The Member for Maitland, Jenny Aitchison MP, introduced a Notice of Motion into the NSW Parliament yesterday, condemning the Berejiklian Government’s roll out of the Return and Earn scheme. Ms Aitchison also gave a Private Members Statement in Parliament on the botched rollout.
Maitland has only had two local over-the-counter collections points to service the whole Maitland Electorate and both of these collection points have since withdrawn from the scheme.
The Woodberry site had been listed on the EPA’s website map of collection points, a week after the hotel stopped taking collections, and a call to the Minister’s office revealed that they had no idea of when a new site would be operating despite an email from the EPA to ABC Radio in January promising a machine would be installed in February.
Ms Aitchison has again called on the Government to immediately introduce a reverse vending machine in the Maitland electorate to ensure the local community can redeem their refunds.
The residents of Maitland face a return trip of nearly two hours to either Medowie or Cessnock to deposit their containers. Residents have reported arriving in Cessnock only to find the machine is full. Some residents have pointed out that they would pay more in fuel to travel to either of those locations than what they would receive from the scheme. The community is so outraged, some have even called for a cessation of the scheme.
Ms Aitchison is calling on the Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton to intervene to ensure that a reverse vending machine is installed in the Maitland electorate immediately.
Quotes attributable to Jenny Aitchison MP
“The people of Maitland are being charged more and more for beverages under this scheme, but the Government has not provided any Return and Earn sites where they could receive compensation. This scheme has been mismanaged from day one and the people of Maitland are paying the price for this Government’s incompetence.”
“I am calling on the Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton to immediately ensure that a reverse vending machine is installed in the Maitland electorate. If she is incapable of this, the Premier must intervene and appoint an Environment Minister who is up to the job.”