Taxpayer group opposes plastic bag ban


A PLAN to ban plastic bags on the Mornington Peninsula is likely to run foul of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.

The ATA, which claims to represent all taxpayers, said banning plastic bags “would hurt both small businesses and the environment”.

Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors have given the go ahead for $165,000 to be spent on the first stage of a program designed to wipe out single use plastic items, including plastic bags (“Shire plans to ban plastics” The News 16/10/19).

The mayor Cr David Gill told The News that councillors wanted the ban “done quicker” than the two years suggested by shire officers.

Councillors were “very intent on doing it right” and believed tighter deadlines should apply to ending the use of single use plastic items by the shire “to show people we’re serious”.

Waste services team leader Daniel Hinson told councillors in a report that there was no precedent of a successful shire-wide ban in Australia “given the requirement for changes to the local by-laws and potential concern from traders who may not support the ban and may request compensation for lost business”.

The ATA’s communications manager Emilie Dye said producing reinforced bags or “totes” would be an added cost to small grocers who “already have it hard enough competing with Coles and Woolworths”.

“While corporate supermarkets virtue signal that they care about the environment, they care about profits more,” she said.

“To make things worse, plastic bag bans fail in their core mission. Unless you use your tote 7100 times before buying a new one you are causing more harm to the environment than if you chose to use traditional plastic bags. It is ridiculous to assume households do not reuse traditional plastic bags. Because of the plastic bag shortage, people now must purchase bags for the sole purpose of picking up dog poop, lining small trash bins, and any number of other everyday chores.”

The list of single use plastics facing a ban in the shire includes balloons, drink containers, coffee cups and lids, straws, bags, plates and cutlery, takeaway food containers and promotional items.

“Whether it is a plastic bag ban or an attack on plastic straws, environmental regulation tends to backfire,” Ms Dye said.

First published in the Mornington News – 22 October 2019


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