PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS BAN BILL 2013
Mrs ARMITAGE ( Launceston ) - Mr Deputy President, this is a first step. I will not repeat everything that has already been said by other members because I agree with the member for Montgomery in her contribution, that I do not need to use 100 words when two will do.
Ms Forrest - You've already used more than two.
Mrs ARMITAGE - I am hoping other members might take notice of the member for Montgomery's speech earlier. I am sure the members I am referring to know who they are.
We have become a throwaway society but I believe this bill is a good start and a good initiative. People will complain for a while, there is not any doubt about that because we are used to it. I am serial offender, just like other members here. I use the bags for my rubbish and all sorts of things. Unlike the member for Windermere, I have never put them on and worn them, but I understand now why the member for Apsley says they are called a singlet bag. Obviously they are warm and that is possibly the reason.
I commend Coles Bay because they did this a long time ago and it has taken us a long time to catch up. People will get used to it; they will complain for a while. It is like anything, after a while you will not remember when it started. We are all used to that type of bag. There is an issue, as the member for Windermere said, about re-using bags, particularly with meat. You get meat and even though it is wrapped in plastic it does leak. If it is going into cloth bags, I am not sure how washable they are. There will be some issues, I am quite sure, but anything can be overcome.
I remember going back to the old string bags. I have some plastic string bags, which sounds a bit of a conundrum, but that is what they were. I still have some and I am going to dig them out because they were wonderful. They did not rot; they just shrank away and you could use them time and time again.
Some of the statistics I read were interesting - the fact they have been around for 30 years. It is estimated that we use 1 trillion bags every year, so we use and discard 1 trillion bags every year.
Mr Mulder - We are addicted.
Mrs ARMITAGE - We are addicted. Australians use more than 10 million new bags every day. It is estimated that around 50 million bags go into the Australian litter stream every year unless they are collected. That is an absolutely staggering number. The product kills more than 1 million seabirds, and 100 000 marine animals die every year through ingestion of plastic bags. I think that is a good reply to people who say to us, 'Why are you doing this?' and 'How could you people be so stupid as to get rid of plastic bags?'.
There are paper bags, cloth bags, and reusable bags. As the member for Hobart said, we are not getting rid of biodegradable bags. There will be an alternative we can use.
I support the bill; it is a great start.