Labor pushes for statewide ban on single-use plastic bags

NSW Labor has said it will ban single-use plastic bags in the State – and is pressuring the Government to act.

NSW Shadow Minister for the North Coast, Walt Secord, called on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton to explain why they haven’t already legislated against the bags – especially when the supermarket sector has “jumped on board”.

Mr Secord said the whole direction of the nation is to ban single-use plastic bags and the Liberals and Nationals in NSW are “completely out of step with the rest of Australia”.

On the weekend, Woolworths, Coles and Harris Farm Markets, all declared they would ban the single-use plastic bag in their outlets.

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

Mr Secord said the bans have been effective. 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 at the bottom of the pack when it comes to protecting our environment, with plastic bag pollution occurring and new tree clearing laws coming into effect soon with the support of the Liberal and National parties,” Mr Secord said.

NSW Labor has committed to banning single-use plastic bags – and has indicated a State Labor Government would legislate if the State Liberals-Nationals do not.

Labor also has a bill before the NSW 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.

Single use plastic bag facts:

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.