A container of returned cans at the Manunda depot in Cairns
A container of returned cans at the Manunda depot in Cairns

Regional Qld ‘locked out’ of container refund scheme

THE State Government has been accused of locking thousands of Queenslanders out of the container refund scheme, with some forced to travel hundreds of kilometres to get their 10c refund.

The Opposition has called on the Government to open more refund depots across the state, and for refund providers to offer a more consistent service.

Opposition environment spokesman David Crisafulli said it was unfair that regional Queenslanders were being slugged an extra 10c a container without any way of receiving a refund.

He said thousands of Queenslanders were unable to take part because of distance between venues and problems at individual locations.

"Spare a thought for many in regional Queensland who are paying extra for their beer but would have to drive eight hours to the nearest depot to do the right thing," he said.

"We need a consistent approach across the state and more locations so a scheme that makes so much sense can allow people to do the right thing by the environment and their wallet."

Mr Crisafulli claimed parking was hard to find at some sites, while operating hours were "all over the shop".

A spokeswoman for Containers Exchange - the organisation tasked with running the scheme - hit back at the claims, insisting they were working hard to ensure a positive customer experience regardless of where or how people accessed the scheme.

She said the distribution of the network was based on where the container refund businesses decided to operate.

"Although this created some challenges, the COEX team has worked hard to fill the gaps in the network," she said.

"COEX is pursuing opportunities with Local Members, Chambers of Commerce and Traders' Associations for more communities to take part.

"In the past fortnight, two new depots have opened on the Gold Coast and in Bowen, and in the coming weeks, five new container refund points and two mobile sites will open in south-western Queensland."

Since the scheme launched in November, more than 100 million containers have been returned.