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.

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.

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.

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.

NSW Government lies about Container Deposit Scheme benefits and the costs

The Return and Earn Scheme

The NSW Government told the suckers people of NSW that cans and bottles make up 43% of all litter and their new Container Deposit Scheme will reduce this by 25%. Impressive numbers as this would be a nearly 11% reduction in litter. They would call this scheme “Return and Earn” when it’s really “Return and get your deposit back”, clearly they don’t understand the definition of the word earn and as will be seen below words like integrity.

The NSW Government is serious about reducing litter.
The Premier has committed to reduce the volume of litter in New
South Wales by 40% by 2020.

The Premier of NSW | September 2015

But of course the NSW Government misled the people of NSW and the only way to find out is if you read the Litter prevention strategy for NSW 2017-2020. The only report you will find is a draft report, the final report was due in the first half of 2018 but we’re almost into the second half of 2019 and it still hasn’t been released. Make of that what you will.

Looking at the volume estimate Container Deposit Scheme beverage containers make up 43% of litter.

If we view this as the number of items and Container Deposit Scheme beverage containers make up 9% of litter.

The earlier estimate from the NSW Government was that a drop of 25% would be achieved which would reduce the 9% by volume to 6.75% which is a drop of 2.25% in the total number of items littered.

Looking at the comparison figures for the period 2005 to 2016 there have already been drops each year so why the rush to implement what became a flawed and expensive Container Deposit Scheme.


The document proceeds to talk about South Australia but only mentions the reduction in containers, it does not talk about a substantial increase in bottle lids.

Checking the statistics on containers does show a decrease in South Australia on the number of beverage containers in the CSIRO Marine Debris Project Final Report Aug 2014.

It’s not all roses in South Australia however because Australian container recyclers refuse to take bottle lids and you have to remove them before you return them. The rest of the world that have container refund schemes take the lids including the machines that crush them in the store so they don’t need to be removed. The flaw in Australia’s recycling is that in South Australia a substantial number of the lids are thrown away and end up on the beaches, in the water, parks and everywhere litter is found. The logical solution to this would be to require the recycling facilities to take the full complete bottle with lid and recycle or dispose of the plastic lid.

In Queensland this is also a safety issue because apparently when being crushed the pressure created can cause the lid to fly off and injure or kill.

The Strategy document claims that the cost of collecting litter in 2016 for councils, public and private land managers and community groups is $180 million per year with claimed savings from a Container Refund Scheme of $45 million a year.

The Real Figures

The NSW Government figures which will frankly be no doubt over-inflated show a reduction in litter of 2.25% however this comes at a cost, a huge cost that all beverage consumers are paying.

In the first three months of the scheme from December 2017 to February 2018 the scheme took in $110 million in deposits and paid out $8.3 million leaving the bottlers with a profit of $101.7 million or $406.8 million for the year.

As is usual in Australia the NSW Government did not want any responsibility for managing the scheme so allowed the five largest beverage companies to set up the Exchange for Change which is used to run and manage the NSW Container Deposit Scheme. This didn’t stop them for hiring over 18 staff to “oversee” the scheme.

Asahi, Carlton United Breweries, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coopers and Lion eagerly setup this new scheme as the NSW Government made no allowances for deposits that are not claimed so these are returned as profit from the scheme to the beverage companies. When does the idiocracy stop? Are the village idiots given priority in government positions?

December 2017 to March 2018 saw 1.556 billion eligible containers were sold in NSW but only 204 million were returned which is 13.1%. Assuming this rate remains the same this is an additional cost to consumers of $406.8 million per year. One of the benefits of this Container Refund Scheme was to reduce the cost for councils in collecting litter but with such a low rate of returns this is unlikely to occur in any meaningful way and the beverage manufacturers are profiting in an obscene manner when these funds would cover the councils costs of litter collection nearly three times.

According to the Return and Earn Media Release each container has between 11.13c and 14.07c added to it but this is based on a much higher recovery percentage so not only is their profit in making it hard for consumers to claim but also in the overstated costs per container. This is a win-win for the companies who setup the scheme and who keep all the excess funds.

Updated figures for December 2017 to January 2019 (14 months but the ABC call it 15 months!?!?!?).

5.446 billion eligible containers sold in this period and 1.3 billion returned has increased the rate of the return to 23% which is lower then it was when they were collected in the roadside recycling bins. However Government figures have it at 54%, are we being lied to again?

Lies, Lies and more Lies

The NSW Environmental Protection Agency’s business case for the setup of a Container Deposit Scheme stated that eligible containers were recycled at a rate of 53%. Other government documents put it at 50% and the following document from the NSW Government puts it at up to 60% and note that they mention that hoarding may occur in the leadup to the Container Deposit Scheme.

We have assumed that the Return and Earn scheme must be prepared to fund a potentially high total recovery rate in the initial months, with NSW kerbside recycling already recovering
as much as 60% of all supplied containers based on available statistics, and the potential for container hoarding prior to December 2017.

NSW Government Return and Earn Scheme Costs | August 2017

The NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton claimed that container recycling had jumped 69% in the twelve months since the scheme began from 32% to 54%.

Which is true?

Looking at key points in the Ministers media release and it looks like the Container Deposit Scheme has been an outstanding success despite the massive cost but has it?

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said Return and Earn has been an outstanding success and changed the way people dispose of empty drink containers.

Eligible drink containers collected and recycled: up by 69 per cent
Eligible drink container litter volume: down 44 per cent
NSW total litter volume: down 48 per cent since 2013

“More than half the drink containers in the marketplace (54 per cent) are now being recovered, compared with the 32 per cent that was being collected in yellow bins before Return and Earn kicked in.

“While litter volume has pleasingly dropped across all litter categories, the largest reduction is from eligible drink containers which now represent an all-time low of 37 per cent of the NSW litter volume stream,” Ms Upton said.

“This means the Premier’s target of a reducing litter in NSW by 40 per cent cut by 2020 is going to be well and truly met – and then some.

“This shows the impact and undeniable success of Return and Earn on reducing litter across the state.

Return and Earn: A billion reasons to celebrate | 2nd of December 2018

Where does the 32% figure come from when NSW Environmental Protection Agency’s figure was 53% and the schemes own figures are up to 60%?

The figure was based on the EPA looking at a cross selection of recycling bins in 29 council areas across the state with 100 households from each council area selected for examination. Households were notified beforehand and were able to opt out. So not only is this not a proper audit of the bins as you have notified residents and given them an opt out right but this audit was performed TWO months AFTER the scheme started so people were stockpiling them to return them so the results are worthless..

So the NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton is using a figure that was collected in a manner that is stupid beyond all comprehension and ignoring all the previous figures because they show that this scheme has achieved nothing! When are politicians going to be held accountable for lying to and misleading citizens to cover up the fact that they have wasted BILLIONS of taxpayer money on a scheme that does nothing!

Ms Upton said that, as a result of Return and Earn, eligible drink container litter volume has dropped by 44 per cent and now represents an all-time low of 37 per cent of the NSW litter volume stream.

Return and Earn breaks records | 18th of January 2018

This is outright deception by the Minister Gabrielle Upton. The recycling rate has increased from 53% to 54% so how it is possible for the litter volume to drop by 7%?

At best the NSW Container Deposit Scheme has increased recycling by 1% and at worst they have decreased by 6%. The true figure is probably somewhere in between so the billions of dollars in setting up the scheme and lost productivity have all be for nothing.

Minister Gabrielle Upton unable to do the maths!

Is it asking too much for a minister earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, a generous pension and a large team of staff to actually know their portfolio?

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton has dodged questions from Ben Fordham over a crucial Return and Earn detail.

Ms Upton insists the container deposit scheme is now “steady” and going “real places” but can’t give a figure on how many containers are going through the vending machines as a percentage of how many containers are sold.

“There are almost 640 million drink containers through the system since it began,” the Minister says.

Ben, “Does that work out to be 10 per cent of the total number of containers that are sold? Or 25 per cent or 50 per cent?”

Minister Upton, “Look, it is a percentage of the drink containers that are sold. Not every drink container, Ben, is going to be put through the system. People are making a choice.”

Ben, “But what is it? 50 per cent? Do you know what it is?”

Despite not being able to answer the question, Ms Upton says the figure wouldn’t determine “whether this scheme is a success”.

“There are many millions of drinks that are eligible to be returned, sold every day,” she says.

“People make choices about whether they will claim back a deposit.

“The strong numbers, just under 640 million drink containers, indicates that lots and lots of people every day are returning it and participating in the scheme.”

Ben has since crunched the numbers, and has the figures.

“The return rate is 27 per cent,” he says. “So out of 100 containers sold, 27 are handed in on average.

“So if 640 million have been handed in in total, the total number of containers sold since December 1, would be approximately 2.3 billion.”

‘Do you know what it is?’ | 30th of August 2018

What other costs are there for the NSW Container Deposit Scheme?

The NEW environmental protection agency requires 18.5 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) staff to oversee the Container Deposit Scheme. The cost of these staff? $2.8 million per year.

NSW Container Deposit Scheme
EPA’s fees for monitoring, compliance and approving containers
24 September 2018

Return and Earn Depots

I’m not going to go into these for NSW, the fact is that there are too few places to return and they don’t have many Reverse Vending Machines (RVM). The system is poorly implemented like the Queensland system and billions of dollars have been wasted on schemes that just make no sense in anyway.

It would have been cheaper, had minimal impact on the environment, had a very high container return rate and been a lot quicker to implement to have Reverse Vending Machines fitted to most supermarkets. This way the consumer can return the containers when they do their shopping next, no need for special trips, no environmental issues with all the travel, no time wasted as it becomes part of your grocery shopping, no need to register to multiple services nor have to work out how it works at another deport. All you do is insert your containers and when you are done you receive a voucher for the supermarket which you can also receive cash for.

The Queensland Container Refund Scheme continues to worsen and what is the cost to the environment?

