Greens plastic bag levy legislation “slammed” by ARA

Posted by Editorial on 16th May 2008

Legislation to apply a 25c levy on plastic bags was introduced to the senate by the Australian Greens Party yesterday. According to the Greens, similar laws have resulted in reducing plastic bag use by up to 90% in countries like Ireland.

The proposed legislation follows a meeting of State and Federal Environment Ministers last month, which discussed the potential for a national plastic bag levy. The idea of a levy was discounted due to concerns it might be unfair to households already struggling with rising interest rates and inflation.

The Greens were very disappointed with the outcome of the meetings and have introduced the bill to the senate as a result. “Australians throw away 4 billion plastic bags every year.” Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said at the time. “The ministers have instead decided to continue to support voluntary action from retailers, which last year saw plastic bag use skyrocket by almost 40%.”

Peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has slammed the Green Party’s Plastic Bag Levy legislation.

ARA Executive Director Richard Evans said just when working families of Australia get some respite from a difficult economy with proposed tax cuts – the Greens want to increase grocery prices. “Rather than favouring an increase in grocery prices perhaps the Greens should allow the retail industry to continue to work with the Government to resolve the complex issue of plastic bags and their supposed impact upon the environment,” he said.

“Introducing a levy on plastic bags will increase grocery prices and working families do not want that. The Greens are obviously out of touch with the needs of working families,” Evans concluded.