PARLIAMENT has again stymied the City of Fremantle’s push to ban plastic bags.
The City’s first attempt to get the Plastic Bag Local Law passed hit a snag in 2013 when the Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation rejected it because of a clause that would have had retailers charge customers to take plastic bags.
The clause was deleted and the law resubmitted, but earlier this year North Metropolitan MLC Peter Katsambanis put forward a motion of disallowance to again block the law.
During the Legislative Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Mr Katsambanis said a number of North Fremantle residents and businesses had approached him opposing the new law, but he declined to elaborate on which businesses, saying they feared reprisal from the City.
South Metropolitan MLCs Sue Ellery, Lynn MacLaren and North Metropolitan MLC Ken Travers questioned the reasons behind the rejection, saying no local residents had approached any of them opposing the issue.
Ms Ellery argued that if residents were against the ban, it
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said they were disappointed such a “widely supported law” had been blocked.
“We’re really disappointed that as a local government, we’ve been unsuccessful in progressing a proactive law that is not only within our jurisdiction but has been instigated by our local businesses and community members,” he said.
“Mr Katsambanis offered up no proof of retailers fearing reprisal from the City and frankly, I think this kind of gossip was inappropriate to include in a parliamentary debate.
“The City found the business community overwhelmingly supported the initiative but there would certainly not have been any reprisal towards local businesses if they didn’t support the proposed law.”
Dr Pettitt said they would now concentrate on education and support to increase the use of sustainable materials locally.
Ms MacLaren said it was a “case of complete over-reach”.
“The City of Fremantle is legally entitled to respond to a campaign by its electors to introduce this local law and there is nothing to justify state parliamentarians disallowing it on what are purely ideological and political grounds.”
Mr Katsambanis did not provide comment before the Gazette’s deadline.