Ban a good first step

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Thomas Moir

The Goul­burn Valley En­vi­ron­ment Group has wel­comed the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s move to ban sin­gle-use plas­tic bags from next year as a pos­i­tive first step now in the bag.

Sin­gle-use plas­tic bags com­monly found at su­per­mar­ket check­outs will be banned in Vic­to­ria from 2018, with re­tail­ers cau­tiously back­ing the move.

The ban will come into place af­ter a three­month con­sul­ta­tion process with con­sumers and in­dus­try, En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Lily D’Am­bro­sio said last week.

‘‘In the first half of next year we will have a de­sign scheme for the ban and a com­mence­ment date,’’ she said.

But while check­out bags will be banned, lighter-weight bags used for fruit and veg­etable pack­ag­ing will still be avail­able.

Heav­ier plas­tic bags favoured by many cloth­ing re­tail­ers won’t be in­cluded ei­ther.

GVEG pres­i­dent John Pet­ti­grew said peo­ple only needed to wait un­til the next flash flood to see first hand the nui­sance plas­tic bags caused to the re­gion’s rivers.

The group has dis­cussed the sim­mer­ing is­sue and had looked at ways a ban might be im­ple­mented lo­cally, sug­gest­ing ef­forts to in­flu­ence small in­de­pen­dent gro­cers in the area be­fore hop­ing to fol­low suit with big­ger play­ers.

‘‘It’s some­thing we des­per­ately need,’’ Mr Pet­ti­grew said.

While im­pacts on the ocean aren’t seen lo­cally, the GVEG pres­i­dent said one doesn’t need to live far from the Goul­burn River to see detri­men­tal ef­fects.

‘‘I’m not a sci­en­tist, but I would have thought there’s sim­i­lar is­sues . . . within the rivers.

‘‘You see the re­sult each time we get a flash flood . . . is­lands of plas­tics,’’ he said.

‘‘Not all th­ese are one-use plas­tic bags, but we’re cer­tainly do­ing a bet­ter job than we were do­ing in the past.’’

Op­po­si­tion Leader Matthew Guy la­belled the an­nounce­ment ‘‘pan­icked’’ and ‘‘bizarre’’.

‘‘The idea is cer­tainly wor­thy, but it’s been an­nounced with­out any de­tail,’’ he said.

Mr Pet­ti­grew said GVEG would seek to bet­ter un­der­stand what was be­ing pro­posed and ‘‘whether that will achieve what we think is nec­es­sary and not’’.

‘‘This is at­tack­ing one area of plas­tics, there’s cer­tainly other plas­tics out there,’’ he said.

‘‘I would have thought this is a very good first step.’’

The an­nounce­ment fol­lows a move by su­per­mar­ket gi­ants Wool­worths and Coles to phase out free sin­gle-use plas­tic bags from July 2018.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.