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Tax on televisions, computers to pay for recycling

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« on: July 19, 2009, 05:36:14 am »
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Tax on televisions, computers to pay for recycling

CONSUMERS may be charged an additional $30 for a TV or computer under a plan to pay for the safe disposal of old appliances.

The Federal Government is considering the new tax to pay for compulsory recycling.

But retailers have dubbed it "a billion-dollar scam", the Sunday Herald Sun reports.

The tax is outlined in a government-commissioned report to the Environment Protection and Heritage Council of federal and state environment ministers.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett revealed the report last week with a low-key press release calling for six months of community consultations. But he did not refer to the issue of a new tax.

The Price Waterhouse Coopers report to the council says the need to change community and commercial behaviour in relation to recycling old TVs and computers means a tax to pay for their disposal is an option that has to be seriously considered.

Computer users reacted with outrage to news of the new tax.

"I don't think putting a tax on computers is the answer," said Lyn Goodall, former president of the Melbourne PC Users Group.

"It's just slugging the consumer. Computers are expensive enough as it is."

The National Association of Retail Grocers of Australia senior policy adviser Gerard Van Rijswijk said the plan amounted to "a billion-dollar scam".

Australian Information Industry Association chief Ian Burke said a straight-out tax would probably add an average $30 to the cost of a new television.

He said his group would prefer each importer or retailer to have market-based competitive recycling schemes to reduce the hit on consumers and achieve better environmental outcomes.

"A flat levy is one option," Mr Burke said. "But we don't advocate that because the consumer would pay more."

The Opposition described the idea as "a television tax", with Coalition environment spokesman Greg Hunt saying it would hurt low income earners most.

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