The Government of Victoria has introduced a new bill in parliament to ban single-use plastic shopping bags across the Australian state.
The bill seeks to ban all types of plastic bags with a thickness of 35 microns or less from 1 November this year.
It requires crossbench support in the upper house and, if passed, will prohibit the use of all types of plastic bags, including those made of degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastics.
The bill will be effective across retail stores, fashion boutiques, fast food outlets, convenience stores and service stations.
However, bags for carrying vegetables, fruits and meat products, as well as garbage bags and animal waste bags will be exempt under the proposed legislation.
The new bill follows a community consultation in which the proposal received significant support from the public.
Victoria Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said: “Plastic pollution is a significant environmental problem, the actions we take now will help ensure Victoria has a clean and bright future.
“The feedback on this one was clear. Victorians want to do more to protect the environment from the damage litter causes and are overwhelmingly supportive of banning single-use plastic shopping bags.”
Lily D’Ambrosio added that the ban will serve as a ‘crucial step’ in protecting Victoria’s rivers, waterways, oceans and wildlife from plastic pollution.
Currently, the government is working with the National Retailers Association to ensure that businesses in the state are prepared for the ban.
It is also working to ensure businesses and citizens have access to sustainable alternatives such as hessian and thick plastic bags designed for reuse.