The Container Refund Schemes (called a different name in every state of course) in Australia are so utterly absurd. I’ve written about the Queensland system and shown that a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) would have been a fraction of the price and meant that people can return their empty containers when they do their shopping.

We already knew from South Australian experience that depots experiences long queues of cars lined up idling for long periods of time and your average car can hold maybe 200 to 500 containers depending on how many bottles you have and this gives you $20 to $50 but factor in your costs of getting to the deport in time and wear and tear and how much are you really getting back and what cost to the environment are all these trips?

Reed Recycling in Townsville

What a great way to spend the weekend, sitting in your car and sucking on the fumes of the car in front whilst waiting to get a return on a deposit that may end up costing you money to get back.

Reed Recycling in Townsville

And when you do get to the front of the line you get to unload your car, and if you left the bottle caps on to stop them leaking you have to remove them before you hand them over for counting. And don’t crush or otherwise damage the containers or they won’t be accepted if they can’t see the barcode area.

Reed Recycling in Townsville

Job creation in Queensland at work. Instead of using machines that can process these at the point of sale and take care of all the work we get humans to double, triple and quadruple handle the containers.

Container drop off in Bowen

Drop your containers off at some locations but of course they are often full so some people put their labels on your bags! And don’t forget that some companies will keep all your containers if you don’t have the exact number that they specify in the bag. Why would you want to return your containers when you go shopping, it’s much more interesting going on a road trip and burning your fuel.

Staff and contractors have been ripped off by a Charters Towers depot that has since done a runner. Payments being delayed for six or more weeks are still common.

COEX spokesperson Adam Nicholson would not discuss specifics while investigations were ongoing, but said their priority was ensuring customers were not left out of pocket.

“We have seen a massive response, far more than we or anyone else predicted,” he said.

“I think we are experiencing twice the number or volume of containers as seen in New South Wales, so we’ve really load-tested our scheme since day one.

“The positive is that we know where our areas for improvement, are and we’re working really hard behind the scenes.”

COEX spokesperson Adam Nicholson

So Queensland has experienced twice the number or volume of containers as seen in New South Wales? That doesn’t sound correct but surely COEX wouldn’t mislead us?

Between the 1st of November 2018 and I assume the 21st of January 2019 (going by the date on the article) COEX has processed 150 million containers. That is roughly 11 weeks so 13.6 million containers per week.

The NSW system handled 1.3 billion over 14 months so 61 weeks which is 21 million containers a week.

So COEX has been caught misleading the public with false statistics, if I can look them up surely COEX can. Is it asking too much for Government sponsored organisations to actually know the industry they are working in?

Container deposit scheme demand creates mountain of cans at recycling depot

The Next Generation of Queensland drivers licence is going to be digital but at what cost?

The Queensland Government not content with their last attempt at a smart drivers licence that will cost us a BILLION dollars by 2025 to 2030 is now creating another solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s 2003 all over again as the bullshit starts to fly from the mouths of ministers. One of the big selling points of the “Smart Licence” that started in 2003 was the ability to control what information people could see but in the end we received a $1,000,000,000 version of the old drivers license on a new piece of plastic!

The new story of the digital drivers license starts in 2018 after yet another minister has read too much about blockchain and these new fangled digital wallets.

Queensland driver licences next in line for digital evolution

24th of October 2018 | Media Statements

Queenslanders use their driver licence to rent a house, open a bank account, book Airbnb, or check-in to a hotel. A digital driver licence will allow people to do all of this via their mobile device.

We’re not phasing out physical licences but we think people should be given the choice to have a digital option, if that’s their preference

Unlike a physical driver licence, the digital wallet gives you control about how much information you allow a third party to see, copy and retain.

A digital wallet can be more secure than a physical licence as security features include the ability to verify a digital wallet by scanning a QR code or similar.

A pilot for the digital wallet could be ready in second half of 2019.

There will also be the opportunity to include other services in the future, including allowing customers to change their address, renew their licence and pay their registration fees through the digital wallet.

This initiative aligns with Palaszczuk Government’s priority to deliver an easy to use and accessible digital service that meets the needs of the community.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey | 24th of October 2018

Mr Bailey said a procurement process to engage a vendor to develop a digital wallet and supporting platforms would start soon, with an industry briefing event being held on 26 October.

Great so just like the previous “smart” drivers licence project that was an utter failure because it was driven by the vendors we are going down the same path again. Why not work with the other states on this and come up with a system that works across all states and territories instead of going solo? Why not look at what they do overseas? And more to the point why not sort out all the issues with the current physical drivers licence and replace it with one that is much cheaper and uses current technology?


Planning for the future – Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms

Since 1910 when paper driver licences were first introduced, Queenslanders have been using it for more than just driving. Driver licences are now used for a wide range of transactions, from renting a house, to purchasing medication, applying for a mortgage and booking a hotel. Businesses have made licences the dominant form of identity.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads are in the early stages of developing a convenient, safer, and smarter way for you to store your Queensland Government identification cards, like a driver licence or proof of age card, on a mobile device, instead of carrying a physical one.

The Digital Wallet provides a range of benefits:

  • Security—it’s more secure than a physical product and will include extra security features to ensure your data is protected against cybercrimes and theft. For example, if you lose your phone anyone finding it will have to by-pass your device security (if enabled) then the security in the digital wallet.
  • Control—You will be able to control what information you share with others. For example if you need to prove your age, the wallet will allow the person checking to see your photo and confirm your age, but not see your name or where you live.
  • Convenience—you will be able to update your details immediately, at any time of the day, and receive notifications when your licence is due.
  • Real time information—any changes to your licence will be immediately updated in the wallet.

What’s next
We’ve started the procurement process to engage vendor partners to develop the Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms, with a pilot program to commence late 2019. The pilot will be developed in consultation with customers, police and other key stakeholders to ensure key features are accessible and are designed to meet the needs of the community. Following feedback from the pilot, the wallet will be implemented across the state. Additional features may be added in the future as customers’ and stakeholders’ needs arise.

About the program
The Customer Orientated Registration and Licencing program has been established to modernise Queensland’s registration and licensing system. The program aims to deliver digital and business solutions that simplify and improve the way our customers interact with us.

The program will focus on how to re-think service design from a human-centred approach, simplify processes, regulatory, legislative and policy drivers, and build the next generation of digital platforms that enable those outcomes, in partnership with our customers.

We’re establishing a Digital Wallet, and Enabling Platforms that will allow Queenslanders to have their driver licences and other Queensland Government issued products available digitally on their mobile devices should they choose to do so.

Program vision
The Department’s vision is “A single integrated transport network accessible to everyone”.

We have several key goals that form the core to enabling the Department’s vision:

  • A single view of our customer, for our customers
  • Simplify our process and policy/legislative drivers to make the customer experience better and our systems simpler
  • Connect our business, our partners and our customers
  • Exit our legacy platforms in a practical, sustainable way that adds value to our business
  • All of this is underwritten by the principles of faster, cheaper, better, safer outcomes of the program. The Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms are the first steps to achieving these goals.

Partnering with industry
We are partnering with industry to develop a Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms. The aim of this procurement activity is to engage vendor/s or a consortia to develop 2 solutions:

Digital Wallet
An application on a mobile device that can store credentials such as licences in a secure fashion. These credentials can be managed by the owner and provide access as well as pay for services and other products.

Enabling Platforms
A group of technologies that are used as a foundation platform to develop other applications, processes or technologies.

The Digital Wallet will need new foundation technology that will allow it to link credentials to products and services within our department. Once the pilot is complete, this Enabling Platforms can be used and leveraged by other services across the government sector as well as allow the department to transition its legacy platforms to support new ways of working.

For more information about the procurement of the Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms opportunity, please email the ICT Procurement team.

Original page here

Will digital licences be available in QLD?

24th of October 2018 | RACQ

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said this kind of technology would be an added convenience for drivers.

“Many of us are already cashless and using smartphones to pay for our goods and do our banking so this is clearly the next step,” Mr Spalding said.

“If we can get the security right – as we have with internet banking, this will really make it easier for many drivers who don’t want to carry so many cards around.

How is it an added convenience? It’s all very well to say these things but I cannot see how this is an added convenience. Cashless? How many people are really cashless, yet another buzzword to throw around.

And security for internet banking is clearly not “right” as it still has major flaws that need to be addressed. RACQ has raised none of the security issues but just fully supported this.

If you want to carry around less cards maybe the Queensland Government could deliver on all the promises it made with the previous driver licence project that the RACQ supported despite it being a total failure at a huge cost the motorists that RACQ claims to represent.

RACQ could spend some time looking at other countries and how they managed drivers licences and other ID along with the risks before supporting the Queensland Government.

Here are some questions you could ask and get answers to for the Motorists you “claim” to represent.

Questions that haven’t be asked by the media, the RACQ or anyone else regarding the “digital” driver licence

  • What happens if your mobile has a flat battery?
  • How can emergency services access the digital card if they can’t unlock you phone at the scene of an accident?
  • What happens if you travel overseas or to another state where they don’t recognise your “digital” drivers licence?
  • How much is the “digital” drivers licence going to cost?
  • What happens if your “digital” licence is compromised and used to hire vehicles, tools and trailers? Who is liable for this?
  • How does the person accepting the licence keep a record of it? Now they can scan it, photocopy it or take a photo but what happens with a digital licence?
  • What will be the cost to modify systems for businesses who use licences for ID such are renting a car, house, trailer or tools.
  • What happens if a business refuses to accept the “digital” drivers licence?
  • What happens if your phone is lost and is unlocked?
  • What if you phone is stolen and unlocked?
  • If you get pulled over by the police will they need to take your phone back to their vehicle in an unlocked state and given that this allows the police to look through your phone legally now what legislation is going to be in place to protect drivers?
  • What if the police when looking at your phone at the drivers licence see a message come up that indicated possible criminal activity, are there going to be safeguards in place for all or just some types of crime?
  • What if there is no internet when you need to show your drivers licence?
  • What if the TMR systems are down and you need to show your drivers licence?
  • What role will the company providing this service have in being able to access and alter licence information?
  • Will there be a 24 hour helpline in the event of problems?
  • Will this digital drivers licence be location aware and track your movements?

