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The Conservation Council ACT Region joined with other members of the Boomerang Alliance to call on all the Australian Environment Ministers to phase out plastic bags at their next meeting in November 2016.


AFROCAB; Australian Conservation Foundation;  Australian Marine Conservation Society; Arid Lands Environment Centre; Beach Patrol; Cairns and Far North Coast Environment Centre; Clean Up Australia; Conservation Council ACT Region;  Conservation Council of South Australia; Conservation Council of Western Australia; Cooks River Alliance; Cooks River Valley Association; Environment Centre NT; Environment Tasmania; Environment Victoria; Friends of the Earth; Greenpeace Australia Pacific; LEAD Group; Living Ocean; Mineral Policy Institute; Nature Conservation Council of NSW; Project AWARE Foundation; Queensland Conservation Council; Responsible Runners; SEA LIFE Conservation Trust; Surfrider Foundation Australia; Take 3; Tangaroa Blue Foundation; Tasmanian Conservation Trust; Total Environment Centre; Two Hands Project; Wildlife Preservation Society of Qld; The Lane Cove Sustainability Action Group; Positive Change for Marine Life; Boomerang Bags; Keep Bundeena Beautiful; Plastic Bag Free NSW; Plastic Bag Free Victoria; Plastic Bag Free Moreland; Plastic Bag Free Torquay; Plastic Bag Free Yarraville; 10c Makes Sense; Plastic Bag Free Frankston; Plastic Bag Free Echuca/Moama; Bottle for Botol; Ocean Grove Coast Care; Barwon Heads Sustainability.


Boomerang Alliance
11 November 2016

Dear Ministers,

Everyone knows we have a problem. Plastic bags are wasteful and deadly to wildlife and will always be so – they don’t go away, only break up into smaller, more dangerous pieces.

In two weeks time you will be meeting with the other Environment Ministers in Australia and we want to hear that you are taking action.

In 2005 every Australian government agreed to phase out plastic bags but only four have. NSW, QLD and Victoria have sat on their hands and done nothing.  [shame!!]

One year ago (11 November 2015) we wrote to all the Australian Environment Ministers:

“At the last meeting of environment ministers the issue of removing plastic bags from the litter stream and marine environment was discussed.  Since that time the need for a ban and significantly reducing the landfilling of plastic has become even more urgent.

There is increasing evidence that even though a small percentage of bags are littered and then broken up into smaller and smaller pieces – they have a devastating impact on the environment.  This includes so called ‘biodegradable’ bags, which are just as dangerous in the marine environment.”

This is still the case.

In February 2016 we wrote again with our joint Position Paper, including ten recommendations, which you considered at your meeting at Taronga Zoo:

“A Commonwealth/State Government plastics agenda should be about reducing and then eliminating this threat and working internationally with other jurisdictions on complementary and effective global solutions.

In Australia an immediate policy response should be to introduce restrictions on single use plastic packaging and its avoidance, in favour of alternative reusable packaging and practices. Due to the long delays and policy review roadblocks in Commonwealth Government processes – state action is favoured.”

Nine months ago, NSW, QLD and Victoria agreed to work together and deal with plastic bags. As previous bans show, the community changed their behaviour and it became popular.

In April 2016 the Senate Inquiry into Marine Plastic Pollution recommendations added strength to our call – especially Recommendation 21:

8.91 The committee recommends that the Australian Government support states and territories in banning the use of single-use lightweight plastic bags. In doing so, the Australian Government should ensure that alternatives do not result in other pollutants entering the environment.

A harmonised phase-out of these harmful, un-necessary products will make an enormous difference to our marine wildlife, reduce waste of finite resources and bring us more in line with global movements to address the toxic tide of plastic in the marine environment.

It is time for ACTION on single-use plastic bags. Do not delay any longer.

Kind regards,

Lisa Wriley, Boomerang Alliance

Boomerang Alliance · 99 Devonshire St, Level 1, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Australia