these vehicles will be charged from late in the afternoon during peak demand (assuming there is not any form of load demand control on the chargers).

From a cost irrespective it makes no sense either.

Conversion Cost | $150,000

Charging Costs | $100 per week

Diesel Costs | $300 per week

(for unconverted truck)

Savings per week $200.

Assuming maintenance and repair costs each year are similar for diesel and electric.

750 weeks (14.4 years payback time)!

In the US and Europe where they have a larger mix of nuclear and renewables this could make sense but not in Australia.

Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme is a Scam, Rip-Off and a Rort!

More reports continue to come in of people being ripped off by the Container Refund Scheme and the amount of time wasted on trying to get refunds yet the Queensland Government remains silent as it handed off it’s responsibilities to a third party called Containers for Change.

This article is a supporting article for the main article | Queensland Container Refund Scheme.

The terms and conditions state that there can be no disputes once you drop off your containers for a refund. Furthermore Containers for Change offer the simple if ridiculous advice to go elsewhere if you’re not happy! Sure let’s waste more fuel and time for a pointless scheme that doesn’t achieve anything that it claims and to top it off they blame customers for being stupid and not knowing what containers can be recycled!

… some people still aren’t sure which containers are eligible and which are ineligible, she said.

If people aren’t happy with the container refund point they have used, they should check what other operators are in their area.

Container for Change

The sooner the state government does what it should have done in the first place the better.

‘Cash for cans’ faces teething problems

DESPITE having 12 months to watch how the cash for cans scheme works in the Tweed, organisers of the Gold Coast’s own version are still facing some serious teething problems.

The Queensland scheme, which incorporates recycling machines and bulk deposits, has been labelled a “rort” and a “rip-off’ by locals who have been short-changed.

The Gold Coast Sun has received multiple complaints from locals who say they have dropped off significant amounts of cans and bottles only to receive meagre amounts of money, and in some cases no money at all.

The Containers for Change scheme offers a 10-cent refund for each eligible container returned for recycling at one of the container refund points, but some locals call it a scam.

Roz Rowe, 50, from Coomera Waters deposited her recyclables at the Salvos store at Oxenford, where it was calculated she would receive a refund of $25.80.

However, she received a total sum of only $3.70 – 36 days after her deposit.

“I was assured payment it would take three to four days,” she said.

“This is a ridiculous amount of time for me to wait for money due.”

Ms Rowe then took $40 worth to the Envirobank on Siganto Drive at Helensvale, but they had run out of orange collection bags.

She then drove to Ashmore, but said the queue was “out the door”.

“By this stage, I had two agitated kids who did not want to wait the hour queue time so we came home. Petrol wasted, time wasted for nothing,” Ms Rowe said.

In a written complaint to Containers for Change, Ms Rowe said the issue was eventually resolved.

Kerry Charlwood from Oxenford complained after she dropped off nine large bags and received only $2.10.

“I put trust in this process,” she said. “My grandchildren have been working hard collecting these bottles and cans.

“I’m not the only person missing money too. The more people who complain, hopefully someone will do something about it.”

There have also been calls to expand the Ashmore depo, with some locals calling it “overloaded” and based on an “honour system”.

Ashmore local Anthony Nicholas wrote on the Containers for Change Facebook page, questioning the validity of the refund process and suggesting there was no way to accurately calculate the appropriate refund.

A Containers for Change spokeswoman said they would be “very concerned” to hear people were not getting correct refunds.

“If anyone believes this is the case they should contact our call centre on 134 242 and provide their scheme ID so we can track what has happened to the containers … some people still aren’t sure which containers are eligible and which are ineligible,” she said.

“If people aren’t happy with the container refund point they have used, they should check what other operators are in their area.”

2nd of February 2019 | Tweed Daily News

Envirobank Container Refund Locations require Special Bags, Envirobank runs out of Special Bags!

On top of the Envirobank 50 item per bag policy which if you disregard and put in 49 or 51 items will see your whole bag forfeited and beside the fact that you cannot physically put in 50 1.25l bottles now Envirobank has run out of bags and faced long delays in obtaining more.

This article is a supporting article for the main article | Queensland Container Refund Scheme.

Another 250,000 bags have arrived taking the total number of bags in circulation in Queensland to over 600,000 and more are on the way! And to further increase the costs of recycling you can now only have 3 bags at a time so $15 is the maximum that you can earn in a single trip to an Envirobank run facility no matter how far you travel. Using the ATOs 66c per km rate this means once you exceed a 22km round trip you are losing money not taking into account time and other costs.

Container refund locations source of frustrations

COMPLAINTS have continued to swamp the Envirobank recycling centres as people vent their frustrations over a lack of bags, padlocks on machines and strict refunding rules.