Other States

Each state has a completely different approach using a different vendor and a different method of implementation along with different features.

South Australia

Total spent on digital drivers licence so far $1.919 million.

(for the app with Appvation)

Dropped their previous app which had 270,000 users called EzyReg.

“Premier Jay Weatherill said physical licences and other passes would remain available for the foreseeable future.”

Digital Pass and Licence

Do you still need a physical card?
While digital passes and licences are now available in South Australia, some organisations and businesses may not be set up to validate your digital pass or licence.

An organisation or business may request that you present your physical licence, so it is recommended that you continue to carry your physical licence with you just in case, especially when you travel interstate or overseas.

New South Wales

Based on blockchain technology. Why? Because they can. $$$$

Total spent on digital drivers licence so far $17.8 million

  • Invested $8.5 million in the 2017-2018 budget towards the rollout of digital drivers licences and the Dubbo trial.
  • $9.3 million in the 2018-2019 budget to rollout across the state by the end of 2019.

If the driver’s phone has a flat battery, cracked screen or other problems that mean that card details cannot be read they will be treated the same as failing to product a physical licence.

Digital Driver Licence

Queenslands “Smart” Drivers Licence and how our Government screwed us with a Billion dollar failure

The story of the drivers licence replacement project that was slated to be a zero cost upgrade but will eventually cost Queensland taxpayers and drivers $1,000,000,000 between 2025 and 2030 started in 2001, announced in 2003 and progressively the costs kept adding and the deployment keep getting pushed out until 2011 when it was finally available with none of the functionality or features promised. How did we end up with the same for such a high cost? Government incompetence.

2003

Queensland driving towards a secure Smart State licence

29th of September 2003 | Media Statements

The first announcement of a new drivers licence requirement is made by Premier Peter Beattie and the Transport Minister Steve Bredhauer.

Apparently according to the Premier Peter Beattie this licence would make the “Smart State” an international leader and keep us all safe from fraud. Meanwhile Estonia became the international leader in smart card licences, didn’t feel the need to announce it and our state government committed fraud to the tune of $1,000,000,000 by extorting their taxpayers excessively for the new smart dumb licence.

The proposed new licence would make the Smart State an international leader in secure smart card licences, and give us an edge in the fight against fraud.

The new licence would have a built-in computer chip to securely store and process information that could be accessed only by a special reader.

“It would securely store personal details, plus a photo and signature, and would have the capacity to store emergency contact information.

Premier Peter Beattie | 29th of September 2003

One of the claims was that this would cost around $60 million if we replaced existing systems in the Transport Department offices however if they enter into a public private partnership the system may cost us the same as the current system.

Depending on the private sector’s interest in a public private partnership, the new system may involve no cost to Queensland taxpayers.

Transport Minister Steve Bredhauer | 30th of September 2003

The new cards would offer us the follow advantages

  • Reduce identity fraud
  • Allow you to keep emergency contact details on the card (all police cars would be fitted out with readers)
  • Remove the need for address on the licence (all businesses that need the address would have to have card readers to read the address for example at the time video stores, car rentals etc)
  • Allow business to be transacted online with the Transport Department
  • Public transport payment card
  • Used for vending machine and small transactions in stores

Any attempt to crack the ‘keys’ of this type of smart card technology would be extremely expensive. A would-be hacker would need to invest in several millions of dollars in technology just to crack one card, and this could not be achieved without destruction of the particular card itself.

Queensland Government | 29th of September 2003 | Security Safeguards attachment to press release

In the consultation paper that was released in 2003 and which is no longer available online the following features were promoted.

Licence holders would be able to check their own licensing information stored on the smartcard using a self serve terminal or if they have a reader attached to their home computer.

If licensing information such as address and expiry date were to be stored on the chip, in the future, licence holders would be able to give permission (for example, by using their own PIN {Personal Identification Number}) for other organisations such as car hire companies to access it.

Queensland Police Service could use readers containing special access software to access driver licensing and emergency contact information.

Queensland Government Consultation Paper for Smart Licence | 2003

The quotes from the consultation paper are available on the submission made by the EFA in response to the Queensland Smart Card Driver Licence Proposal. I’m not going to duplicate they work that they have done as their submission covers the reasons why the smart card on the new licence is not secure and what the Queensland Government promised was never going to be delivered.

There was no requirement for a smart card to be used, all they needed was a more secure way of creating the cards instead of using laminated cards that were being stolen from Transport Department offices by thieves jumping the counter, taking a whole tray of cards and laminate and walking out. Of course we could have secured the card making equipment but this would have been too logical. These devices were available in 2003 and are much more common now, a small printer creates the cards and prints them on the spot but I digress as this is the story of the billion dollar smart card that has no smarts!

2004

Market Sounding for New Drivers Licence

20th of May 2004 | Media Statements

The Minister for Transport & Main Roads, The Honourable Paul Lucas is sounding out the market for new ways to make money with the new drivers licence and announced three weeks submission period from businesses wanting to use outdated technology.

The new licence could offer a range of potential features, including storing emergency contact details on an electronic chip on the licence, or using the chip to let licence holders carry out secure online transactions with government agencies.

The chip may also let licence holders receive credit card-linked loyalty or reward points for buying low-cost goods and services. These may include buying public transport or parking tickets, or goods from vending machines by using money stored on the smartcard.

But these are ideas only – this market sounding is all about hearing from the private sector what it thinks are potential commercial applications for the proposed licence.

Mr Lucas said the new smartcard licence provided a chance for the Smart State to be a leader in using innovative technology for a new generation of driver licensing.

I expect many Queenslanders will find the use of optional extras such as credit cards and cash cards to the smartcard licence very convenient, but that will be entirely a matter for them, no ifs and no buts

The market sounding will help Queensland Transport prepare the final business case by identifying private sector interest in providing commercial services on the driver licence proposal.

An initial market sounding study, conducted in 2001 prior to this licence proposal, found it was both a feasible and manageable project.

This second round will confirm the feasibility of our approach to this project’s development, as well as its overall viability.

Minister for Transport & Main Roads, The Honourable Paul Lucas | 20th of May 2004

2005

A change in direction

The Smart Cards will no longer be able to used for shopping and vending machines! But Premier Peter Beattie sold this as one of the major features.

Smartcard licences to be issued to Queensland drivers will not be multifunction transaction cards. The card would be confined to its main purpose of licensing drivers.

Transport Minister Paul Lucas | January 2005

Smart Licence on the Cards

29th of December 2005 | Media Statement

The way driver’s licences are currently made and the way information is stored needs to be brought into the new digital age.

Queensland is the Smart State, and we will have a smarter licensing product in place in 2008.

Licence holders will be able to opt to have some of their personal information, such as their address, moved from the display panel and put instead on the microchip, which the old cards don’t allow.

Owners of the new licence will set a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) to the card to help protect their privacy.

Premier & Treasurer, The Honourable Peter Beattie | 29th of December 2005

Clearly not that smart Peter given that it was 2011 before the cards were being rolled out at a cost many times higher that delivers none of the benefits you promised.

2006

The next announcement from the Queensland Government came on the 10th of August 2006 and they had dropped the idea to continue to produce the cards themselves and have gone straight to letting the private sector develop a solution that no doubt will cost us a fortune.

It’s a quantum leap in the security and integrity of licence information

They’ll be publicly released next week. The tender will invite expressions of interest from the private sector for planning, design, integration, financing, delivery, management and maintenance of the drivers licence.

The proposal will be developed under Public Private Partnerships guidelines in accordance with State Government policies.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Paul Lucas | 10th of August 2006

2007

2008

The Shortlist

18th of January 2008 | Media Statement

Four years after being announced the Queensland Government finally announced on the 18th of January 2007 a shortlist of consortia. The companies involved would develop proposals for selection later in 2007 with a pilot deployment in 2008 and a full deployment in 2009.
(this was delayed by another two years before this occurred)

The new licence will feature an embedded microchip, and this new technology will feature advanced cryptography, making the licence extremely difficult to inappropriately access or alter.

This is about getting the right people to develop the most secure licence in Australia, and achieving value for money

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Paul Lucas | 18th of January 2007
  • EDS, consisting of Placard, Viisage, Sagem Australasia, Grabba International, ActivIdentity Australia and Sun Microsystems Australia;
  • Fujitsu Australia, consisting of Giesecke and Devrient Australasia;
  • Australia Post, consisting of Datacard South Pacific, Oberthur Card Systems Australia, Ingenico International (Pacific) and ActivIdentity Australia; and
  • Leigh Mardon, consisting of LM Gemplus, Gemalto, Grabba International and Hewlett Packard Australia.

QLD smart licence to go national

13th of June 2008 | Computerworld

Expectations that Queensland’s emerging smart card driver licence will become a national model could see card readers in every Australian business, home, club and local video shop.

The licence, which uses facial recognition, has been under development by Queensland Transport for three years, and aims to reduce fraud, simplify card issuing and cut red tape.

Other states in Australia are developing similar smart-card licensing, though none are as advanced as the New Queensland Driver Licence (NQDL) project.

Queensland Transport land transport and safety executive director Judy Oswin said the card will be the first in Australia to include facial recognition and will remove address details from the face of the licence.

It is a huge change that people are going to have to get used to.

There is an awful amount of information that is relied upon on the face of the driver licence.

Queensland Transport land transport and safety executive director Judy Oswin

Registered clubs, car hire companies and other government agencies including Australia Post will have access to user data embedded in the licence and stored in government databases for validation of identity, address, and whether the person is allowed to drive.

Such validation will require users to swipe their licence in a smart card reader and enter a pin number to allow the organisation to obtain basic licence details and conditions.

Oswin said other ancillary uses, such as automatic transfer of vehicle registration, will be integrated into the chip as the project develops.

“We need to focus on delivering the project but we are open to incorporating [other uses],” she said.

