Published: 16 June 2017
The three states that hold the key to a plastic bag free Australia
The Project has teamed up with Clean Up Australia to call on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and WA Premier Mark McGowan to #BanTheBag.
These three great Australians could see single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags banned across Australia, thanks to existing bans in South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, the ACT, and an impending ban in Queensland.
That’s why we’ve launched a petition (which you can sign by clicking here), to get these three states on board with ending the scourge of plastic bags.
The Project approached the Premiers of all three holdout states for comment.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, “We are always exploring ways to protect the Environment. We will continue to work with Federal, State and Territory governments to develop a national approach.”
A Victorian Government Spokesperson said, “We're seeking a national approach but haven't ruled out moving forward with a state ban. Victoria continues to work with Queensland and New South Wales on this issue, and will be drawing on Queensland’s experience for our own considerations.”
While Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, said, “The Western Australian Government fully understands the impact plastic bags have on the environment, in particular marine life.
“Plastic bags in our oceans and our waterways are a scourge on our environment. The impact they have on marine creatures like whales, dolphins and turtles is just sickening.
“Dealing with that issue, even if it’s one council at a time, is the right thing to do.
“If Western Australian councils can start to make some contribution to reduce the amount of plastic in our waterways, I have no problem with that.
“I'm happy to hear from the community on a statewide ban or minor price placed on plastic bags.”
Support for existing bans is overwhelming. In South Australia, 81% of the consumers strongly support the ban. As do 73% of Territorians, and 70% of Australians living in the ACT.
Currently, Australians still use an estimated four to six billion plastic bags each year. That’s 10 million bags every day. Every minute, we send 7,150 plastic bags to landfill.
But 80 million plastic bags never make it to landfill, and instead end up in our litter stream, killing 100,000 birds and marine life every year.
On average, it’s estimated we use a single-use plastic bag (like you’d find at Coles and Woolies) for just 12 minutes. And that same bag could take up to 1,000 years to break down. A plastic bag you use today will share this planet with your great great great great great great great great great great great great grandchildren.
Many countries around the world, from China to Italy, Papua New Guinea to France, Taiwan to The Netherlands, have already banned plastic bags. But despite supporting in spirit, the banning of plastic bags, the Premiers of NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia are yet to lead on the issue. We want them to #BanTheBag so that Australia is not left behind as the rest of the world addresses this serious and avoidable environmental disaster.
So who will lead the way. NSW, Victoria or Western Australia? Who will ban the bag first? Gladys Berejiklian, Daniel Andrews or Mark McGowan? Whose name will our great great great great great great great great great great great great grandchildren read in their history books?
Here are some more helpful links for you to peruse:
Once you’ve signed, contact these three great Australians directly and encourage them to lead the way and #BanTheBag!
PHONE: 02 8574 5000
PHONE: 03 9651 5000
WESTERN AUSTRALIAN PREMIER
PHONE: 08 6552 5000
UPDATE - STATEMENTS FROM THE PREMIERS OF WA, VICTORIA and NSW
Premier Mark McGowan:
“I saw the segment and welcome the debate.
“At this stage, our policy is to let individual councils decide. If local councils want to ban plastic bags, I will support them in that.
“I’d like to hear from Western Australians about their support for a State-wide ban.
“The issue for our marine and terrestrial environment is far broader than just bags. Plastic packaging in general should be addressed at a national level.”
Premier Daniel Andrews:
The Project's report was a timely reminder of just how important an issue this is - and that's why we're looking at how a ban of supermarket plastic bags would work here in Victoria.
We're reducing our levels of litter in Victoria every year, but we know we need to do more particularly with coastal, waterway and plastic litter.
- The 2015-16 Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index reported litter levels have been falling in Victoria for the past six years, including a 27 per cent reduction in Victoria’s littler items over the past year. However, more action is needed to help curb coastal, waterway and plastic litter.
- The government is already taking action on litter including through:
- Victorian Litter Innovation Fund - $700,000 in grants for the Victorian community, including government, business, not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises and schools, for innovative approaches that prevent and reduce the impact of litter and illegal dumping.
- Victoria’s Litter Report Card – a collation and analysis of litter and illegal dumping data from around the state that identified priority litter issues such as coastal litter, illegal dumping and microplastics.
- Interventions to address Victoria’s priority statewide litter issues – a $200,000 package to trial interventions to address litter issues identified in the Litter Report Card.
- Litter Hotspots Program (Round 3), which identifies the most important littered areas in Victoria and investigates how litter can be reduced there in the long term.
- Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group is supporting trials in three Melbourne municipalities to introduce flexible plastic packaging into kerbside recycling services.
Spokesperson for Premier Gladys Berejiklian:
The Premier watched the segment and she is always willing to listen to the community’s views.
The NSW Government is looking at ways to reduce the impact of plastic bags, including impacts associated with biodegradable bags, and will report back to the Australian Environment Ministers’ meeting in mid-2017.