The Queensland Government introduced the container refund scheme on November 1 last year which provides a 10 cent refund payment for select bottles and cans.

Envirobank has more than 30 recycling sites around southeast Queensland.

A common complaint has been about the difficulty getting the required bags to use the recycling machines, despite businesses near each deposit location stocking bags.

Residents have taken to Facebook to air their gripes, with some claiming their local location has been out of bags up to six times when they’ve tried to recycle or the deposit box was locked.

“Bags would be a bonus and unlocking the container at Peregian Springs,” wrote Gail Gear.

“(It) wasn’t unlocked yesterday despite all your advertising saying it would be closed New Year’s Day not New Year’s Eve.”

The company also recently announced, to mixed reactions, that users have to have 50 items in each bag.

“The service is not focused on penalising people for miscounting their bags and while the scheme is still new we will of course exercise leniency when initially presented with ineligible items,” a Envirobank spokesperson wrote on its Facebook.

Envirobank were approached for comment, but failed to respond.

4th of January 2019 | Sunshine Coast Daily

The confusing part of Envirobank’s statement is that they claim that many of the existing 350,000 bags have been taken for other purposes but they claim that there are now 600,000 bags available with the 250,000 that just arrived!

A letter from the Managing Director

Brace yourselves for some really good news! The bags are back. Another 250,000 have landed and are moving into Envirobank’s depots, pods and stockist locations as we speak.

This means we now have 600,000 orange collection bags available to Crunch members across the state. 600,000 of these reusable bags can recycle 30 million containers in a single rotation! And we have even more arriving in the next few months.

Now, we know the bag shortage was a disaster for you – trust us – it was a Disaster (with a capital “D”) for us! Our bags went walkabout at record speed and never found their way home again. They took holidays at the beach – disguised as picnic rugs, they went fishing, snorkelling, camping – you name it. But the bags missed us and we missed them.

21st of February 2019 | Envirobank

Where can I get orange collection bags?

Envirobank’s orange collection bags are available free (in limited quantities) at a number of locations:

Over-the-counter at Bag Stockists
Many of our Drop’n’Go sites now have a nearby bag stockist, this should be your first port-of-call when looking for orange bags. These retailers have been generous enough to offer this service to support their local community to please don’t forget to show them your appreciation!
(*Please note: bag stockists enforce limits of 3 bags per person, per day, to ensure others don’t miss out)

List of pod sites and nearby bag stockists:

POD NAME: Aussie World
BAG STOCKIST: Celebrations Bottle Shop

POD NAME: Aspley Hypermarket
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

POD NAME: Brookside Shopping Centre
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

POD NAME: Cannon Hill Kmart Plaza
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

POD NAME: Chancellor’s Tavern
BAG STOCKIST: Inside tavern

POD NAME: The Creek Tavern
BAG STOCKIST: Bottle ‘O’ Shop

POD NAME: Currumbin State School
BAG STOCKIST: Gecko Environment Council reception

POD NAME: Duporth Tavern
BAG STOCKIST: Inside Tavern

POD NAME: Glasshouse Mountains Tavern
BAG STOCKIST: Thirsty Camel bottle shop

POD NAME: Jindalee Home
BAG STOCKIST: Coles at Jindalee Home Centre

POD NAME: Kirra Beach Hotel
BAG STOCKIST: Liquor Legend

POD NAME: Macgregor Home
BAG STOCKIST: Corrine McMillan MP Office (Mansfield Electorate)

POD NAME: Coles Mt Gravatt Plaza
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

POD NAME: Coles Nambour
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

POD NAME: Narangba Valley Tavern
BAG STOCKIST: Shane King MP Office (Kurwongbah electorate) Shop 4, 232 Young Rd, Narangba

POD NAME: Pete’s Village Bakery
BAG STOCKIST: Pete’s Village Bakery

POD NAME: Coles Pacific Pines
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

POD NAME: Coles Peninsula Fair
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

POD NAME: Coles Peregian Springs
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

POD NAME: Raceview Hotel
BAG STOCKIST: Star Liquor Raceview

POD NAME: Redbank Plaza
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

POD NAME: Runcorn Tavern
BAG STOCKIST: Duncan Pegg MP Office, 5/62 Pinelands Road, Sunnybank Hills

POD NAME: Waves of Kindness
BAG STOCKIST: Sandy Bolton MP Office (Noosa Electorate)

POD NAME: Coles Wynnum West Plaza
BAG STOCKIST: Coles Service Desk

No stockists in your area yet? We’re working on it! And as more stockists come come online, we’ll add them to this list and in the location details for each specific Drop’n’Go site on our “Where to recycle” map.

