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Thursday, 26 September 2002
Page: 4955

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (9.40 a.m.)—At the request of Senator Allison, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) that Australians use an estimated 13 million plastic bags a year,

(ii) that the introduction of a plastic bag levy in Ireland in March 2002 has totally changed consumer behaviour so now about 90 per cent of people bring their own bags to avoid paying the levy,

(iii) the serious, and sometimes fatal, impact plastic bags have on Australia's native fauna and flora, and an estimated 100 000 birds, whales, seals and turtles around the world,

(iv) that, according to research conducted by the Council for the Encouragement of Philanthropy, 85 per cent of shoppers in Australia support a levy on plastic bags, and

(v) the recent comments by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage (Dr Kemp) that the Government is considering a plastic bag levy if measures under the National Packaging Covenant fail;

(b) congratulates the Council for the Encouragement of Philanthropy in Australia for its research and lobbying for a levy on plastic bags; and

(c) urges the Federal Government to consider a levy on plastic bags as a priority, independent of the National Packaging Covenant.


Senator Brown —Mr President, on a point of order: I support this motion but note that my information is that six billion plastic bags are issued in Australia each year.


The PRESIDENT —That is no point of order, Senator. You are lucky that you got away with it.

Question agreed to.


Senator Brown —I wish to record my support for that motion and the government's opposition.


The PRESIDENT —I do not think you can speak on behalf of the government, Senator. You have made the point.