Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1884..
ORS also reported acting on feedback from the community through such avenues as Canberra Connect. More recently, the ORS investigated an inquiry from a community member regarding the compliance of bags provided by retailers through online shopping services. The Office of Regulatory Services found that the bags provided, while similar in appearance to the now banned single-use bags, were not in breach of the legislation.
The review identified a number of issues raised by ACT retailers. The Plastic Bag Advisory Group, comprising major and smaller retailers, continued to report increased loss rates of shopping baskets and shopping trolleys following the introduction of the ban. Retailers also reported ongoing customer complaints regarding the unavailability of single-use bags, even though suitable alternative bags were provided. These complaints appear to be the exception rather than the norm.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those retailers who have contributed important confidential sales data to assist in the preparation of this review and for their patience and support throughout the implementation period.
It is clear from the review that the plastic bags ban continues to receive strong support from a majority of consumers with most primary shoppers continuing to use reusable bags when embarking on their weekly shopping trips. It is also worth noting the images that appear on the cover of the review showing the Mugga Lane landfill facility both before and after the introduction of the ban. It is clear from these images that the ban has been effective in reducing plastic bag litter and enhancing the visual appearance of the territory. Retailers have cooperated constructively with the ban and have provided low-cost alternatives for those of us who occasionally forget to bring our own bags.
From the data available, the ban appears to have reduced the plastic bag material going to landfill and decreased the number of shopping bags being distributed. The review recommends that the government undertake a further review of the ban in 2017. A review at this time will assess the ongoing effectiveness of the ban but also provide an insight into the impact of the plastic bag alternatives currently available or any changes to consumer behaviour. I support this recommendation and will instruct ESDD to undertake such a review at an appropriate time. Furthermore, TAMS will separately account for single-use plastic bags, textile bags and bin liners in ongoing landfill audits.
The review makes two further recommendations to the government: that the government continue the operation of the ban in its current form and further investigate options to further reduce plastic waste being interred in landfill. In response to the first recommendation, the government will continue the operation of the ban in its current form. In response to the second recommendation, the government will continue to investigate options to further reduce plastic waste being interred in landfill. I commend this review to the Assembly.
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