City frustrated with blocking of innovative Fremantle plastic bag law

The State Government’s response in the parliamentary debate on the Fremantle Council’s proposed plastic bag ban in parliament was riddled with contradictions. On one hand Liberal MLCs stated that this should be a matter for state government and they should be the ones introducing such a law not the City of Fremantle. And the in the next breath said they had no intention of banning single-use plastic bags! The Freo local law was sent to the Upper Houses committee for delegated legislation for examination. After examination no problems or issues were identified but Liberal MPs still claimed it was outside of local jurisdiction despite having no basis for this. In the end this vote was about ideology not evidence. I am just glad we don’t have this dumbed down party political debate at a local government level where people have no choice as to how they vote.

To the community members that put in hours/days/weeks of work into this. I am sorry for this result but thankful for you amazing work. I honestly believe though that the day that single-use plastic bags are banned in Fremantle and hopefully WA is not that far away.

Here is the ABC reporting on this and the City of Fremantle press release:

Press Release 14 October 2015

The City of Fremantle is bitterly disappointed its innovative local law designed to reduce plastic waste in Fremantle has been blocked by the Legislative Council for the second time in three years.

The City of Fremantle Plastic Bag Local Law would prohibit retailers providing customers with single–use non–biodegradable plastic bags and was amended and resubmitted after a similar law was blocked in 2013. In May 2015, Liberal MLC Hon Peter Katsambanis moved a disallowance motion against the amended submission which was officially moved last night (13 October) in state parliament.

“We’re really disappointed that as a local government, we’ve been unsuccessful in progressing a proactive law that is not only within our jurisdiction under the Local Government Act 1995, but has been instigated by our local businesses and community members,” said Fremantle Mayor, Brad Pettitt.

“It’s unfortunate the state government has blocked such a widely supported law that would have pioneered a sensible approach to waste reduction and environmental protection, especially after all the community consultation and amendments we’ve undertaken over the last three years. There are several other local government authorities, both in Western Australia and in other parts of the country that will also be disappointed and discouraged by this decision.” Dr Pettitt said.

Fremantle Council will now focus its efforts on continuing to provide education and support for the use of sustainable materials by local retailers and the community, in order to reduce the use of plastic bags and maintain its commitment to delivering sustainable outcomes as a One Planet Council.

Sustainability challenges faced by local governments, including plastic bag reduction will be discussed at WA’s first sustainability festival event, One Planet Fest-a-Con Anti-Conference on 23 and 24 October.

For more information and background on the plastic bag law click here.


About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

4 Responses to City frustrated with blocking of innovative Fremantle plastic bag law

  1. Emma Anda says:

    I am so impressed with the council’s stamina and resolve on this. Keep at it, it is wonderful to see. Dinosaurs pollies, let them all become extinct from suffocating due to their heads being inserted deep in toxic mud.

  2. I wonder who is profiting from plastic bags? What industries are benefitting in keeping plastic bags in stores and what is their relationship with the State Government? Since simple, environmental logic with the Legislative Council is failing on this issue, I wonder what would happen if we follow the dollar?

    • Benjamin says:

      The concept of freedom and liberty is profiting! Let people decide for themselves whether they want to stop using bags. If they don’t then quite frankly its no one else’s business.

      Let me ask you Jean-Paul – are you vegetarian? If not, why not? It is by far the most dramatic way to reduce your carbon foot print. Even if you are, consider the concept that the local government decided to ban meat in Fremantle because it was bad for the environment.

      These are two vastly different scenarios based on the same premise which is that government can dictate how you live your life for the sake of the environment. It is only our belief system that makes one seem ludicrous and another seem doable. But in reality, they are both the same thing – simply a case of a local government treading where it has no business treading.

  3. Benjamin says:

    I think that this was a brilliant outcome.

    Council should resist butting into the day to day lives of honest shoppers and retailers.

    I agree with the state government’s assessment that this is not what local government should be focussing on.

    I fail to see the contradiction. By your logic, by saying that this should be a matter for state government that they should be the ones to ban them and that failing to do so is a contradiction. That makes no sense. All the were saying was that this is state business, not local. I couldn’t agree more.

    If retailers want to stop using plastic bags, then they can. If shoppers want to stop accepting them, then they can. But stop trying to force your ideologies on people who clearly disagree with you. I can tell you that they disagree with you with certainty because they are not doing this voluntarily.

    The stealthy green takeover of the local government took a hit today.

    Perhaps if you focussed more on tree cover and open spaces and reducing building density (and hence population increases) we would be headed towards a greener future.

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