Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE / FOOD & WINE - MY SHOUT WORDS: SI­MON IR­WIN myshout@news­re­gional­me­

Years ago, as a young stock and sta­tion agent, I spent many hours driv­ing around west­ern and north­ern Queens­land and New South Wales. In those days you didn’t need a GPS to let you know you were get­ting close to a town as the ap­proach to ev­ery com­mu­nity with a pub was flanked by a car­pet of bro­ken brown glass. These were the days when west­ern dis­tances were of­ten mea­sured in “stub­bies”. When a stubby was fin­ished, many peo­ple sim­ply tossed them out the win­dow. I was re­minded of this when read­ing the news that the price of beer would in­crease to cover the cost of a re­cy­cling pro­gram. Ap­par­ently we will all pay a 10c (pos­si­bly higher due to the un­known costs of run­ning the scheme) de­posit on a “sin­gle use” con­tainer – stubby or can – which will be re­turned when you drop your emp­ties off at a new re­cy­cling cen­tre. No­body in their right mind would want to re­turn to the drink driv­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal van­dal­ism that was a part of coun­try liv­ing 40 years ago, how­ever, most peo­ple I know do re­cy­cle dili­gently – and would no more chuck a bot­tle out of a car win­dow than fly. More drink­ing hap­pens at home nowa­days any­way, and peo­ple tend to put emp­ties in the yel­low bin rather than chuck­ing them at the clothes­line. So why then do we have to in­vent a new bu­reau­cracy that will add a min­i­mum of $2.40 to the cost of a $48 car­ton of beer when the price of that beer al­ready in­cludes about $16.50 for ex­cise and $4.36 in GST? That means in the new puni­tive re­cy­cling world, with each $50 car­ton you will con­tribute $23.26 (or 46.5 per cent) to the State Ex­che­quer. And since it is a per-bot­tle tax, the bulk of the hurt will fall on the bat­tler buy­ing a 30-pack of Gold, who will pay more than those buy­ing a $90 car­ton of In­nis and Gunn. It is enough to drive you to drink.

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