It will be the first time that images and written signatures are stored in a central repository for the Queensland drivers licence.

The NQDL project is pioneering smart card technology in the country, and has written components of the 24727 ISO standard which is yet to be completed.

Austroads, the association of Australian and New Zealand road transport and traffic authorities, is expected to promote the same standards used by the NQDL to ensure interoperability between states.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates used in the Queensland licence are expected to be adopted by all states.

Oswin said police will be able to use the same smart card readers to check licence conditions and confirm identity if uniformed PKI certificates are used.

Lax interoperability between state licencing will damage everything from fraud prevention, to law enforcement and future smart card initiatives.

Users will be able to update personal information over the Internet, and possibly in the future through a series of public smart card reader terminals.

Data on the smart card will be updated whenever it is placed in a reader, and users will be supplied with record of access.

The project began the “implementation phase” at the start of last year, and its expected to commence rolling out from late 2009.

New Drivers Licence a Step Closer

13th of November 2008 | Media Statement

The Transport Minister John Mickel on the claimed to have introduced legislation to Parliament for the new drivers licence.

We are getting on with the job and advancing our Towards Q2 strategy – the new licence will be smart and secure.

Fake driver licences can be used to commit a wide range of crimes, such as money laundering, creating false identities and identity theft

…motorist’s address will not be shown. Instead it will be stored electronically on the smart chip.

This new feature is aimed at personal safety and protection of property .

Think of it this way – does your ATM card show your address ? Your credit card ? Your Medicare card ?

No – none of these display your home address. From now on, if a person has lost or had their handbag or wallet stolen, the chance of the driver’s licence being used to break into their house is significantly decreased.

Transport Minister John Micke | 13th of November 2008

These are nothing but outright false statements, they knew about the issues of taking the address off the drivers licence but they continue to put this forward as one of the major selling points knowing that it would never occur and why compare a credit card or ATM card to a drivers licence, they are not even remotely the same and only an idiot would make these comparisions.

Next they listed three key features, none of which were implemented. This was under 2 years out from full deployment and and 5 years from when they were told that what they wanted to to do with the card was not possible.

  • Digital photographs will be able to be accessed by authorised officers for licensing transactions such as licence issue and renewal and licence-related enforcement. Police access to digital photographs outside of transport-related enforcement and licensing will require a judicial order.
  • Queensland Police and transport inspectors will have handheld smartcard readers to access the information stored on the chip.
  • A cardholder may also provide access to third parties by inserting the licence into a smartcard reader, and entering their PIN to authorise information to be read from the chip, such as their address.

2009

2009/2010 Licence Costs

  • Five years | $73.30

Unisys scores five-year QLD digital drivers’ licence deal

23rd of April 2009 | ITnews

Queensland Transport will progressively replace three million laminated drivers’ licences with smartcards that use facial recognition technology supplied by Unisys.

The Department said today it has awarded a five-year contract to Unisys Australia, which will act as prime contractor and primary implementation partner for facial image capture, facial image recognition, and case management aspects of the project.

The smartcard licences will be introduced in a rolling program as existing laminated licences expire and are renewed.

The process is expected to take approximately five years.

“We have used the laminated licence design in Queensland for over 20 years,” said Judy Oswin, Department of Land, Transport and Safety executive director.

“The new digital licence will deliver a more secure form of driver licence documentation for Queenslanders as it is harder to forge or alter.

“As a result it will help reduce the risk of identity theft to Queensland licence holders and give them greater confidence that their personal licence information is being kept secure.”

The Unisys solution includes approximately 370 purpose-built image capture devices to take biometric facial images that are subsequently embedded into the smartcard chip.

The front counter devices will be used at most Queensland Transport customer service centres, some Queensland Government Agent Program (QGAP) offices and police stations in rural and remote areas.

Unisys said it will train Queensland Transport staff in facial image capture operation to ensure high quality, secure and consistent image capture in line with ISO standards.

Unisys will also provide Cognitec facial image recognition software to match the biometric facial image against existing images in the driver licence database, “a critical component to identify if individuals hold multiple cards in different names, or attempt to obtain cards using forged or stolen identity documents.”

Unisys partner Daon will provide biometric enrolment technology and biometric middleware software.

Where a discrepancy needs further investigation, the Unisys identification and credentialing framework LEIDA (Library of eID Artefacts software) will act as a backbone case management system to connect all the elements of the Queensland Transport solution together.

For instance, where an applicant’s photo matches a photo under a different name in the system it will trigger an alert, provide an immediate side-by-side comparison, and track ongoing case management if further investigation is required.

Queensland Transport also announced that Leigh Mardon Australia would design the customer interface devices to provide for the capture of a cardholder’s signature image, PIN and other secure information.

QLD to get smart licences next year

23rd of April 2009 | Computerworld

Queensland Transport has inked a five-year deal with Unisys to design and build a facial recognition and biometric matching platform for the state’s smartcard drivers’ licence.

Unisys would not reveal the value of the deal.

Some three million laminated drivers’ licence will be gradually replaced from mid-next year with the smartcards, which will also provide access to multiple government services.

Registered clubs, car hire companies and other government agencies including Australia Post will have access to user data embedded in the licence and stored in government databases for validation of identity, address, and whether the person is allowed to drive. The cards will also provide for the automatic transfer of vehicle registration

Unisys will design some 370 image capture devices to be used in QLD Transport customer service centres, police stations and other government agencies. It will also be responsible for cross-checking new photographs with database records to detect fraud using biometric software.

QLD Transport land and safety director Judy Oswin said the smartcards will reduce the level fraud plaguing the existing laminated drivers licence.

“We have used the laminated licence design in QLD for over 20 years. The new digital licence will deliver a more secure form of driver licence documentation for Queenslanders as it is harder to forge or alter,” Oswin said in a statement.

“As a result it will help reduce the risk of identity theft to QLD licence holders and give them greater confidence that their personal licence information is being kept secure.

“It will also enable QLD Transport to deliver services in a more convenient manner as licence holders will be able to use a card reader or the [government] Web site to view, update and transact on their licence and registration themselves,” she said.

Overarching software , dubbed the Library of eID Artefacts, will monitor all components of the smartcard system to assist fraud investigations and trigger alerts if an individual is holding drivers licences under false names.

Some 10,000 handheld smartcard readers will be deployed across the state, which may include public terminals, homes, businesses, and pubs and clubs.

The licences are expected to cost about $20.

Function-creep is one of the biggest concerns with the New Queensland Drivers’ Licence (NQDL) which has been in planning and development since 2003. The Australian Law Reform Commission said allowing additional agencies to access smartcard data creates significant privacy risks because of the large amount of personal data stored on the cards.

While the QLD card will shun wireless connectivity and require direct contact with readers, a German group last year cracked the popular Mifare Classic Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card by removing its chip and cutting layers away. The encryption algorithm was discovered after researchers stripped away layers and photographed the connections using a microscope.

Unisys deployed a similar smartcard for Malaysia, the MyKad identity card, which the company claims is the world’s first multi-application smartcard.

Gemalto to provide a new Queensland Driver Licence in Australia

7th of July 2009 | Gemalto

Gemalto’s secure Sealys* eDriver Licence solution selected by Department of Transport and Main Roads in partnership with Prime Contractor Placard Pty

Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Brisbane, Australia, July 7, 2009 – Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO), the world leader in digital security announces that it will together with Prime Contractor Placard Pty Ltd provide several million Sealys e​lectronic driving licences to the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, Australia over a five year period with implementation commencing in 2010.

Currently, just over 3 million drivers in Queensland hold laminated driver licences on which personal data is printed. The new cards will significantly improve the security and privacy of personal data by securely storing driver information electronically. This will make the new licence difficult to copy and counterfeit and thereby minimizes the potential for identity theft.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads also plans to use this secure technology for the Adult Proof of Age, Marine Licence Indicator and Industry Authority cards.

The Department’s Land Transport and Safety Executive Director Judy Oswin says moving to this technology will place Queensland at the forefront of delivering sophisticated, and secure technology, bringing together a range of applications that will ensure a state of the art product is delivered.

The smartcard products will be a substantial leap forward in security over our existing laminated product. This is because of the strong level of authentication built into the physical product, as well as the business processes and systems that sit behind it; we will also be able to enhance electronic service delivery options for licence holders.”

“Queensland is pleased to be leading the first smartcard driver licence in Australia and believe that our ground breaking work will provide a sound basis for other states to build on, should they also decide to take on smartcard technology for their licence products,” Ms Oswin said.

Tan Teck Lee, President, Gemalto Asia added, “We are honored to be able to play a part in introducing leading security technology into driver licences issued by The Department of Transport and Main Roads. Gemalto is recognized as a leader in digital solutions boosting operational efficiency and increase security.”

Gemalto’s Sealys eDriver Licence solution is compliant with ISO 24727 standard and the Smartcard Framework and Smartcard Licence Interoperability Protocol (SLIP), which is the standard referenced to by the drivers licence project.

About Gemalto

Gemalto (Euronext NL 0000400653 GTO) is the world leader in digital secur​ity with 2008 annual revenues of €1.68 billion, and 10,000 employees operating out of 75 offices, research and service centers in 40 countries.

Gemalto is at the heart of our evolving digital society. The freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain, and work—anytime, anywhere—has become an integral part of what people want and expect, in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and secure.

Gemalto delivers on the growing demands of billions of people worldwide for mobile connectivity, identity and data protection, credit card safety, health and transportation services, e-government and national security. We do this by supplying to governments, wireless operators, banks and enterprises a wide range of secure personal devices, such as subscriber identification modules (SIM) in mobile phones, smart banking cards, smart card access badges, electronic passports, and USB tokens for online identity protection. To complete the solution we also provide software, systems and services to help our customers achieve their goals.

As the use of Gemalto’s software and secure devices increases with the number of people interacting in the digital and wireless world, the company is poised to thrive over the coming years.

For more information please visit www.gemalto.com.

