Plastic bag ban: Ballarat City Council to decide on support

Cr Belinda Coates is proposing Ballarat City support a potential state government plastic bag ban. Picture: Dylan Burns
Cr Belinda Coates is proposing Ballarat City support a potential state government plastic bag ban. Picture: Dylan Burns

Ballarat City Council will consider its support for a plastic bag ban at supermarkets and shops at its ordinary meeting on Wednesday night.

Two petitions with more than 20,000 signatures between them were presented to the state parliament on Wednesday.

Cr Belinda Coates will move a notice of motion for council to write a letter to the government supporting the ban.

The Project host Waleed Aly has campaigned to make Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales plastic bag free and received more than 135,000 signatures on a petition. Queensland, the ACT, Northern Territory, Tasmania and South Australia have already banned or are in the process of banning plastic bags.

Cr Coates said because council could not enforce a ban, the government had to lead with a statewide effort.

“Many of those plastic bags end up down in the Yarrowee River and many travel quite a long way from our city, into the ocean and they become harmful to wildlife,” she said.

“We are a pretty progressive state, so to be dragging our feet on this when there are so many countries around the world that have banned the use of plastic bags.

“As much as we might think we have awareness about how much we use we really don’t.”

According to Greenpeace, Australians use about 10 million plastic bags a day.

Clean Up Australia estimates 150 million of these bags end up in Australian waterways.

The Western Australian Government announced earlier this month it would investigate the best way to implement a ban.

This includes either banning them outright, or placing a levy of about 10c on each bag.

The scope of bans also differs in each state, with some banning only supermarket bags and not larger bags from other retail outlets.

A large number of countries have completely banned plastic bags including developing nations such as Myanmar, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

France, Italy and the Netherlands have led the way on bans in Europe.

Coles and Woolworths complied with legislation in states where there is a ban.

Cr Coates said the supermarkets would not stop using bags without a new law.

“Council has a role in advocating to the state government to take the action,” she said.

This story Council decides bag ban support first appeared on The Courier.