SIGN US UP! Boomerang Alliance community campaigner, Annett Finger, and Mildura campaigner Travis Beauchamp during the Big Coke Bottle’s Mildura visit yesterday.

A STATEWIDE campaign calling on the Victorian Government to implement a container deposit 10-cent refund scheme has received tremendous support in Mildura.

An initiative of the Boomerang Alliance, the two-week campaign has seen a three-metre long Coke bottle towed to various parts of the State, including Mildura yesterday, in a bid to raise enough support to see a 10-cent Victorian CDS implemented.

So far tens of thousands of signatures have been collected, with hundreds more in Mildura adding their names to the list while the Big Coke Bottle visited the Langtree Mall and Mildura’s Riverfront.

Local residents were also encouraged to hunt around for eligible containers and cans in the immediate area, with the Alliance paying for cans and containers collected, up to $2, to demonstrate the benefits of the scheme.

Boomerang Alliance community campaigner, Annett Finger, said the tour had reached the half-way point in Mildura, and once complete would cover close to 2000 kilometres, undertaking a round trip from Melbourne to Port Fairy, Mildura, Wodonga and Bendigo to meet with residents, community groups, local Councils and local Members of Parliament in an attempt to drum up support.

Annett said the group was also hosting roadside clean-ups along the way, with bottles, cans and containers collected to be transported back to Melbourne and delivered to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy.

“The response has been fantastic,” she said. “We’ve received overwhelming support, and not just from residents, but from local Councils as well.

“While we have struggled to meet with local MPs in person, many have said that they are supportive of the movement, and want to talk more once the tour is over.

“Part of the issue is that politicians know that this scheme is supported. Close to 85 percent of Victorians, according to the latest news polls, support this scheme, so why don’t we have one?”

Annett said that the Alliance’s campaign was not about advocating for any one particular scheme, simply encouraging the State Government to investigate implementing an initiative in the near future.

“We are for a scheme that makes the polluter pay, and maximises the benefits to communities and charities,” she said. “This is a fantastic scheme because it takes away plastic debris and litter, and it’s a social scheme as well.

“It’s a really easy way for community groups and charities to raise money. There are so many community groups who are picking up trash and litter at the moment who aren’t getting anything for it other than thanks.

“It would be good if they could have something.”

Annett said the Boomerang Alliance had estimated that a Victorian Container Deposit Scheme could produce financial benefits of up to $50million a year to communities and charities.

“If you break it down, Victorians use 3.5 billion containers a year,” she said. “At 10 cents a pop, that’s $350million, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that 10 percent of those refunds would be donated to charities, with the rest made up of those groups actually out there collecting.”

In addition to collecting signatures, the Boomerang Alliance is also calling on community groups, environmental organisations and business to join its online campaign.

Those interested are asked to visit www.boomerangalliance.org.au/cds_vic_org_statement_of_support.