Envirobank depots in NSW and QLD
There may be a stack where you can help yourself to a limited quantity of orange bags, or simply ask one of our friendly team members and they’ll give you some.

Envirobank Drop’n’Go pods
On either side of the pod, between the chutes, you will see a hole marked “Replacement Bags”. These bags are topped up every day, however, sadly they seem to jump out of the holes all at once, leaving none for other recyclers. Try as we might, there isn’t a lot we can do to stop this! So get in quick after we’ve topped up each day, otherwise head to a depot or bag stockist.

Envirobank Drop’n’Go

Recycling Plastic Containers and Lids, why is Australia so far behind the rest of the World?

The different Container Recycling schemes running across Australia has shown once again that not having a single federal entity responsible creates a bureaucratic mess with massive duplication in costs for all involved and a minefield with different rules for each state creating confusion about what can and cannot be recycled.

This article is a supporting article for the main article | Queensland Container Refund Scheme.

Not a single state has chosen the Reverse Vending Machine model at the point of sale like successful implementations in places like Germany and instead the requirement is for millions of trips to be made to dedicated recycling sites which does nothing but harm the environment.

The next issue is that most states don’t recycle the plastic lids and require you to remove them before you return them and throw them into bins that are destined for landfill. This is contrary to the practices of other countries that have invested in recycling facilities and shows that once again our recycling in Australia in a joke. Organisations like Envirobank further confuse the issue with their ideas on how container lids should be handled and recommend that you put them into your recycle bin or use them for other purposes!

Did you know that the plastic in the lids are different to the plastic in bottles? This means they need to be recycled differently. Not only that, but if recycling batches are contaminated with lids it can mean the whole lot might get sent into landfill (Noooo!).

When lids enter a recycling facility’s sorting process, they often get lost along the way because of their small size and weight, and are then sent on to landfills. What a waste – right!

When lids are included in the recycling at our drop points it can wreak havoc on our machinery – causing technical issues, risking personal injury, and delaying your Crunch Credits being issued! So always make sure to remove the lids before dropping them in.

Loose lids on their own can be too small to be picked up by depot sorting machines which means they often get sorted out and end up in landfill.

Place your loose lids into a larger plastic bottle, like a milk bottle, before adding them to your yellow council bin for recycling so they are contained and make their way through the recycling machines.

Look for alternative ways to reuse them. For example, ask if your local schools and pre-schools would like to take some for their craft-hour.

23rd of June 2019 | Envirobank

The truth is that the lids don’t need to be removed as they can be recycled at the same time as the bottles and automatically separated during the washing process. If the lid is removed before this occurs it will likely end up in landfill. Some Australian States and organisations will tell you to remove the lid and put it into a recycling bin but this will see it likely end up in landfill due to it’s size.

In fact by being told that we can recycle without the lids this has created an issue with bottle lids now being in the top 5 items being found in beach cleaning and litter monitoring around the world. The top 5 in order of number are

  1. Fishing Gear
  2. Plastic Bags and Utensils
  3. Balloons
  4. Cigarette Butts
  5. Bottle Caps

In the summer of 2016, The North Sea Foundation and more than 2,000 volunteers picked up as many bottle caps as they could find along the entire Dutch North Sea coast. These bottle caps were analysed one by one. The survey shows the quantity, type and origins of the bottle caps that pollute the North Sea and its beaches.

The biggest issue in Australia is that we generally just send our recycling to other countries for them to deal with and each council area differs in their approach, some even send recycling to landfill directly as we have seen many times recently.

The following is from The Association of Plastic Recyclers who have an excellent FAQ that illustrates how far behind we are in Australia.

Caps On – Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve always heard that plastic recyclers needed caps to be taken off? Why make the change?
Two key reasons: First, when recycling gets easier, participation goes up. APR is dedicated to boosting participation in recycling programs. Second, the cap material is recyclable. Why dispose something that could be recycled? In the past the plastics recycling industry was not able to effectively recycle bottles with caps on so the message to remove the cap was created. Recycling collection and processing technology has improved, demand for the recyclable material has increased allowing the current caps on recycling message and process.

Are recycled caps marketable?
Yes. Generally, caps are made out of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) – both of these have high demand from applications in both domestic and export markets.

Caps are usually made of a different type of plastic than bottles. Do they have to be recycled separately?
No. Although closures may be made of a different material than the bottle, bottles are ground into flake before being vigorously washed in the recycling process. The washed cap material is then separated from the bottle material during a water bath float/sink process. PET will sink, PP and HDPE will float. Both materials are then recycled into new items.

