THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has authorised AgStewardship to continue collecting a levy on the sale of agricultural and veterinary chemicals, to fund programs for the safe disposal and recycling of the containers and unused chemicals.
The levy, imposed on participating manufacturers, was first authorised in 1998 and has now been authorised to continue for a further five years.
“We see considerable public benefit from these collection and recycling programs,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.
The ACCC has also approved the first increase of the levy, from four cents per litre or kilogram to six cents per litre or kilogram, to keep pace with increased expenses and to fund improvements to the programs.
Some grower groups have expressed concern with the proposed increase of the levy, asking for increased transparency and oversight of the programs by farmers in exchange for supporting the increase.
“These recycling programs are important to farmers as the end users of the chemical products. We encourage AgStewardship to work more closely with farmers and other stakeholders to ensure the programs are as effective as they can be, continue to meet the needs of these groups, and provide farmers with full accountability for levy expenditure,” Mr Keogh said.
Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
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.
The levy under the scheme funds the drumMUSTER and ChemClear programs for collection and recycling of agvet chemical containers and safe disposal of agvet chemicals. The drumMUSTER and ChemClear programs have been running nationally since 1998.
In the past 20 years, the program has diverted 32 million containers from landfill, and resulted in over 661,000 litres of agvet chemicals being collected for safe disposal and recycling.
Currently 116 manufacturers of agricultural and veterinary chemicals participate in the scheme. AgStewardship estimates this covers in excess of 90 per cent of the manufacturers of agvet chemicals in Australia.
Further information about the application for authorisation, including a copy of the ACCC’s determination and public submissions, is available at AgStewardship Australia Limited.