Dominello cannot stay silent any longer – Ryde needs a ban on plastic bags

In Parliament | 26.07.17

Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe today joined Labor’s candidate for Ryde to call out local member and government minister Victor Dominello for his “abject failure” to protect the environment and push for a ban on single-use plastic bags in New South Wales.

With this Friday marking another national Meeting of Environment Ministers, it is “do or die” time for the NSW Government to show it can do the right thing for the environment, and ban single use plastic bags.

Ms Sharpe today visited Meadowbank Wharf where Mr Laxale showed firsthand the impact of littered plastic bags on the Parramatta River, with aquatic species and bird life at risk of ingesting or being choked by plastic bags that end up snagged on the banks and in the water.

Given the risks to local wildlife, the Berejiklian Government must take action – and it is up to local members like Mr Dominello to advocate for his community.

Sadly Mr Dominello has failed to be a champion of the local environment, and Ryde will be the worse for it.

In light of the recent announcement that supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles will voluntarily phase out single-use plastic bags over the next 12 months, the State Government has been humiliated by failing to implement a statewide ban single-use plastic bags.

Already the ACT, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all ban single-use plastic bags, with Queensland committing to do so next year.

NSW Labor has committed to banning single-use plastic bags under the next Labor Government and has a bill before the Parliament that will implement a ban on single-use plastic bags – but the Government has so far refused Labor’s call for bipartisan support on the issue.

The facts about plastic bags are stark:

  • Every second, 159 single-use plastic bags are used in Australia – more than 10 million new bags a day.
  • In NSW, up to 61 million bags are littered each year.
  • More than 70 per cent of the rubbish entering our oceans is identified as plastic.
  • Plastic kills up to one million sea birds, countless fish and 100,000 sea mammals each year.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe

“This issue is a no-brainer: plastic bags kill. They kill our wildlife, they kill turtles, dolphins, fish and birds, and they pollute the precious natural environment of our state.

“The big supermarkets should not have to go it alone – the Berejiklian Government must announce a statewide ban on plastic bags this week or be forever remembered for everything they didn’t do.

“NSW should have been leading the nation in banning single-use plastic bags, but instead the Premier and her predecessors have dragged their feet and stifled this important environmental reform.”

Quotes attributable to Labor Candidate for Ryde Jerome Laxale

“Ryde includes foreshore suburbs of Meadowbank and Melrose Park so our local member has an even greater duty to protect our waterways than most. Victor Dominello's unwillingness to demand a plastic bag ban in Cabinet shows neglect for our local environment, and community.

“Ryde needs a new local member who will fight on behalf of the community. These are issues of intergenerational fairness, and we owe it to our children to ensure a legacy of a clean, healthy environment for their future.

“I call on Victor Dominello to support a ban on single-use plastic bags today, and explain to the community why his government has failed on this critical environmental issue.”