Labor backs plastic bags ban says Fremantle MLA McGurk

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE new State Government will not stand in the way of a local government ban on plastic bags, |according to Fremantle MLA |Simone McGurk.

The statement came after Town of East Fremantle councillors voted to go ahead with drafting a local law banning single-use plastic bags. Since the issue was before council last July, East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill said a lot of work had been done.

“A lot of discussion and further research was undertaken leading to the report that was presented to council on Tuesday night seeking authority to advertise the proposed local law for public comment,” he said.

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“The Town canvassed local businesses to both seek their support and to ensure that there was minimal impact upon their business.”

A survey of local businesses in November returned five responses, three of which supported the ban. One respondent against the ban – a “major supermarket” – said its opposition was based on 10 per cent of customers were already declining plastic bags.

Mr O’Neill said the Town hoped the new State Government would be more supportive than the previous one, which twice blocked the City of Fremantle’s attempt to enforce its own local law in 2013 and 2015.

Ms McGurk said WA Labor would not obstruct local governments from introducing “smart and effective measures to reduce waste.”

“Personally, I supported the City of Fremantle’s move to trial a ban and along with our government’s plan to establish a container deposit scheme for WA, it will help reduce the amount of waste going into landfill,” she said.

Mr O’Neill said while it would be great for the State Government to take a lead role, he did not see why it could not be done by local government.

“There appears to be growing support for the idea within local governments across the state,” he said.

Single-use plastic bag bans already exist in South Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory.

The WA Local Government Association has yet to pick a side in the argument but president Lynne Craigie said it was seeking feedback from councils, which would then be used to inform its position on the issue.

“WALGA has contacted councils to ask for their feedback on the impacts of plastic pollution in their local government, any action they may be taking to address the issue and whether they support a statewide ban on single use shopping bags,” she said.