Labor vows to ban plastic bags
The Federal Opposition has vowed to ban plastic shopping bags if retailers do not meet voluntary targets to phase them out.
Environment spokesman Kelvin Thomson gained shadow cabinet approval for a ban last year, and the policy was to have been announced by former leader Simon Crean the weekend he resigned last December.
The Opposition rejected a levy on bags because it would have been too similar to the 25 cent levy proposed by Greens senator Bob Brown and independent MP Peter Andren.
The Opposition believes the campaign by Planet Ark for bag free towns, such as in Huskisson, NSW, and Coles Bay, Tasmania, proves bags can be eradicated without a levy or tax. A adidas trainers levy was introduced in Ireland, resulting in an almost immediate reduction in bags. South Africa legislated against certain types of plastic bags last year. Bags under a certain thickness are illegal, and retailers who di adidas trainers stribute them face a hefty fine or jail sentence.
Australians use 6.9 billion bags annually.
State and federal environment ministers want retailers to try to halve bag use by 2005. Federal Environment Minister David Kemp says the arrangement will result in plastic bags being phased out by 2008. But NSW Premier Bob Carr last week said he was not satisfied that the voluntary approach was working, and is investigating how NSW could introduce a ban.
The Federal Opposition is pitching for the environment vote, with lead adidas trainers er Mark Latham heading to Tasmania next week to tou adidas trainers r old growth forests with Senator Brown.
It has been working on environment policies to separate it from the Government. It supports ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and is committed to a higher mandatory target for renewable energy.