Port Stephens MP Kate Washington calls on Liberals to support a blanket ban on single-use plastic bags

Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington has called on the Liberals to support a blanket ban on single-use plastic bags in the lead-up to the March state election.

“I am calling on the government to protect our precious wildlife, protect the Port Stephens environment, and match Labor’s pledge to ban single-use plastic bags,” the state Labor MP said.

“Port Stephens, and areas like it, will continue to suffer if NSW remains the only state refusing to act on this issue.”

The Port Stephens Liberal candidate Jaimie Abbott said that she supported the NSW Government’s position of voluntary phasing out of plastic bags by major retailers and said that the progress being made was impressive.

“Labor is refusing to give the current phase out a chance to work and are instead rushing into a ban that will hurt consumers and small businesses in our area,” Ms Abbott said.

Kate Washington and Penny Sharpe.

Kate Washington and Penny Sharpe.

Ms Washington said data indicated that even if all major supermarkets successfully banned plastic bags, around 10 million lightweight bags would still be littered in NSW each year.

“Labor is calling on the government to end the farce and commit to banning single-use plastic bags.”

Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe said that Labor had been calling on the government to support laws to ‘ban the bag’ since 2015, “however the NSW Liberals voted down legislation that would have implemented a ban in 2017”.

“The Bill was reintroduced by Labor in 2018, but the government failed to support it before lapsing late last year. All other states have acted to stop plastic bags polluting the environment and causing terrible carnage when ingested by animals such as dolphins, turtles, fish, and birds.”

The facts about the impact of plastic bags are clear:

  • Every second, 159 single-use plastic bags are used in Australia – more than 10 million each day;
  • In NSW, up to 61 million bags are littered each year;
  • 70 per cent of the rubbish entering our oceans is identified as plastic;
  • Plastic kills up to one million sea birds, countless fish and 100,000 sea mammals each year. ​