Should bottles and containers be flattened before replacing the cap?
APR’s primary message is EMPTY AND REPLACE CAP. According to a recent MRF Material Flow Study, flattening bottles can lead to improper sortation, and they may end up in the paper stream. Retaining a 3D form can help containers be successfully sorted.

Can bales of bottles with caps on be marketed at the same rate as bales without caps?
Yes. APR’s model bale specifications do not downgrade for the inclusion of caps. APR member companies regularly buy and recycle bales of caps-on bottles and containers.

Can I get a good bale compaction rate with caps on bottles?
Yes. Good bale density is important – too light and it’s hard to hit load requirements. Too tight and the material is over compacted, and recyclers cannot break them apart very well. While the answer varies by the type of baler, generally speaking 100-120psi of pressure should allow most balers to compress plastic bottles with caps on. Large-scale 2 ram systems, most commonly used in MRFs, should have no trouble as they often range in the 150-300+ psi range. A single ram, closed door baler usually operates at 70-120 psi. While larger balers of this format should be fine, those running at the low end of that range will generally have trouble securing a good bale. A single ram extrusion auto tie also needs to operate more at 100-120psi range but there’s some finesse needed. By running a load of cardboard before the bottles, the operator then gains something hard to push against and should be able to reach compaction.

Must the bottles go through a perforator machine before baling in order to get a good compaction rate?
Generally, no. Most current Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) do not operate a perforation machine to puncture the bottles before baling. Heavy duty horizontal balers take care of the job using plenty of pressure.

Will the caps shoot off during baling?
APR strongly suggests all baler safety equipment such as guards be left untampered, unmodified, and unchanged to prevent incidents and accidents. Rupturing bottles in a baler can create projectiles and baler manufacturers have included the guards for worker protection.

Are there things I can do to design my products to make them more recyclable?
Yes. The APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability is the most comprehensive design resource outlining the plastics recycling industry’s recommendations in the marketplace today with the ultimate goal of all plastic packaging to be compatible with the plastics recycling infrastructure. Size and shape are critical parameters in MRF sorting, and this must be considered in designing packages for recycling. Items smaller than three inches in all dimensions are non-recyclable per APR. Most caps are smaller than three inches. If they are not replaced on bottles, they will not be recycled, and end up in the landfill.

Are metal caps really a problem?
Yes. Steel caps may damage machinery and aluminum caps may slow down production. They may cause contamination issues in the float/sink process, as they sink with PET material. Metal caps may also cause plastic bottles and containers to be separated from the plastics stream in the eddy current (magnetic) step of the sortation process at the MRF.

My MRF says that they do not accept caps on plastic containers. What should I do?
Please let them know that APR supports caps and closures to remain on containers before being placed in a recycling cart or bin. We understand that for some MRF’s accepting caps on is readily done and for some it is a challenge. Our message is that the market accepts bales for which the caps and closures are left on the bottles, but the equipment and policies at the local level may take time to adapt. Please feel free to share this information or direct your MRF officials to: www.plasticsrecycling.org.

Petrol Quality in Australia is at least 13 years behind Europe!

Australia the third world country

Australia has continued it’s backward slide by delaying the move to higher quality petrol until at least 2027. The current levels of sulphur in petrol in Australia was banned in 2009 in Europe.

  • 91 RON regular unleaded – 150ppm (unchanged since 1/1/2005)
  • 95 RON premium unleaded – 50ppm (unchanged since 1/1/2008)
  • 98 RON premium unleaded – 50ppm (unchanged since 1/1/2008)

The petroleum industry claimed that it needed eight years to upgrade the four remaining refineries in Australia at a cost of $979 million or it would have to shut them down. The refineries are located;

  • Brisbane – Caltex
  • Geelong – Viva/Shell
  • Melbourne – Mobile
  • Perth – BP

The delay in moving to low sulphur petrol means increased costs in buying vehicles in Australia as engines need re-calibration and some variants of engine are not available at all due to the costs which run into millions of dollars.

Is Australia really a third world country?

With regards to petrol quality the answer is a resounding yes.

Out of the 36 countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Australia has the worst petrol quality.

Out of 100 countries Australia at the start of 2018 was ranked number 73 after falling three places from the previous year. A number of other countries have since transitioned to lower sulphur so Australia is likely down between 80 and 90 currently.

Maximum Gasoline Sulfur Limits (2018)
More countries are changing over to 50ppm or lower by 2020 so this will leave Australia near the bottom of the top 100. It is likely within a few years that Australia will out of the top 100 list.
Australia is one of the few countries that do not have petrol that matches emission standards!

