Tasmanians disappointed about bags


The Tasmanian town of Coles Bay was the first in Australia to ban plastic shopping bags. (ABC News: Giulio Saggin)

The Tasmanian Government has ruled out unilateral action to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags.

The Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, met his state and territory counterparts in Melbourne yesterday, but they failed to reach agreement.

The Greens have called for Tasmania to act anyway and introduce a bag levy or ban.

Tasmania’s Minister, Michelle O’Byrne, says she argued for a national levy, but introducing it just locally would be unfair to Tasmanians.

"We’re still working towards our target of phasing out from January, 2009," she said.

"I would have like to have seen a national levy, I think that probably would have been the simplest mechanism.

"It wasn’t going to happen, despite some really good support from other states, or other jurisdictions, so lets see what we can make out of the next stage."

Ben Kearney led a campaign five years ago which saw all stores at Coles Bay, on Tasmania’s east coast, ban plastic shopping bags.

It was a first for the nation.

Mr Kearney says he had hoped for a better outcome from yesterday’s meeting.

"I’m extremely disappointed that you know our own Tasmanian government couldn’t show more leadership on this at the same time very pleased to find out that the whole state of South Australia are going to do a Coles Bay and ban them anyway," he said.

Greens Deputy leader, Nick McKim, says Tasmania should act anyway.

"It’s well beyond time for Tasmania, the clean, green state to show some leadership," he said.

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