Container Refund Scheme - price monitoring review: interim report

Waste management Recycling Retail trade Queensland

Key points:

Overall, monitoring indicates that price increases attributable to the scheme are consistent with a workably competitive market. Prices have increased, on average, by just under 10 cents compared to the scheme price of 11.2 cents (including GST) per container.

On average, prices for:

  • non-alcoholic beverages have increased by 9.5 cents per container due to the scheme
  • alcoholic beverages have increased by 8.7 cents per container due to the scheme

Preliminary evidence suggests that price increases have been similar across regions and between large and small retailers

It is estimated that the scheme has reduced consumption of non-alcoholic drinks by around 6.3 per cent or 1.01 litres per household per month, primarily due to the estimated reduction in the consumption of beverages sold in multipacks.

  • Consumption estimates varied between large and small retailers and between Brisbane and regional Queensland, although data issues limit conclusive findings

The scheme has increased expenditure on non-alcoholic drinks by around 4.5 per cent per household per month

  • Estimated expenditure changes as a result of the scheme differ between Brisbane and regional Queensland, although data issues limit conclusive findings.
  • Expenditure on non-alcoholic beverages in regional Queensland has increased by an estimated $1.79 per household per month or 7.8 per cent, while there was no significant change in Brisbane.

The Commission found no specific evidence that the scheme has had a material impact on competition in terms of market structure, market share, barriers to entry or exit, performance or conduct, in the relevant beverage markets to date.

Findings in this report should be considered as interim, based on the relatively short time the scheme has been in operation. The Commission is requesting information from stakeholders on a range of issues and will undertake further analysis on a number of areas, as well as examine the price impacts for the full first 12 months of operation, to prepare the final report.

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