RAISING THE BARR: Recycle centre locations should be questioned

CONCERNS: Cessnock MP Clayton Barr has slammed the rollout of the NSW Government's Return and Earn container deposit scheme.
CONCERNS: Cessnock MP Clayton Barr has slammed the rollout of the NSW Government's Return and Earn container deposit scheme.

I have previously expressed my concern about the way that the Container Deposit Scheme is being rolled out.

It’s not that Labor don’t support the scheme – we do.

But it is worrying that people will be charged a recycle fee up-front and then won’t be able to get the refund.

That part of the scheme is not fair and not supported. You see, there were supposed to be 500 recycle centres across the state (about three or four in every LGA), but at the moment the government is desperately scratching around to create five to 10 across the entire Hunter.

But here is the thing that makes you wonder – just where are these recycle centres going to be placed?

More than 70 percent (at last count) will be connected to one of the supermarket giants.

The unfairness of this is obvious – if you go there to get the refund, you are more than likely going to stay there to shop.

So I checked the diary of the Minister to see if she had met with a range of people to consider her options for recycle centres. Turns out she hadn’t met with anyone for this purpose!

How odd.

 So how is the decision made, one wonders?

Almost four years ago, when take away alcohol sales were banned from 10pm, I made the point that this would be a cruel twist to our local pubs who would sell to shift-workers on their way home, and coincidentally it would bring everyone into line with the supermarket giant-owned bottle shops.

Of course, the alcohol in these giant centres is cheaper, so given the choice, the consumer goes to the cheaper centre and the local pub misses out on a little bit of extra later-in-the-night trade.

Now sure, I am joining a few dots here, but these are the subtle and otherwise undetectable pieces of information that you gather up when your actual job is to deal with all of this stuff day in and day out.

 To use some wisdom from Sherlock Holmes: when all other logic fails, the logic that you are left with, no matter how outrageous and unlikely, must lead you to your answer.

Stadium disgrace

Once, sometimes twice a year, our big football stadiums in Sydney are full. No doubt, there are keen sports fans from our area that attend on these rare days, probably because their team is playing.

I am pretty sure that everyone that attends these bigger days is going for the game, the spectacle, and not because of how new the seats are, or how quickly they get served at the kiosk.

By contrast, every single day we have hundreds of local people turning up in our hospitals just as almost every day we have tens of thousands of kids heading off to school.

Occasionally, someone will refer to our hospital as “third world standard”, which is absurd, but the point is made by them that they are unhappy.

Equally, I have seen some terrible old buildings and structures in our schools, that desperately need replacement, and that’s before I mention demountables.

And it is because of this that the idea of spending billions of dollars on sports stadiums, in one case to make the crowd capacity 5000-to-10,000 people less, is not strange or silly or odd.

But it is a disgrace!

Clayton Barr is the State MP for Cessnock