PRICING PROBE: Environment Minister, with U-Can Recycle workers Lee Doyle and Sean Steeds-Kelly and MP Bruce Saunders.
PRICING PROBE: Environment Minister, with U-Can Recycle workers Lee Doyle and Sean Steeds-Kelly and MP Bruce Saunders. Alistair Brightman

Watchdog to probe price gouging

QUEENSLAND'S productivity watchdog will probe any price gouging by beverage companies under the State Government's new recycling scheme as concerns of increased drink prices mount.

But Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said any increases in the price of drinks at bottleshops or supermarkets were a matter for the manufacturers "that are actually paying for the scheme".

Ms Enoch visited the Fraser Coast yesterday to survey the work at Maryborough's Containers for Change refund site.

Since the scheme started last week more than 350,000 containers have been returned in the region, with more then 200 people visiting the site to drop off their containers.

But supermarket giant Woolworths has distributed leaflets warning customers they will pay 11 cents more for every eligible container under the initiative despite the 10 cent refund.

Price increases for eligible products have also been reported in bottleshops and supermarkets across the Fraser Coast.

Ms Enoch told the Chronicle the Queensland Productivity Commission would be conducting a review into any alleged price gouging in the state.

"If they (beverage manufacturers) are passing on costs that is up to them, but I don't want to see it exploited in any way," Ms Enoch said.

"They will look at the pricing over the next 12 months.

"There's not been any indication of price gouging in other states where the schemes have come on board, but we're not going to stand back and let that happen."



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