About Placard

Placard is a wholly owned Australian company, which has been in existence since 1987 as a manufacturer of plastic cards. Since then, Placard has continued to expand, and now provides comprehensive card program management products to over 500 clients and employs in excess of 170 staff. Placard is a well established, quality, total card solutions provider and has a reputation of meeting its commitments to its clients and consistently achieves service levels beyond its clients’ expectations.

Placard is the only secure card manufacturer in Australia and is recognised as the market leader in the country with a substantial card personalisation and fulfilment bureau.

Placard’s secure manufacturing and bureau facilities are both Visa and MasterCard accredited to the highest level including EMV accreditation.

Placard’s core competencies lie in the design, printing, manufacture, personalisation and mailing of ISO Standard secure and non secure plastic cards with Bureau services encompassing the latest Visa and MasterCard EMV standards for embossing, magnetic stripe encoding, indent printing, thermal print flat graphics, high quality Drop on Demand personalisation, laser printing processes and intelligent matching & mailing services.

For more information, please visit www.placard.com.au or call + 61 3 9722 5200 .

Contract awarded for new Driver Licence

July 2009 | A new Drive Licence for Queensland, Australia

In July 2009, Gemalto announced that it will together with Prime Contractor Placard Pty Ltd provide several million electronic driving licences to the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, Australia over a five year period with implementation commencing in 2010.

Currently, just over 3 million drivers in Queensland hold laminated driver licences on which personal data is printed. The new cards will significantly improve the security and privacy of personal data by securely storing driver information electronically. This will make the new licence difficult to copy and counterfeit and thereby minimizes the potential for identity theft.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads also plans to use this secure technology for the Adult Proof of Age, Marine Licence Indicator and Industry Authority cards.

Gemalto’s eDriver Licence solution is compliant with ISO 24727 standard and the Smartcard Framework and Smartcard Licence Interoperability Protocol (SLIP), which is the standard referenced to by the drivers licence project.


2010

July 2010 to June 2011 Licence Costs

  • One year | $37.35
  • Two years | $52.05
  • Five years | $96.05

Queensland’s new driver licence

12th of May 2010 | Media Statement

The Minister for Transport, The Honourable Rachel Nolan declared that Queensland will soon have the most secure drivers licence system in Australia!

  • Biometric imaging is used rather than the old Polaroid photo. What that means is that when your photo is taken at the CSC or police station, a 16 point computer image of your face is taken and stored on the computer. That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name.
  • A number of visual security features including hologram, special inks, a watermark and shadowing.
  • A computer chip which stores your personal information, security PIN and shared secrets

Still talk of the computer chip with personal information, PIN and shared secrets which never eventuated so even up until the launch of the licence they were still misleading the public.

Providing the most secure licensing system in the country comes at a cost but the price of a Queensland licence will still compare favourably to other major Australian states.

The current cost of a five-year licence in Queensland is $73.30.

The new Queensland driver licence will initially cost $96.05 for five years, equal to around 37 cents per week.

Taking into account CPI and the cost of implementing the new system a new five-year licence in 2014-15 will cost $152.50 or around 58 cents a week.

Next financial year the most secure licence in the country will still be cheaper than licences in four other states.

And even in five years time, our licence will cost about the same as what drivers in NSW, South Australia and the ACT pay right now (NSW $151, ACT $145, SA $150).

Each time they renew their licence, facial image recognition technology will ensure they are who they claim to be.

Minister for Transport, The Honourable Rachel Nolan | 22nd of May 2010

The Government will undertake a carefully planned roll out of the new licensing system and Department of Transport and Main Roads staff will take part in an initial trial in August.

Following that Toowoomba residents, given the city’s mix of demographics and licence products, will be able to renew licences under the new system later in the year.


The last sentence is an outright lie, they had been promoting that it can be renewed online at this point so either the Minister for Transport was telling porkies or they knew nothing about their portfolio.

Justifying the increases by making it a price per week is beyond stupid and why stop there who not publicise the registration fees as a price per day!


Driver’s licences to double in price

12th of May 2010 | Brisbane Times

The price of Queensland driver’s licences is set to more than double as the state embraces new chip technology.

The new licences, embedded with a computer chip, will be introduced in Toowoomba before the end of this year, before becoming available across the state by the end of 2011.

Special biometric imaging will replace the current polaroid photo on laminated licences.

“The laminate driver’s licences currently in use across Queensland have been in existence for almost 25 years and are in need of a major overhaul,” Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said.

The price of a new five-year licence will initially rise from $73.30 to $96.05, before escalating again to $152.50 in 2014, an overall increase of 108 per cent.

The cost will be even greater for truck drivers who will need a separate heavy vehicle licence under the new system.

The price increase is the latest hit for the state’s drivers, after hefty registration cost increases came into effect last year, while the government scrapped the fuel subsidy.

brisbanetimes.com.au reported last year at how the new licence would begin rolling out in 2010.

RACQ spokesman Gary Fites said the price hike was justified given the new security for motorists.

”We can see a more justifiable price rise in this given for what is essentially for a new and improved product compared with far less justification for the toll increases and the sorts of registration increases we’ve seen,” Mr Fites said.

”This is something people pay for every five years. It’s not hitting them every year, and it’s not hitting them every time they fill up at the [bowser].

”We would have more concern if we were paying that sort of increase for essentially the same product.”

The biometric cameras needed in Queensland Transport offices and police stations will cost the state government $10,000 each to install and operate.

Smart licences have been six years in the planning and it is expected to take a further five before the rollout is complete.

Drivers will not be forced to switch to the new licences but will instead wait until their old ones expire.

Cards will still display traditional licencing information such as the licence number, name, date of birth, gender and height, address, class of licence and expiry date but the on-board microchip can be programmed with further data.

The chip will hold digital versions of the displayed information as well as digital certificates to prove the authenticity of the card as well as a “record of access” to show who has accessed information contained on the chip.

Security features on the new cards include facial recognition technology which links the card to an image, signature storage, high tech encryption and a PIN code which the cardholder must enter to allow authorities access to the information stored on the card.

Authorities have said only Queensland and interstate police, transport compliance officers and driver licensing authorities will be able to access information stored on the chip.

“Even police will need a court order to access the information,” Ms Nolan said.

Drivers will have a 16-point hologram taken of their face, which will be stored in a central information system.

“That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name,” the minister said.

Ms Nolan said the new look licences were designed to protect the tens of thousands of victims of personal identity fraud in Queensland each year.


RACQ spokesman Gary Fites said the price hike was justified given the new security for motorists.

”We can see a more justifiable price rise in this given for what is essentially for a new and improved product compared with far less justification for the toll increases and the sorts of registration increases we’ve seen,” Mr Fites said.

”This is something people pay for every five years. It’s not hitting them every year, and it’s not hitting them every time they fill up at the [bowser].

”We would have more concern if we were paying that sort of increase for essentially the same product.”

The price hike is justified when they didn’t deliver on any of the promises! This is a new and improved product in what way?

What about those who renew every year? It makes no difference if you choose one, two, three, four or five years as you are still paying an excessive amount for something that costs under $10 in Europe for 5-10 years and that offers more security!

The RACQ said the same in 2014 so clearly they have an agenda to push that isn’t looking after the motorists of Queensland.

Security features on the new cards include facial recognition technology which links the card to an image, signature storage, high tech encryption and a PIN code which the cardholder must enter to allow authorities access to the information stored on the card.

Where is this PIN code they talk about? Seems that the government has failed to deliver.

Ms Nolan said the new look licences were designed to protect the tens of thousands of victims of personal identity fraud in Queensland each year.

Identity fraud continues to increase and looking at the statistics the new drivers licence has done nothing to abate that. Another failure.

“That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name,” the minister said.

Except for the casual staff member who was able to issue 60 driver licences to people that already had licences under different names and the system that cost hundreds of millions did nothing to detect these duplicates.


New driver licence makes debut in Toowoomba

5th of November 2010 | Media Statement

The most secure driver licence system in Australia will make its public debut in Toowoomba today.

It’s a big day as we start to move from old laminated licences to delivering the most secure driver licence system in the country

When Queenslanders apply for their new licence a digital photograph will be taken and stored centrally.

Licences will also be mailed to customers within two weeks rather than being available on the spot.

“It’s just like getting your passport or a credit card. Licences will be produced at a central location meaning greater identity security and protection,” she said.

“It’s a big change but it will make Queensland licences the most secure in Australia – helping in the fight against fraud and identity theft.”

Ms Nolan said the new Queensland driver licence will initially cost $96.05 for five years, equal to around 37 cents per week.

Taking into account CPI and the cost of implementing the new system a new five-year licence in 2014-15 will cost $152.50 or around 58 cents a week – comparable to the current cost of licences in other states.

2011

2012

July 2012 to June 2013 Licence Costs

A 63 per cent increase over July 2010 to June 2011 cost

  • One year | $64.20
  • Two years | $89.50
  • Five years | $143.75

2013

Queensland drivers hit with licence increases

29th of May 2013 | CourierMail

QUEENSLAND motorists are being slugged with increases of up to 71 per cent for new smartcard driver’s licences since their rollout less than three years ago.

The cost of the new licences, which drivers can sign up for from one to five years, has risen by an average of 63 per cent since they were introduced in late 2010.

About half of the state’s 3.4 million registered drivers have already bought the new plastic credit-card sized licences but about 1.69 million drivers are still using the old laminate cards.

The cost of a one-year smartcard licence climbed by 71 per cent from $37.35 in 2010-11 to $64.20 in 2012-13.

The cost of a two-year smartcard licence also rose by 71 per cent from $52.05 to $89.50 in the same period.

Five-year smartcard licences rose by 49 per cent from $96.05 in 2010-11 to $143.75 in 2012-13.

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson blamed the hefty increases on the former Labor government.

“The increase to the cost of a driver’s licence reflects the cost of producing the new card which was set under the previous government,” she said.

“Unfortunately this is another example of Labor’s reckless spending with no consideration for the impact it would have on taxpayers.”

The cost to roll out the new Queensland licensing system was about $139 million and it’s hoped all drivers will have migrated to the new technology by the end of 2017.

