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QLD plastic bag ban up for discussion

A woman with single use, lightweight plastic bags - QLD wnats to introduce a plastic bag ban
The Queensland Government has published a consultation paper to obtain people’s views on the planned plastic bag ban.

The public discussion paper was released on 25 November by Queensland Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles as he headed to the Meeting of Environment Ministers in Sydney. The deadline for providing feedback is 27 February 2017.

The Palaszczuk Government proposes to introduce a ban on lightweight, single-use plastic shopping bags in 2018. This measure would see the state follow in the steps of South Australia, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.

Referring to the considerable support for the ban, Dr Miles said the government was running the consultation to make sure the community and key stakeholders had their say on the initiative to provide the best possible outcomes for all Queenslanders.

“Retailers and environmental and community groups who attended plastic bag workshops in Queensland in 2015, and at a national plastic bag roundtable in Sydney in February 2016, agreed there was a need to restrict single-use plastic shopping bags,” Dr Miles said. Information had been circulated widely after these activities.

“The Queensland Government sees a plastic bag ban as a critical step in a long term plastic pollution reduction plan, and we are now seeking public feedback on how best we can move forward with this initiative.”

Speaking in Sydney, Dr Miles said the Palaszczuk Government had decided to start the plastic bag ban in 2018 to coincide with the launch of its container deposit scheme.

“It’s a logical step from the CDS to introduce this initiative to bring about a vast reduction in the numbers of plastic shopping bags blowing in the wind, entering our waterways, harming our wildlife and spoiling our environment,” Dr Miles added. “Because of the broader impact that plastic has on the environment, as well as taking action to ban light-weight plastic bags, the government is urging national work with department store retailers on voluntary approaches to reduce the use of the heavier plastic bags.”

Boomerang Alliance and Wildlife Queensland spokesperson Toby Hutcheon welcomed the Palaszczuk Government’s move towards banning single use plastic bags.

“It is a significant step forward in reducing plastic litter and its impacts,” Mr Hutcheon said. “Removing plastic bags in particular will dramatically reduce the impact on native and marine wildlife.

“The Palaszczuk Government came to power promising to act on beverage containers and plastic packaging litter and in the last two years, it has gone a long way in meeting those promises.

“Now Queensland has bipartisan support for banning plastic bags, it should move to implement this as soon as practical,” Mr Hutcheon said.

Also attending Sydney’s Meeting of Environment Ministers, Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio agreed plastic bag litter was a priority issue for all governments.

“Victoria’s pleased to continue working with Queensland and New South Wales on this issue, and will be drawing on Queensland’s discussion paper for our own considerations,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

The Queensland Government’s discussion paper is available online at www.ehp.qld.gov.au/waste. The closing date for public comment is 27 February, 2017. Alternatively, stay informed on the latest updates and join in the
conversation at facebook.com/QldEHP 

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