The NSW and Victorian governments have enacted legislation this year to ban cash payments by the Scrap Metal Industry. The Scrap Metal Industry Act was introduced to help clamp down on the rapid and anonymous disposal of stolen property such as cars, hot water systems, building materials and parts of critical infrastructure. The Act requires Scrap Metal Companies to register with police and includes new record keeping measures that will enable the sale of any stolen items to be traced. Police will have powers of entry, inspection and seizure and can issue business closure orders and fines ranging from $11K to $31K, for non-complying scrap metal dealers.
The new Scrap Metal Industry Act will have a significant impact on how the used lead acid battery recycling industry currently operates and should result in a number of improvements, including:
- Reduce battery theft – currently theft of lead acid acid batteries is reasonably common, with the batteries being sold to the scrap metal industry for cash. For instance the City of Rockingham’s Waste Transfer facility was broken into twice over the period of a couple of months with several tonnes of used batteries stolen earlier this year. Several other companies have reported to Battery Rescue instances of theft.
- Increase tax revenue for the Australian government – The majority of cash payments are not being reported for tax purposes, hence companies are not meeting there GST and tax obligations. Of the 200 used battery generators we have marketed to in Western Australia we would estimate that approximately half are unwilling to accept payment by any method other than cash. Battery Rescue only provides payment electronic transfer.
- Improve regulation compliance – There appears to be a strong correlation between used battery generators (customers) and scrap metals companies trading in cash and poor compliance with storage and transportation regulations for used batteries. The elimination of this cash trade would increase the visibility of used battery generators to regulators and reduce the number of small illegal scrap traders being used, resulting in improved compliance by the industry.
For these reasons Battery Rescue believe that the introduction of this legislation will significantly help improve the battery recycling industry and hope that the other Australian states will follow suit shortly.