Cash for trash is back with a new launch date announced for Western Australia's container deposit scheme.
Containers for Change, which will allow West Australians to claim a 10-cent refund when they return eligible beverage containers, will commence on October 1.
The scheme was originally scheduled to begin on June 2 but was delayed due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 and the expected disruption to refund points.
The state government cited public health concerns, poor economic climate and social distancing as the key reasons for the delay of the launch.
A decision on the new launch date was expected to be made in August but the countdown came early.
Western Australians have been telling us they are ready and willing to get involved in a cash for cans scheme, they want to recycle right and they want to ensure less beverage containers end up in landfill.Environment Minister Stephen Dawson
The new state-wide recycling program will be rolled out in 18 weeks paving the way for reduced litter, improved recycling rates and the creation of new businesses and employment opportunities across the WA.
Western Australia is now just 18 weeks away from having a brand-new state-wide recycling program, which will give West Australians the chance to earn cash for eligible containers returned to any authorised refund point.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said it was a difficult decision to delay the scheme's launch date but the timing was right to put the preparations in place for a new date.
"Western Australians have been telling us they are ready and willing to get involved in a cash for cans scheme, they want to recycle right and they want to ensure less beverage containers end up in landfill," he said.
"An October launch date strikes the right balance between keeping people safe and ensuring the sustainability of the network.
"We are getting on with the job of making sure this scheme delivers the best possible outcomes for all Western Australians."
It is estimated more than 500 jobs will be created at refund points across WA, including hundreds of jobs to be targeted at employing people with disability, the long-term unemployed and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as opportunities for apprentices and trainees.
A multi-million dollar assistance package has also been confirmed by the state government to support network participants financially impacted by the deferral of the scheme.
More than 40 per cent of WA's refund points will beoperated by social enterprises including charities, disability sector organisations, Aboriginal corporations, and sporting and community groups - many of whom have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
Up to $3.5 million will be used to ensure they remain viable until the scheme launches and to ensure sustainability of the collection network.
Container deposit scheme coordinator WA Return, Recycle Renew Ltd (WARRRL) chief executive Tim Cusack said he was "incredibly proud" of the local Containers for Change network.
"Over the past few months of delay and uncertainty, WARRRL's primary focus has been on supporting our network partners to ensure they can see through the scheme's delay and continue to be part of Containers for Change," he said.
"WARRRL has strongly advocated for financial assistance for our Containers for Change network partners since the state government's decision to delay the launch from its original date of June 2 due to COVID-19.
"With the combined certainty we now have regarding scheme launch on October 1, and the new package of financial assistance, we are confident in keeping our fantastic Containers for Change network intact and that, together, we will deliver the best container deposit scheme in Australia."
The funding will be available from June 2 until October 1 for eligible refund point participants. For more information, visit the department's container deposit scheme page.