The Newman Government is looking at ways to reduce the data added to the chip and help make it smaller and cheaper which would help reduce the computer systems needed to manage the licences and cut costs.

The cards have a number of visual and technological security features designed to make it easier to identify forgeries.

Queensland Council of Social Service director Mark Henley said the rising costs to smartcard licences was yet another increasing cost for Queenslanders.

“I think it’s really important that the Government has a holistic view of any of the prices or costs that they passed on to the public with goods or services they provide such a licence,” he said.

“They need to have a line of sight of what the overall impact is for people.

“One of the biggest problems people face is managing the increasing costs across a variety of services and this is another increase in cost people have to wear.”

RACQ executive manager of public policy Michael Roth said the licence increases were “steep” but their implementation of the system was “a good decision.”

The option to renew laminated licences was phased out in October.

Drivers cannot upgrade from a laminated card to a smartcard online, it must be completed at a Department of Transport office.

Smartcard users are able to renew their cards electronically.


The Newman Government is looking at ways to reduce the data added to the chip and help make it smaller and cheaper which would help reduce the computer systems needed to manage the licences and cut costs.

Seriously?!? The Minister believes that the amount of data written to a tiny amount of memory has anything to with the cost of the cards and why did they achieve nothing in relation to the cost of the drivers licence in their time in government? Once again a Minister criticises the previous government, promises to reduce costs but does nothing.

The card already has none of the features that were promised so what’s actually stored on the card? The police don’t have readers so why bother putting anything on the card as the chip is not used! There’s your cost saving, replace the chip card with a standard card like they should have used in the first place but of course as you’ll find out further down the cost of the card is not the issue. The government is using this card as an excuse to tax us through yet another fee that doesn’t reflect the cost of providing the service.

RACQ executive manager of public policy Michael Roth said the licence increases were “steep” but their implementation of the system was “a good decision.”

Another failure from the RACQ who are totally out of touch with the motorists they claim to represent. They continue to turn themselves into a large corporation that exits only to make huge profits.

How can a card that does nothing that it was claimed to do be a good decision?

The cost to roll out the new Queensland licensing system was about $139 million and it’s hoped all drivers will have migrated to the new technology by the end of 2017.

This new technology of course isn’t actually being used so what did we get for $139 million? In 2003 they quoted the price as $60 million for an government roll out and a likely no cost roll out if they enter into a public/private partnership like they did so how did the prices increase by $139 million or more and why is no-one held accountable for this excessive waste of taxpayer funds?

2014

Fake Queensland drivers’ licences being investigated by crime commission amid terror identity fears

22nd of September 2014 | Cairns Post

A CRIME and Corruption Commission investigation is underway into a major fraud involving Queensland drivers’ licences, that may have helped would-be terrorists develop new identities.

A casual employee of Transport and Main Roads — who News Corp Australia understands had her employment terminated in December — is at the centre of the investigation which has been kept quiet by the department and the CCC.

It is alleged she issued upwards of 60 fraudulent licences in return for payment of $1000 each.

Sources within the department have revealed the employee allegedly “overrode” the Transport Integrated Customer Access (TICA) system to issue the licences.

The cards themselves were uncompromised.

A CCC spokesman confirmed an investigation was underway and it was “ongoing”.

“The Department of Transport and Main Roads is fully cooperating and assisting the CCC,” said the spokesman.

Staff who worked with the woman are among those who have been interviewed over the alleged fraud.

University of Queensland national security expert Professor Brian Lovell said a fake drivers licence would be considered a valuable commodity for people with criminal intent.

“If you look at the 9-11 attackers, there were 19 of them, and they had 63 drivers’ licences between them,” said Prof Lovell.

“A fake driver’s licence gives you a false identity so you can hide your trail.”

He said someone with a fake driver’s licence in Australia could easily rent a three-tonne truck and pack it with explosives.

“The Queensland licensing system is very, very strong (security wise) but if you’ve got someone on the inside issuing licences to people who have bad agendas, that’s of grave concern,” Prof Lovell said.

Queensland drivers’ licences underwent a major overhaul in late 2010 to increase their security and prevent fraud.

As well as being embedded with a computer chip, the licences feature holograms and special ink to make them almost impossible to replicate.

Information posted on the TMR website states the former laminated licence “became increasingly vulnerable to tampering and fraud and needed to be replaced with more secure technology”.

Their introduction resulted in a doubling of the price for a five-year licence from $75 to $154.

Motorists generally have to wait up to two weeks for a new licence while they are made by Victorian company Placard and returned to Queensland.

The “unsmiling” images featured on the licences have been unpopular with motorists but lauded by experts as a key to reducing crime, and even terrorism.

The CCC refused to say what the fraudulently issued licences were being used for, or if they had been recovered by the crime-fighting agency.

It is also unknown what changes, if any, have been implemented at TMR to prevent the issue of licences without proper authorisation.

A department spokesman said they were unable to comment because it was the subject of an ongoing investigation by the CCC.


So much for the facial recognition system that was supposed to prevent people getting multiple drivers licences in different names. Why did we spend so many hundreds of millions for systems that don’t do what they claim?

2015

2016

2017

July 2017 to June 2018 drivers licence cost

  • One year licence | $76.25
  • Two year licence | $106.30
  • Three year licence | $131.55
  • Four year licence | $152.20
  • Five year licence | $170.75

2018

July 2018 to June 2019 drivers licence cost

  • One year licence | $78.90
  • Two year licence | $110.00
  • Three year licence | $136.15
  • Four year licence | $157.55
  • Five year licence | $176.75

Comparison of cards

Italy

Gemalto the same company that produces the card used in Queensland has a more advanced contactless version of the card used in Italy as a national ID card. The cost of this card is 16.79 Euros with an average cost of 23 Euros because some areas charge an administrative fee.

The contactless electronic identity card is a polycarbonate document including full name, date and place of birth, fiscal number, residence and citizenship, code of the city of issuance, issuance and expiration dates, authentication certificate, fingerprints and a digital version of the photo.

It appears the card has no expiry date so assuming 10 years this is AUD $30 or $3 per year but the Queensland Government charge us an extra $15 per year on top of the savings they are making by not having to produce their own cards inhouse.

The Rest of Europe

Costs vary from country to country but looking at countries with similar cards (these are not driver licences but are cards with the same or more capabilities inbuilt for which we are being charged over $15 per year by the Queensland Government). If these countries can supply these cards so cheaply why are we paying so much?

Estonia | €25 for 5 years

Germany | €28.80 for 10 years

Hungary | Free

Lithuania | €8.6 per 10 years (Same card as Queensland)

Implementation Costs

It’s hard to find a comparison however one system implemented in Bulgaria cost USD $139 million for a 10 year contract to develop and supply a system for issuing biometric identity documents. This includes 1 million passports and 2.8 million identity documents.

Estonia has a far more advanced contactless card that can be used to vote, public transport and a lot more and is used for ID cards, residence permit cards, digital IDs and diplomatic IDs. A new 5 year contract for this service cost €40 million | AUD $60 million.

The Estonian ID cards are used in health care, electronic banking, signing contracts, public transit, encrypting email and voting. Estonia offers over 600 e-services to citizens and 2400 to businesses. The card’s chip stores digitised data about the authorised user, most importantly: the user’s full name, gender, national identification number, and cryptographic keys and public key certificates.

The newest version of Estonia’s ID card, featuring additional security elements and a contactless interface. The new cards also utilise Estonia’s own font and elements of its brand. One new detail is the inclusion of a QR code, which will make it easier to check the validity of the ID card. The new design also features a color photo of its bearer, which doubles as a security element and is made up of lines; looking at the card at an angle, another photo appears. The new ID cards, however, have contactless functionality built in. The new chip has a higher capacity, allowing us to add new applications to it.

The promised features from 2003

Let’s see how this card delivered on it’s promises from 2003. Failed promises have a strike through them.

  • Reduce identity fraud
  • Allow you to keep emergency contact details on the card (all police cars would be fitted out with readers)
  • Remove the need for address on the licence (all businesses that need the address would have to have card readers to read the address for example at the time video stores, car rentals etc)
  • Allow business to be transacted online with the Transport Department
  • Public transport payment card
  • Used for vending machine and small transactions in stores

Summary

In summary the promises of the “Smart Card” were over-stated and aside from a higher security card that could have been achieved through the use of card printers replacing the existing laminating machines there has been no benefit except to the private companies involved in the manufacturing of the cards and systems that support it. Instead of choosing an off the shelf system as used throughout Europe we choose instead to deal with multiple companies to produce a solution to a problem that not only did not exist but we wasted vast amounts for features that will never be used.

Other countries have continued to update their cards and allowed them to be used for public transport and many other useful applications, our politicians just talk about us being a world leader all the time but nothing could be further from the truth. Politicians should be held responsible for their actions, they are paid incredibly well by world standards, they have vast resources at their snouts fingertips but they continue to mislead the public and throw away taxpayer money because there are no ramifications.

The quoted cost of implementing this system was $139 million however drivers are paying around $15 a year extra and with 3.6 million drivers in 2017 this is an additional cost of $54 million per year since 2010. By the year 2019 the government has profited by around $400 million and delivered a product that offers nothing that the deployment of secure card printers to each Transport office would have offered. By the time they look at replacing these cards it will be 2025-30 and over a billion dollars will have been wasted.

Ministers who should represent the taxpayer seem to instead be pushing the technology that lobby groups are promoting. What has occurred with the “Smart Card” licence in Queensland is nothing short of criminal, in the 9 years since implementation the additional costs to drivers has been in the order of $540 million of which over $400 million is profit for a “Smart Card” that delivered nothing.

Other countries like Estonia are actually leading the way with innovation, the Queensland Governments idea of innovation is to talk about it in Media Statements thinking that if they repeat it enough it will come true and they will fool citizens into believing their rubbish.

