No national levy to be enforced on plastic bags

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 17th April 2008

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has announced there will be no national levy adopted on plastic bags following a meeting with state and territory ministers in Melbourne today. The levy was considered to be unfair on households already struggling to cope with rising interest rates and inflation.

However, Mr Garrett identified the need for change and claimed that state governments will be working harder with retailers to ensure that there is increased action to reduce the use of plastic bags. “We’ve identified the need for an urgent working group to be established between government and industry to look at making sure retailers are exploring all the options they have in front of them to increase the use of the green recycle bags and to lessen the use of the single-use bags,” he said.

The Victorian Government are now considering going against the grain and enforcing laws which would place taxes of between 10 and 25 cents on plastic bags. Together with the Australian National Retailers Association they have indicated that a levy will be trialled at major retail outlets in two locations within Victoria. The Victorian Government will await results of the trial to determine whether a levy is an appropriate solution. The ACT and WA Governments may follow suit by completing similar trials while South Australia is still determined to put a statewide ban on plastic grocery bags by next January.