Tasmania, Australia's island state, is planning a ban on plastic bags. On November 10th, Mr. David O'Byrne committed to taking a proposal to Cabinet to implement a ban on lightweight plastic bags. Mr. O'Byrne is the Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage for the Government of Tasmania.
Mr. O'Byrne stated: “The Government is committed to reducing the impact of lightweight plastic bags on the environment, addressing littering and to increasing resource recovery and recycling". "The Government’s preference has always been for a national approach to addressing plastic bags, but the Environment Protection and Heritage Council has been unable to reach a resolution".
A motion was introduced in the Tasmanian Parliament last Wednesday and was passed. The motion was introduced by Greens MP and Cabinet Secretary, Cassie O'Conner, and received support of Labor and the Liberals. (1)
Ben Kearney and John Dee, Founding Directors of the Do Something! organisation, and the force behind the original ban on plastic bags in Coles Bay, Tasmania, expressed their support for the proposed ban.
"I was pleased to hear the Minister's commitment to moving forward on this important issue and particularly pleased to see tripartisan support for a ban,” Mr Kearney said.
"This move will enable Tasmania to resume it's global leadership on this issue and it will significantly benefit our environment. The Coles Bay ban reduced plastic bag use by 1.8 million bags. When this statewide ban is introduced, it will result in significantly more plastic bags being removed from circulation,” Mr Dee said.
The plastic bag ban is expected to take effect in about a year. Tasmania will join three other states, South Australia, ACT, and Northern Territory, that have a ban in place on plastic bags. Across the country of Australia, several cities and retailers have already banned plastic bags. In June, the Tweed Shire village of Chillingham became northern New South Wales (NSW)'s first town free of plastic bags.