And to top it off they have just announced they are looking at creating a new digital drivers licence for your smartphone, yet another solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Identity theft is still an issue and one partial solution to this problem would be to have a drivers licence number that changes with each renewal but operates in a similar way to virtual credit card numbers. The card number stays the same behind the scenes but from outwards appearance this is a new number. If you think that your drivers licence has been compromised just order a renewal and it will give you a new drivers licence number and the old one is voided. When someone applies for credit using the old card number it is flagged as expired and doesn’t go through.

This new driver licence was supposed to reduce the amount of identity fraud but it has achieved nothing as most fraud is committed online using your drivers licence number. Imagine if they used a system like in Estonia where you could use a secure smart card to prove your identity.

New road rules in Australia that will do nothing but kill people, logic once again out the window!

At first glance the road rules introduced by South Australia and now NSW and Victoria are there to save lives but the reality is all they do is kill people. No-one is suggesting that emergency workers do not deserve protection on the road but the rules introduced to save them have done anything but and have costs lives, people licenses and created confusion where you have different laws in different states that have not been communicated properly to the drivers especially those from interstate.

This points again to the problems with Australia where each state whilst following the Australian Road Rules also introduce their own laws without any regard to other states nor looking at the experiences in other countries.

These are the road rules in question for each of the states that have introduced them and following them is the simple rule that all drivers across Australia should be using.

South Australia

Drivers are now required to travel at 25km/h when driving through an emergency service speed zone. This law came into effect on 1 September 2014.

The 25km/h Emergency Service Speed Zone applies on an area of road:

  • In the immediate vicinity of an emergency service vehicle that has stopped on the road and is displaying a flashing blue or red light; or
  • Between two sets of flashing blue or red lights that have been placed by an emergency worker at either end of a length of road on which an emergency vehicle has stopped.
  • It does not apply if you are driving on a road that is divided by a median strip and the emergency service speed zone is on the other side of the road beyond the median strip.

An emergency services vehicle includes:

  • Ambulance
  • Fire service vehicle (CFS, MFS or Federal Aviation Rescue)
  • State Emergency Services (SES) vehicle
  • Police.

Penalties are the same as speeding, if in a 80, 100 or 110kph zone and you can’t or don’t slow down you face immediate loss of license no matter what state you come from.

Victoria

From 1 July 2017 you must slow down to a speed that would enable you to stop safely when approaching and passing enforcement, emergency or escort vehicles that are stationary or moving slowly (less than 10km/h)*, and have either:

  • Red and blue flashing lights
  • Magenta (purple flashing lights)
  • An alarm sounding.

You must not exceed 40km/h when passing the vehicle and not increase your speed until a safe distance from the scene (more on this below).

The new road rule does not apply to vehicles on the opposite side of a divided road (separated by a median strip) from an emergency or enforcement vehicle scene.

  • A fire truck extinguishing roadside spot fires is an example of a slow moving emergency vehicle.

A ‘safe distance’ has not been defined in the road rule because every incident will be different.

The infringement penalty for breaching the new road rule is 1.75 penalty units ($272.05), with the maximum court penalty of 5 penalty units ($777.30). No demerit points apply.

NSW

The new rule from the 1st of September 2018 requires motorists to slow down to 40km/h when passing a stationary emergency vehicle displaying blue or red flashing lights.

The rule also requires motorists to give way to any person on foot in the immediate area of the emergency vehicle. Motorists should not increase their speed until they are a safe distance past the vehicle.

For everyone’s safety, motorists must slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles displaying blue or red flashing lights
The rule applies to vehicles travelling in both directions, unless the road is divided by a median strip

Motorists who do not comply with the rule will face a $448 fine and three demerit points with the maximum court penalty of $2,200.

Western Australia

SLOMO (Slow Down, Move Over) law was introduced on the 2nd of March 2018.

The SLOMO law requires drivers to slow down to 40 km/h when approaching specific stationary emergency vehicles which are displaying flashing lights while attending an incident.

SLOMO applies to all emergency service vehicles and first response personnel who need to attend to roadside incidents very quickly. Their priority is the safety and survival of the person requiring assistance.

As well as emergency vehicles, SLOMO includes tow trucks, RAC roadside assistance patrol vehicles, and Main Roads Incident Response Vehicles, which assist with the removal of broken down vehicles and debris.

Vehicles travelling in oncoming traffic from the other direction will not be required to slow down.

However, if there is an incident that has occurred in the middle of the road or on a median strip for instance, traffic in both directions would be required to slow down if lanes in both directions are affected by an incident.

The penalty for this offence is three demerit points and $300.

Summary

Four states with four different laws that apply to different vehicles.

  • South Australia fines you for exceeding the 25kph speed limit and loss of license is easy, another state has a fine but no demerit points and two other states have different demerit points and fines.
  • Victoria requires you to slow for slow moving or stationary vehicles and the other three only for stationary.
  • West Australia requires you to move over where possible, the other three do not.
  • West Australia also doesn’t apply to traffic coming in the other direction without a median strip whereas the others do.
  • Each state applies the laws to different emergency vehicles and one includes roadside service.
  • Every state has different interpretations of how soon you can speed up again.

Problems with implementation

Victoria didn’t enter the correct offence code so all fines had to be withdrawn as three points were assigned to those fines when no points should apply. However police started issued summons to appear in court until the issue was resolved. [source]


It took just one day after Victoria’s new 40km/h speed limit when passing emergency vehicles was introduced before a big truck slammed into the rear of a small sedan writing it off. [source]


A NSW driver who was unaware of the 25km/h rule in South Australia was fined $1007, disqualified from driving for 6 months after driving past two police cars with their red and blue lights on in early 2018 before laws were introduced in NSW. The police were located 12m off the road and she passed them at a speed of 85km/h hour in a 110km/h zone. The driver was a female on her own travelling from Northern NSW to visit friends in Adelaide, she had driven for 49 years with no infringements and had to find a place to store her caravan and organise a lift to get back home. [source]


South Australian Police and RAA suggested an increase in speed to 40km/h”But SAPOL and the RAA said it had led to a potentially dangerous situation on stretches of high-speed road — the South-Eastern Freeway in particular.” The government however refuse to increase the speed. [source]


More ambiguity around the new laws with NSW Roads Minister, Melinda Pavey claiming that it’s up motorists how fast they slow down and to what speed. “In response to these concerns, NSW Roads Minister, Melinda Pavey, said it is up to motorists to assess whether it is safe to slow all the way down to 40km/h.

“To slam your breaks on to get down to 40 is dangerous and no one expects people to be driving in an unsafe manner,” she told ABC radio.

“We must be aware of what is behind us, appreciating and respecting that it takes a truck a lot longer to slow down.”” [source]


Cop injured under emergency speed rule [source]

What should we do?

Implement an Australian wide law similar to the United States move over laws which refer to requiring drivers to give a one lane buffer to stopped emergency vehicles. For example, while driving in the right lane, if the driver sees a stopped police car, the driver is required to move one lane over to the left to give enough buffer space to avoid any potential accidents.

Communicate changes to laws such as this by including an insert with vehicle registration papers as not everyone watches TV or reads News Papers to see advertising that is costly and ineffective. Distribute for free printed road rule refreshers at newsagencies, service stations and car servicing locations. Given that most people have to fill their car advertise road rule changes on the pumps or other parts of the service station.

The idea that it’s safe to have to brake heavily from 110km/h to 40km/h or 25km/h shows just how out of touch our lawmakers are.

Another system to use in conjunction with the United States move over laws is to look at how they deal with this in Germany with their unrestricted autobahns, police use a digital sign in the rear window to indicate to the driver to follow and they pull over in a safe location away from the road. Another easy solution to this problem that the Australian Governments will never consider just like the United States one above.

Simply put, Australian Governments will never introduce clear uniform laws across all the states.

Just when you thought that Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme was already complicated along come additional inane requirements!

The companies and organisations involved in the Container Refund Scheme (CRS) have their own rules on how containers are to be returned and with very few sites having Reverse Vending Machines they require you to register your details including bank account, bag up the containers, return them to a Container Refund Point and wait up to six weeks for a refund after they are manually counted.

If the manual count gives a substantially lower number like it has for many people there is no avenue to dispute this.

Each of these Container Refund Points have their own rules on the types of bags, some will provide you bags but often run out and if this is the case you have to travel to another CRP until you find one with bags that you can use. Most of the Container Refund Points will not let you use single use bags, instead you have to buy from the supermarket stronger multiple use bags and nearly all of them will not accept black bags for the safety of the sorting staff so this requires the purchase of more expensive clear bags.

Now one of the companies that requires you to use their own orange coloured bags Envirobank require you to put in exactly 50 containers, no more and no less or they will declare the bag as ineligible (see below for details). But it continues to get better, you cannot drop off 11 bags or more, if you have 501 containers or more you have to go to a depot and make a Statutory Deceleration which will require you to find a Justice of the Peace to witness the signature. All this for $50.10 or more! You couldn’t make this up!

June 2019 | See below for an update in March 2019 to Envirobanks inane requirements.

Checking their website there is no mention of the 50 container requirement on their How It Works page which shows a very simple process. Further to this they operate an ineligible bag policy that allows them to keep the containers and void your payment so if you put in 49 or 51 containers it’s goodbye refund!

I checked the Queensland Legislation on this and can find no reference to 500 containers however found that NSW requires a statutory declaration to be made that you purchased the containers in NSW so it’s unknown if they impose this requirement in Queensland or not.

Queensland Legislation does contain this however but it is not clear where and when this applies.

Division 3 Refund amounts for empty containers 20 Bulk quantity—Act, s99T New section 20 defines bulk quantity, for the purposes of providing a refund declaration to a container refund point operator, as at least 1,500 empty containers.

Container Refund Scheme Regulation 2018

Looking at their terms of service shows even more strange requirements including their right to keep your containers without paying you compensation if you include any ineligible containers or waste.

This is also confirmed on a popular forum.

