The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said Labor’s plastic bag ban has been bungled.
“It is another example of the Andrews Government’s mishandling just like we have seen with Victoria’s recycling crisis, our inadequate farm trespass laws, the kangaroo pet food trial and the Solar Homes Program to name a few,” said Ms Bath.
“The Andrews Government are expert at making good ideas so complicated they risk becoming unworkable.
“Victoria’s plastic bag ban was high on hype, but this straight forward and good idea has faltered due to Labor’s poor planning and communication.
“The Andrews Government failed to properly consult with retailers and research the standards within other Australian states and territories.”
Victoria’s plastic bag ban comes into effect on 1 November 2019 and applies to single use lightweight plastic bags less than 36 microns. Retailers can be fined up to $49,500 for distributing plastic bags that do not comply.
Ms Bath said the it has become a retailing headache as Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory have banned plastic bags less than 35 microns, one micron less than Victoria.
“Plastic bag bans commenced within Australia over 11 years ago”, said Ms Bath.
“It beggars belief that the Andrews Government didn’t do their homework and research the standards within Australia’s other states and territories.
“Making Victoria’s plastic bag ban standard 1 micron different than majority of Australia is ridiculous.
“A commitment to genuine consultation with the retail sector or even a quick google search would have easily identified the problem and ensured a standardised approach.
“Victorian retailers now have to seek an exemption to use up their reusable 35 micron bags, dump their bags into the waste or risk facing fines.
Ms Bath said consumers are genuinely concerned about plastic waste and the environment, so it was important for the ban to be introduced seamlessly without ambiguity.
“The public and our retailers want to do the right thing, but Labor has made the transition away from lightweight single use plastic bags difficult.
“It would be sensible for Victoria to change their standard for plastic bags to the same as other states and territories as retail is a global business,” Ms Bath said.
In support of the commitment to reducing plastic in the environment, Melina Bath MP is giving away free useable bags to her constituents.
Free reusable shopping bags can be picked up from Ms Bath’s State Parliament Electoral office at 181 Franklin Street Traralgon Monday – Friday during business hours.