Bega MP Andrew Constance backs 'comprehensive approach' to plastic problem

At Hanging Rock, Batemans Bay, Shadow Minister for Environment Kate Washington MP meets with Eurobodalla environmentalists to discuss the NSW single-use plastic bag ban. Picture: Kate Washington MP media.
At Hanging Rock, Batemans Bay, Shadow Minister for Environment Kate Washington MP meets with Eurobodalla environmentalists to discuss the NSW single-use plastic bag ban. Picture: Kate Washington MP media.

A vote will be held in the NSW lower house to ban single-use plastic bags across the state in the next sitting of parliament.

Labor introduced a private members bill which was recently supported in the NSW upper house.

Shadow Minister for Environment Kate Washington spoke with Eurobodalla Shire environmentalists at Hanging Rock, Batemans Bay, on Friday, October 4.

She hoped Bega MP Andrew Constance would "reflect community wishes and support this bill".

Mr Constance said Environment Minister Matt Kean MP was working on something "more comprehensive than just the examination of single-use plastic bags".

"There's a whole raft of plastics which are harming our environment," Mr Constance said.

He said the "return and earn scheme" was on track in reducing litter across the community by 40 per cent.

"There are means and ways to reduce the amount of plastics in our environment," he said.

"There are all sorts of things beyond single-use plastic bags."

He said reducing single-use plastic bags would be looked at by the minister, and there were already some community initiatives in place.

"We are seeing initiatives running by our retailers already in terms of encouraging reuse of plastic bags," Mr Constance said.

Labor member Maureen Searson, of Batemans Bay, said that approach "isn't enough".

She said the ban was "an important start" and asked Mr Constance to "reflect community wishes".

Ms Washington said the fact NSW was the only state in Australia that hasn't banned single-use plastic bags "reflects shamefully on this government".

"Australians use more than four billion plastic bags every year - ten million or so each day - and we estimate 50 million of these plastic bags end up in our waterways and oceans," she said.

"Thirty per cent of the world's turtles and ninety per cent of seabirds have now ingested plastic debris.

"C'mon NSW, let's ban the bag!"

Nature Coast Marine Group president Bill Barker believed Eurobodalla residents were "united in their desire to protect our waters from plastic pollution".

"Sure, there are many things that need to be done. But a complete ban on single use plastic bags is an obvious and straightforward step, and one which has been taken by every other state in Australia."

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