One of the recycling scheme vendors in Queensland (Envirobank) just announced that they will only accept bags that have exactly 50 containers in it. If you have less, you forfeit the entire bag. I exclusively use 1.25L bottles and therefore it is impossible to get 50 into a bag. This is getting beyond ridiculous. I clearly won’t use them anymore but my incentive to use this scheme in general is further diminished.

Whirlpool Post

The even have instructions on how to use the bags, instead of creating a bag that is easy to use they have instead forced the onus onto those returning containers to figure out a solution.

Q. How do I close my orange bags properly?

A. It may seem like a silly question, but it’s more complicated than you think.

You know that the product your delivering is overly complex when you need such lengthy instructions on closing a bag and which make you have such lengthy terms and conditions and terms of service.

All this for a Container Refund Scheme that is truly a fantastic example of Idiocracy. The CRS could have required Reverse Vending Machines to be installed at Supermarkets so you can return your containers from the place you purchased them from when you go shopping. But why go simple, logical and cheap when you can do the opposite?

Update | Envirobank have changed their terms of service March 2019

Whilst they have updated a few areas even a more recent FAQ entry from April 2019 says that you should stick to 50 containers per bag.

April 2019 | Envirobank FAQ

You can mix your eligible containers in each bag, regardless of material type, but we do ask that you please stick to 50 containers per bag.

Updated Terms of Service | Envirobank

In order to use the Drop’n’Go Service, you must:(5.1.a) Before you drop-off Your Eligible Beverage Containers at a Drop’n’Go Location, ensure that You place a Maximum of 50 Eligible Beverage Containers inside an Envirobank orange collection bag with a QR code attached to the bag (Eligible Bag). At most Drop’n’Go Locations, the orange collection bag will have a QR code affixed to the bag. If You are dropping-off at a Drop’n’Go Location in NSW, You must affix a swing tag with a QR code to the drawstring of the orange collection bag.
(5.1.b) Either:
Scan the QR code on each Eligible Bag using the QR code scanner function of the Website (Your mobile device may request temporary permission for the Website to access the camera on Your mobile device in order to scan the QR code); or
Type the QR code in manually for each Eligible Bag,
while logged into Your Account on the Website. It is Your responsibility to ensure that each QR code has been accurately entered into Your Account on the Website before dropping off your Eligible Bag(s) at the Drop’n’Go Location.
(c) Only drop-off a maximum of 10 Eligible Bags in a single Drop’n’Go deposit. Deposits greater than 500 containers should be made at a depot and a Statutory Declaration completed, as a requirement of the Scheme.

Terms of Service | Envirobank

And they now have a FAQ that says you will be paid for every item contrary to the experience of others before they updated their terms of service.

What if my bag doesn’t contain 50 eligible containers?

Regardless of the number of containers in your bag, you’ll still be paid for every eligible container you deposit. (In accordance with the Act)

However it may take a little while longer for your containers to be processed and for you to receive your payment, compared to our ultra-popular 50 container express service.

Why is it better to pack your bags with 50 eligible containers? Find out here

(*Spoiler: it’s faster, hassle-free, and we give you imaginary gold stars every time you do it!)

Envirobank FAQ

Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme now requires lids to be removed for safety!

The stupidity of the Queensland Government Container Refund Scheme really knows no bounds, not content with the inefficiency of this complicated, expensive and cumbersome system when much simpler and cheaper options exist they have now require lids to be removed!

Two reasons are given, one is safety as the lids can apparently fly off at high speed and the other is that the plastic of the lid is different and they don’t recycle it. But why is this the problem of the person returning these bottles who are now faced with another decision. Transport bottles in their vehicle that may leak or spend time removing lids at the Container Refund Points and throw them into the landfill bin?

28th of November 2018 | Containers for Change Queensland

All other countries that offer refunds on containers accept them back with with the lids, the Reverse Vending Machines used throughout parts of Europe and other parts of the world have no problems with lids being fitted and many of these actually crush the bottle to reduce the storage space required in the store. Googling for injuries from “bottle tops” has found nothing so why are Queensland and some other parts of Australia so special that these pose a real and imminent danger? Over the top workplace heath and safety laws? Stupidity? Who really knows.

In fact removing the lid is not required and actually causes the lids to be sent to landfill when they can be recycled and the lids are in the top 5 of rubbish collected from beaches. The arguments that the various state governments, associations, groups and companies use in Australia as to why they can’t be recycled are nothing but misleading at best and shows a complete lack of understanding of the recycling industry.

Contains for Change Queensland even try and portray their practice of taking bottles without lids as good for the environment when as shown above lids are in the top 5 discarded items found in the sea.

8th of June 2019 | Containers for Change Queensland

The Containers for Change website has another message and not one of safety but rather that leaving lids on causes problems with transport and storage and that separating means a better recycling outcome!?!? Why are they unable to communicate the same message on Instagram as their website?

Containers for Change Frequently Asked Questions

A press release by Containers for Change has another message!

Containers for Change says reports of people failing to get a refund for leaving lids on containers or bottles is simply untrue.
The company has released a statement today to clarify any confusion about the bottle or can drop off program.
They do say lids need to be removed before processing for safety reasons and operators can ask customers to do this but under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act they still must pay a refund for eligible containers whether the lid is on or off.
To find out more information on the recycling scheme visit the Containers for Change webpage at https://www.containersforchange.com.au/

17th of June 2019 | Containers for Change clarifies lid refund claims

This issue is further made more complicated with roadside recycling where nearly all councils want lids removed and only a few specify to leave it on. And combined with the sad state of roadside recycling in Australia means that most of the contents end up in landfill or another country.

There are many guides out there that are misleading and most give differing information. For example FYA claim that you should wash everything before it goes into the recycle bin and that you have to remove all lids and further they claim that removing them makes them easier to recycle!

The only solution to this issue is to have one government organisation responsible for all recycling in Australia so that a single consistent voice is heard and this organisation is further fully responsible for what happens downstream. At the moment we have the tail wagging the dog.

The Ring around the bottle

The Ring that is left on the bottle with the lid is removed is commonly in the industry called a tamper evident band or skirt, if the lid causes sorting issues why do all the states that require the lid to be removed allow you to leave this in place?

Some recycling companies and organisations even state that the ring and the lid are made from different plastics and this is why the ring is able to be left on the bottle.

Do I need to remove the plastic ring on the neck of the bottle as well?
No you don’t. The rings have no adverse effect on the recycling of the container and are actually made from the same type of plastic as the bottle itself, so therefore do not need to be removed.

RecyclersSA FAQ and Adelaide Hills Recycling Centre FAQ

The State of the States

Queensland | Lids to be removed but Ring OK
NSW | Lids and Ring OK
South Australia | Lids to be removed but Ring OK
Northern Territory |
Western Australia | Likely the same as Queensland

Queensland

Do I need to remove lids from containers before taking them to a container refund point?
Yes, lids should be removed from beverage containers before taking them to a container refund point. Removing the lids helps with the crushing of containers at processing facilities and provides benefits, ie.:

  • plastic tops are usually a different plastic from the bottle, so separating the plastics means a better recycling outcome due to less ‘contamination’
  • leaving tops on containers can cause problems with transport and storage.

Containers for Change Frequently Asked Questions

New South Wales

Do I need to remove the lid from my container?
No. Bottles with lids can go through RVMs without difficulty. The lids are a valuable resource and will be recycled too. We don’t want lids ending up as litter.

NSW Government FAQ FAQ FAQ

South Australia

Do I need to remove the lids from containers before taking them to the collection depot?

There is no legal requirement to remove the tops/lids from beverage containers before taking them to a collection depot, but it helps If you do because:

  • plastic tops are usually a different plastic than the bottle, separating the plastics is better for recycling
  • leaving tops on containers can cause problems with transport and storage.
  • you can put your tops with similar plastics in a separate container and ask your depot if they will accept these when you return your containers for refund.
  • removing the tops/lids from containers may save time at the depot.

Environmental Protection Agency FAQ

Northern Territory

Western Australia

Being run by the same organisation as Queensland so likely the same.

Queensland Feedback

From the Containers for Change Instagram post on this subject.

The lids off policy is not working. It is ‘encouraging’ littering near the refund collection points. This morning I picked up 242 plastic lids that were thrown in the surrounding roadside vegetation. This scheme was set up to address littering – it is obviously lids MUST be included in the scheme to decrease this littering. The full container must be recovered not just the ‘valuable/easy to recycle PET.

plasticfreeseas – Take off your container caps – Instagram

Hi @plasticfreeseas – we appreciate your help with this. Hi Tracey, lids and bottles are different types of plastic so need to be recycled separately. Lids can also cause safety issues, shooting off bottles at high speeds if they’re crushed. So if you’re returning your containers to a container refund point or recycling them through your Council bin, the lids need to be taken off. Our CRPs have bins at their sites if people forget to do this before arriving.

4changeqld – Take off your container caps – Instagram

@4changeqld Yes I know the plastics are different types. That is not an excuse not to recycle the whole container just the PET. I’m all for separating the lids for safety reasons but there is a responsibility for the scheme to deal with this part of the container not landfill them (or have them end up as small bits of litter). This is a flaw in the scheme fundamentals and should be addressed alongside the PET container. Offsetting this externality of business is unacceptable practice.

plasticfreeseas – Take off your container caps – Instagram

As usual all the hard questions that make sense are ignored such as the following.

So now everyone is asked to drive all the way to a depot to deliver bottles. What will that cost the environment? Kerbside recycling seems far more environmental on that measure.

peterstelmach – Take off your container caps – Instagram

And the following which is only responded to with a contact us message. These issues are quite common and they have made it clear on their website that they will not look into any discrepancies.

I have been saving my eligible bottles for 2 months now. I dropped them off in 6 filled garbage bags and just got my notice that I was paid $2.50. Please explain. I feel that I have been scammed and to think that my whole family have been on a recycling mission to do our best for the environment. We were going to invest the money into a recycling system to help us continue this program at our business. $2.50 might get us some plastic garbage bags to put future bottles in. However, we thought the aim was to REDUCE the use of plastics. Not create more once use wastage.

no_sixty8 – Take off your container caps – Instagram