Anger at effort to ban plastic bags

The city has been pushing to implement the Plastic Bag Local Law for the past few years, aiming to stop retailers providing single-use non-bio-degradable plastic bags to customers, but Parliament block-ed its first attempt in 2013.

The city resubmitted a tweaked version to Parliament, but Liberal MLC Peter Katsambanis tabled a notice of motion to disallow it in May.

Conservation Council of Western Australia director Piers Verstegen said parliamentary members should be supporting laws that protect the environment.

�Whether it is supporting the community to reduce plastic pollution, opposing nuclear activities, protecting forests or protecting land and water against unwanted invasive gas fracking, local government has a critical role in working with communities to address environment and sustainability changes,� he said.

�If Mr Katsambanis is acting on behalf of businesses to block community-initiated environmental reforms, then the community has a right to know which businesses he is acting on behalf of.

�We call on Mr Katsambanis to remove his disallowance motion and we call on the WA Parliament to support the important role that local government has in protecting the environment and acting in the interests of communities.�

Mr Katsambanis said that in the past few weeks many Fremantle residents and small retailers had contacted him and he said they were fearful a ban on plastic bags would drive customers away from Fremantle.

�Many people who have contacted me have been very worried that if they went public with their concerns they would become subject to retaliatory bans, intimidation and other negative actions,� he said.

�The heightened rhetoric from groups like the CCWA is not helpful to an open and honest statewide debate on the issue.�

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the city had received support from a number of Perth mayors and that the disallowance was interfering with legitimate local government law making powers.