Shire of Chittering calls for State Government to take lead on helium balloon ban

Stock image.
Stock image.

A LOCAL council wants the State Government to lead the way on banning helium balloons.

The Shire of Chittering said it would support a ban at a State Government level and urged the public to reduce their use of balloons.

The Shire has started its own campaign for residents to stop using helium balloons, inspired by the Keep Australia Beautiful WA campaign.

A Shire of Chittering spokesman said the Shire did not endorse the releasing of balloons and encouraged anyone considering using them to seek another method for any celebration or commemoration.

He said balloons had a similar effect as plastic bags, with many dead animals found with remnants of balloons inside them.

“Since February 16 the Shire has started distributing fact sheets to those organising local public events to discourage the mass release of balloons within the Shire of Chittering and raise awareness around the environmental impact that the practice can cause,” he said.

“The Shire does not currently have an adopted position regarding such matters and would likely be guided by State Government initiatives similar to the plastic bag ban.”

The Town of East Fremantle and Town of Cottesloe have banned the release of helium balloons, while NSW and Queensland both have legislation banning the mass release of helium balloons.

Greens MLC Robin Chapple introduced a Bill to Parliament last year which would ban the supply of plastic bags, balloons, plastic drinking straws, and polyethylene and polystyrene packaging.

He said the Bill would be modified if State Government legislation for a ban on single-use plastic bags went ahead.

Mr Chapple said he hoped his Private Members’ Bill would be debated in March.

Though he believed it should be a State Government issue, he was in talks with the WA Local Government Association to develop uniform legislation on the matter.

“A number of high schools and councils are now implementing their own bans on the release of helium balloons,” he said.

“If the State Government puts out legislation to ban balloons it would take the pressure off local government but we are working with WALGA to come up with their own uniform model that each council could sign off on.”

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the State Government was concerned about the impacts of waste, including plastic, on the environment but had no plans for a ban on balloons.

“The McGowan Labor government has no current plans to legislate a state-wide ban on the release of balloons, however it supports efforts to raise public awareness of the unintended consequences of releasing balloons during celebrations,” he said.

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