The Canberra Liberals [conservatives, down-under] will overturn the territory’s ban on free plastic bags if they win October’s ACT election.
‘‘If businesses have adapted to the ban and would like to continue charging for bags, they are welcome to do so. But if they don’t, they won’t be lumped with a $27,500 penalty,’’ ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said in a statement today.
‘‘This is about bringing sense and evidence back to government decision making.’’
The policy announcement is in contrast to the 2004 election campaign, when the Liberals promised to ban free plastic bags in the ACT.
Mr Seselja said last night ‘‘a lot had changed since then’’, with information from independent bodies such as the Productivity Commission questioning the value of a ban.
He said today that his party had voted against the ban during this term of the Assembly because it did not think there was the environmental evidence to justify the move.
‘‘Britain’s Environmental Protection Agency found that shoppers would have to use the same cotton bag every working day for a year to have a lesser impact than a lightweight plastic bag,’’ he said.
‘‘The Productivity Commission found that ‘based on the evidence available to the Commission, it appears that the Australian, State and Territory Governments do not have a sound case for proceeding with their proposed phase out of plastic retail carry bags’.‘‘
It comes as the ACT government is criticised for leaving a review of its controversial plastic bag ban until after the election. The Liberals say voters should go to the polls understanding how effective the ban has been – or not.