Berejiklian shamed on plastic bags ban – Woolworths decision shows it must be done

In Parliament | 14.07.17

The NSW Labor Opposition has slammed the Berejiklian Government for “bringing shame” on NSW by failing to ban single-use plastic bags, in light of the welcome announcement that Woolworths will phase them out over the next 12 months. 

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

Where bans are in place there have been rapid reductions in plastic bag use with great consumer support. In South Australia, it is estimated that 400 million fewer plastic bags are used each year since the ban began, while there was a 36 per cent reduction in bags going to landfill in the ACT. 

NSW is mired at the bottom of the pack when it comes to protecting our environment, with plastic bag pollution continuing unabated and new tree clearing laws coming into effect next month with the support of the Liberal and National parties. 

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 each 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 NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley 

“I congratulate Woolworths for their decision to ban the bag. 

“Woolworths should not have to go it alone – Gladys Berejiklian must stand up today and announce a statewide ban on plastic bags – if she doesn’t I will under a Foley Labor Government. 

“It’s 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. 

“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.”