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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4565 ..

created a seemingly insurmountable problem in the past, we are beginning to see the possibilities of change.

Tasmania’s Panama festival is a testament to the effectiveness of plastic-free events. In 2017, Panama counted and reported the amount of rubbish that had been left behind on the site. A biodegradable cup, a Bunnings receipt, part of a Pokemon card and a tiny spatter of nondescript rubbish is all that was left behind. That is four pieces of rubbish from 1,600 people over three days. Such an incredible result highlights just how much of an impact we can make when we put our focus into plastic-free initiatives.

There is an undeniable and exciting trend toward plastic-free events in this country, as well as internationally. From these examples we get to see means of plastic reduction tried and tested, and often successfully making a significant impact on the waste produced. The ACT government now has the opportunity to follow this lead and take an important step toward plastic reduction by hosting its first plastic-free event.

The responsibility to reduce our usage of single-use plastic is incumbent on all of us. In saying this, we must accept the greater incumbent responsibility of a government to assist the community in undertaking important behavioural changes. Reducing plastic waste from events is vitally important, especially in our bush capital. Here in the ACT, we are constantly surrounded by our natural environment and wildlife. When excessively used and not properly disposed of, this is often where our plastic ends up.

With some of our largest events located next to some of our most precious natural spaces, we need to make sure that we are being diligent. It is no secret that where there are people, there is plastic. It is important for us as leaders in sustainable practice to show that where there is plastic, there is a change to be made.

It is important to note that this motion, with the support of the government, will be another step forward for the ACT government to increase its commitment to environmental sustainability. I encourage all members to join me in taking this step and in continuing to find other meaningful ways to reduce plastic use in the ACT. It is vital that we continue to protect our natural environment here in Canberra and this motion seeks to do just that. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (3.36): I thank Ms Orr for bringing on this motion for debate. As Canberrans we pride ourselves on our environmental consciousness. We consider ourselves to be good recyclers, efficient conservators of water and big supporters of renewable energy.

Canberra banned plastic shopping bags in 2011, although we were not the first to do so. A town in Tasmania is recorded as starting a plastic bag ban in 2003 and South Australia went plastic bag free in 2009. The Northern Territory ban started in 2011 and a Tasmania-wide plastic bag ban came into effect in 2013. Queensland and Western Australia joined in the ban from 1 July this year, while Victoria is planning to introduce bans from 2020.

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