Lagging behind Europe

Europe adopted new fuel standards way and as usual Australia lagged so far behind, it is likely that with a staged introduction planned in 2027 for the new fuels that we will not be totally on 10ppm fuel until sometime in the 2030’s especially if we allow the fuel companies who rake in huge profits to dictate the change. In fact Europe already has Euro 6.2 and Australia is till thinking about Euro 6 for 2027 onwards.

  • Euro 2 | Europe 1996 | Australia 2003-2004* (8 years behind)
  • Euro 3 | Europe 1996 | Australia 2005-2006* (10 years behind)
  • Euro 4 | Europe 2000 | Australia 2008-2010* (10 years behind)
  • Euro 5 | Europe 2009 | Australia 2013-2016* (7 years behind)
  • Euro 6 | Europe 2014 | Australia 2027+ (13+ years behind)

*European year applies to all vehicles whereas Australia applies the first year to new vehicle models and the second year to all vehicles sold.

Source | Emission Requirements for new petrol passenger cars in Australia and European Emission Standards.

Volkswagen pushing for higher fuel standards and emissions

Volkswagen Australia managing director, Michael Bartsch, has called for Australia’s fuel standards and emissions testing to be dragged into line with the latest European rules, lest we become a “dumping ground” for old engine technology.

Speaking at a briefing in Sydney this week, the executive said our current fuel standards put Australia at risk of becoming a “second-tier” market, and argued the transition to higher-quality, lower-sulphur fuel was as important as the switch from leaded to unleaded petrol.

“We’re becoming outsiders,” Bartsch (pictured below) told journalists. “It won’t be long before vehicles are going to have to be produced purely for these really poor sulphur content countries,” he said, speaking of Australia’s fuel standards.

At the moment, local regulations allow 50 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur in premium unleaded, and 150ppm in regular unleaded petrol. European rules allow a maximum of 10ppm. We’re ranked 70th in the world for fuel quality, largely due to this sulphur content.

Bartsch didn’t pull any punches when addressing this point of view, suggesting the AAA and fuel companies are misleading the public on the issue.

“The fuel companies are pulling wool over people’s eyes, the AAA is pulling wool over people’s eyes as to what the real-world environment is,” he told assembled press.

“We’ll start seeing a lot of options drop off in terms of powertrains and engines that we can get,” he later argued, prompted about the timeline laid out by the AAA.

“What you’ll start seeing is that we’ll start getting lower common denominator products and… we’ll start paying more for the cars, because they’ll start doing special testing and special engine runs, and keeping old model lines alive, and putting old engines down the production line to keep a few markets going,” Bartsch explained.

“How long do you think that’s sustainable for a country that only sells a million cars a year. It’s not sustainable.”

Fuel standards are in the firing line

Volkswagen has said the following which they encouraged their dealers to share with their local member of parliament.

The advent of Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) this year in Europe will, in combination with Australia’s lack of progress in moving toward the Euro 6 emissions regime, impact adversely on car buyers.

As of next year, Australians will no longer be able to access many of the world’s best practice and most efficient cars.

Cars that are fitted with a petrol particulate filter cannot run on Australia’s fuel which has an exceedingly high sulphur content – some 50 parts per million [PULP] as opposed to the European standard of less than 10, the letter continues.

The new Volkswagen 1.4 litre petrol engine cannot be introduced to Australia as it has a petrol particulate filter that requires fuel of 10ppm or lower.

Petrol Particulate Filter

Petrol engined cars with petrol particulate filters required for new European emission controls will not be able to fitted to Australian delivered models because of our third world fuel quality standards.

Whilst they can run in the short term on 50ppm 95 and 98 RON fuel they will be destroyed after one tank of 150ppm 91 RON.

Porsche has joined other Volkswagen Group cars by not bringing petrol particulate filters to Australia because of the poor quality of fuel.

“The majority of petrol sold in Australia is imported, so there is no reason why European standard petrol could not be imported at a negligible costs at the bowser. Surely better fuel quality is in everyone’s interest.”

Volkswagen Group spokesman, Paul Pottinger

Why does it matter?

The most popular fuel in Australia is 91 RON which has 150ppm sulphur which is amongst the dirtiest fuel in the world, this creates sulphur dioxide which creates breathing problems and is the cause of acid rain. High levels of sulphur also increase wear on the engine and don’t burn as efficiently as low sulphur fuels meaning you get less mileage from each tank of fuel costing you more.

Another issue is that this limits the choice of vehicles on the market as some engines are not suitable or require extensive work which lowers their performance.

Further Reading

Stricter Fuel Standards set to bring cleaner cars to Aussie roads

Australia’s Petrol is one of the dirtiest in the world

Australia a dumping ground for old engines