ACCC proposes to grant authorisation for waste reduction scheme

2 December 2013

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to AgStewardship Australia Limited on behalf of itself, its members, Agsafe Limited and current and future participants in arrangements to impose a four cent per litre/kilogram levy on the sale of agricultural and veterinary (AgVet) chemicals.

The levy is ultimately passed onto end-users of the chemicals and funds the drumMUSTER and ChemClear® programs, which provide for the collection and disposal of unwanted, empty AgVet chemical containers and chemicals. Since 1999 around 22 million containers have been collected and 387 tonnes of chemicals have been cleared.

"The ACCC considers that the operation of the programs, facilitated by the levy, is likely to result in significant environmental benefits," ACCC Commissioner Dr Jill Walker said.

During the initial consultation the ACCC received a number of submissions from interested parties, including State and Commonwealth agencies and agricultural and veterinary industry associations.

“The submissions received supported the programs and considered the programs encourage environmentally responsible practices by facilitating the recycling and safe removal of AgVet chemicals and containers from the waste stream," Dr Walker said.

Given authorisation for the levy has been in place since 1998 and the programs continue to receive broad support, the ACCC proposes to authorise the arrangements for a further five years.

The ACCC is seeking submissions from interested parties in relation to its draft determination, before making a final decision.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

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