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April 16th 2012
Last “happy to support” Townsville plastic bag ban

Mayoral Candiate Dale Last Mayoral Candidate Dale Last, has responded to a call from Magnetic Island Nature Care (MINCA) saying he is ‘happy to support’ a phased in single-use plastic shopping bag ban across Townsville by June 2013.

The call was made by MINCA in conjunction with eight other local environment and community organisations.

Cr Last, one of the two most likely successful candidates for mayoralty, told Magnetic Times, ‘I’m hoping to talk to the (TCC) legal people this morning on the logistics to make it work. I think it will need that commitment and we may need to look at legislation.’

Wendy Tubman received an email from the Councillor last week saying, ‘I am more than happy to support this proposal’.

Clearly encouraged by Cr Last’s comments, Wendy Tubman told Magnetic Times, ‘I'm a great believer in 'where there's a will there's a way’.

When it comes to any possible legal hurdles, Ms Tubman said, ‘I'm not a lawyer, but maybe Local Law 3, the purpose of which is, “to protect the environment and public health, safety and amenity within the local government’s area”, might be worth looking at’.

The ban has, according to a report in the Townsville Bulletin, also been endorsed by another mayoral candidate, Harry Patel.

The other mayoral front runner, Cr Jenny Hill, was less committed, responding to MINCA’s letter saying she would seek a partnership in developing a program aimed at getting rid of single-use, non-biodegradable plastic bags.

Other candidates, Jeff Jimmieson and Brendan Porter either didn’t think it was possible or didn’t know how it could be done.

Following is a copy of the letter sent to all of the candidates (personalised for Cr Jenny Hill).

Story and photo: George Hirst

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Last “happy to support” Townsville plastic bag ban
Barb Gibbs
April 15th 2012
Well done, and hope it works. However, plastic bags are not the worst of it. The small chips of broken down plastic on the beaches is very dangerous to not only fish, but birds as well who feed them to their chicks. Go to the 5 Gyres web page for more info or like them on facebook for regular updates on international action. The best thing is to get the supermarkets and stores on the island to reduce the amount of plastic items they order in...then we may get somewhere. These messages were relayed in all 3 World Oceans Day events here...slow uptake. Go Last.
April 15th 2012
Of course a ban is possible, several communities have had plastic bag bans in place for years. So much so that those communities have almost forgotten about such bags - so ingrained are the new habits.
Towns in Tasmania and NSW have banned them since 2003, (11 years ago) and Victorian towns started from 2004. The NT banned them across the state last year.

Australians currently use 3.9 billion plastic bags annually, which means on overage over 10.6 million new bags are used every day, or that we each use 175 a year (Source Planet Ark report)

I would suggest that those on Magentic Island who remember seeing the gruesome encapsulation in perspex of the stomach contents of the whale which beached and died further north a few years ago - might care to describe that image to their friends! What that animal had digested, plastic bags, plastic fragments, pieces of synthetic rope etc, was not a pretty sight.

Many residents on Magnetic have opted to just not use the single use plastic bags at all, and for them the sky has not fallen in, they have just taught themselves to do what previous pre-plastic generations did - take a bag with you when you go shopping!
April 15th 2012
Love the Jenny Hill nothing-speak, seeking a partnership in developing a program aimed at blah blah blah
Jenny Stirling
April 15th 2012
Good one Dale, just imagine how much rubbish will be saved from going into Townsville tips and into the sea killing killing marine life.I can only imagine the publicity for Townsville as an example of responsible local governance.
April 16th 2012
It's great to see some commitment on this important issue - and good on MINCA for keeping up the fight for so long. It is not a difficult ban to live with. The older generations carried string bags to the store and wrapped items in paper - they coped just fine. We have the added benefit of light weight bags that fit into the pocket and can be reused numerous times. Now we know the damage that plastic bags cause to our environment, we have the responsibility to act.
Mark Hamann
April 16th 2012
I absolutely applaud the move to ban plastic bags in Townsville. Single use plastics are looming as one of the greatest threats to marine turtles and other wildlife in Australia and globally. We as a society need to ReThink our use of plastics - this includes banning the bag.
April 16th 2012
Thanks Dale for giving the plastic ban bag a go! I always try not to use or get given a plastic bag. If a ban cannot be done at least then there should be a significant charge for every bag "given away". If they cost $1 each it wouldn't take long for people to stop using them. Maybe the funds raised could go to waterway cleanups? I wish the supermarkets here on the Island (and everywhere!) wouldn't sell fruit and veges on foam trays wrapped in plastic. I try not to buy them but sometimes you can't avoid them. We as consumers need to avoid buying items that use excessive packaging and ask that our supermarkets demand this from their suppliers. It can be done!
April 16th 2012
There are many things that we can do to reduce our use of plastic, taking a reusable bag shopping is just one but very effective way of doing this. As Barbara says there are many other types of plastic that are harmful but putting a ban on single use plastic bags is a first step. Other actions may include drinking from a reusable metal drink bottle instead of a plastic water bottle (not good for you to reuse plastic water bottles anyway) or saying no to take away food offered in a plastic bag. If it is necessary to have a bag then a corn starch bag could be substituted for plastic. It great to see so much support for this initiative.
April 17th 2012
if i were over 18, i'd definitely be voting for Cr Last! Unfortunately i still have 997 days to go, but i can still influence my parents' votes.
Frank Pagram
June 21st 2012
Unfortunately, the second-last sentence of the letter gives the incorrect date of 2103.

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