Single-use Plastic bags 2015
Mr ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (10.15 pm): Last week I met with a concerned group of Noosa residents who came to my electorate office and presented me with the results of their campaign to get rid of single-use plastic bags. This campaign is being spearheaded by the Noosa Community Biosphere Association, who have been extremely active in securing support from members of the local, national and even international communities. Support has been received from the local business community and local organisations as well as the Noosa council and mayor, Tourism Noosa, Australia Zoo and Bob Irwin. Thirteen hundred signatures were collected in short order, and for the benefit of the House I table the nonconforming petition and letters of support.
Tabled paper: Non-conforming petition from the Noosa Community Biosphere Association regarding a proposed ban on plastic
Research articles from The Guardian newspaper in London, Taronga Zoo, the American Chemical Society and our own Queensland Wildlife Preservation Society have reported that plastics are found inside animals across the ocean food chain, and this ingestion has caused the death of countless seabirds, ocean mammals and turtles, some of which are part of our food chain. I have read that, not only are these small pieces of plastic being ingested by marine creatures, but that the larger pieces can and do strangle or suffocate animals such as seals, and the chemicals contained within these plastics pollute both the environment and animal life. Biodegradable bags might degrade in soil, but they are certainly not degradable in the ocean. Plastic just breaks down into smaller and smaller parts which are mostly invisible to our eyes.
Last month's American Chemical Society articles states—Most diners in China who season their meals with sea salt may be unwittingly consuming microscopic pieces of plastic pollution.
Single-use plastic bags do not just affect our oceans but have some significant impact on our land environment as well. Whether it is the exorbitant and ever-increasing cost borne by local councils who have to clean up plastic litter to the high cost of production of single-use plastic bags, there can be no doubting the urgency of a sensible management strategy. In the Noosa community, people power has seen a push which began largely at Peregian Beach and has spread throughout the shire. Noosa prides itself via its biosphere status on being a natural and sustainable environment, and single-use plastic bags have no place in it. Other jurisdictions have already acted.
In Queensland we are yet to decide whether this is an issue to be tackled top down from the state government or bottom up through local people in local communities taking local action.
Mr Speaker, I will support either of the two.