CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — The Australian Government will introduce regulations to legalize the Northern Territory Government's container deposit scheme (CDS).
The decision follows a court ruling last month that the scheme conflicts with federal law.
Three beverage manufacturers — Sydney-based Coca-Cola Amatil (Aust.) Pty. Ltd. (CCA), Melbourne-based Schweppes Australia Pty. Ltd., and Sydney-based Lion Pty. Ltd. — had challenged the legality of the CDS in the Federal Court in Sydney.
The bottlers argued that the Northern Territory scheme conflicts with a federal law governing trade between the states and territories. When the territory's CDS was introduced in 2012, it had a temporary 12-month exemption from the federal law, but that expired on Jan. 3, 2013.
On March 4, the Federal Court upheld the beverage manufacturers' argument. The territory then applied for a permanent exemption from the federal law.
On April 19, Australia's peak intergovernmental forum, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to the Northern Territory Government's application for a permanent exemption.
Sydney-based Total Environment Centre Executive Director Jeff Angel congratulated the territory for "standing up to CCA" and defending a scheme that he says doubles bottle and can recycling rates over a year.
Angel said COAG's decision is "a turning point" in the battle for a national scheme because it demonstrates bipartisan political support. Plans for a national CDS have been in progress for years.