Plastic bags farce continues thanks to Berejiklian Government failing to ban the bag - Labor to reintroduce its bill in Parliament

In Parliament | 01.08.18

With one major supermarket today announcing that plastic bags will continue to be handed out indefinitely despite a voluntary ban, the confusing mess of where single-use plastic bags remain in shops must be blamed squarely on the Berejiklian Government, the Labor Opposition says.

Labor is calling on the Government to end the farce and support Labor’s bill to implement a ban on single-use plastic bags in NSW when Parliament returns next week.

Today’s supermarket announcement shows the Government’s weak position is useless and a voluntary ban will not work. The only way to be serious about reducing plastic pollution is a uniform ban.

Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe today joined Labor candidate for Ryde Jerome Laxale in Meadowbank to meet the Plastic Bag Monster and call for a ban to be implemented.

The Plastic Bag Monster is a full-sized costume made entirely of single-use plastic bags, and shows how many bags are used by a single person in NSW over just six months (100 bags).

While the NSW Government has refused to ban single-use plastic bags that are so dangerous to wildlife, Labor took action by introducing laws in the NSW Legislative Council to implement a ban, but it was defeated last year by the NSW Liberals and Nationals. Labor will now reintroduce its bill in the Legislative Assembly.

NSW is now the only state or territory in Australia failing to impose a ban on plastic bags to protect the environment from the damage they cause.

Labor has promised that a Foley Government will ban single-use plastic bags in NSW, if elected in 2019.

 The facts about the impact of plastic bags are stark:

  • Every second, 159 single-use plastic bags are used in Australia – more than 10 million 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 bags are used for 12 minutes on average between the shop and home before being discarded;
  • 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

“The only way to sort out this mess is for Premier Berejiklian to finally take responsibility and put an end to the harm caused by single-use plastic bags by banning them in NSW. 

“Labor is committed to this and we will progress our bill when Parliament returns.” 

Quotes attributable to Labor candidate for Ryde Jerome Laxale

“For Ryde, plastic pollution has very real consequences for our local environment with the Parramatta River on our doorstep, and the habitat it provides for fish, birds, and other wildlife.

“Already I have heard from so many local residents who want to see action on plastic bags, and it’s well past time for the NSW Government to show some leadership and ban them. 

“Ryde’s current MP Victor Dominello has been completely silent on the environmental damage caused by single-use plastic bags, and I call on him to urge the Government to support Labor’s bill.”