Victoria to introduce a plastic bag levy

A plastic bag levy scheme is to be piloted in Victoria, aiming to develop a national approach to reducing plastic bag use.

Environment minister Gavin Jennings said the Government and major supermarkets have agreed to pilot a levy of 10 cents per bag in August in Fountain Gate, Wangaratta and Warrnambool. 

“Victorians use almost one billion lightweight plastic bags a year wasting valuable resources and creating unnecessary rubbish,” Mr Jennings said.

“We want to find an approach that delivers the best outcome for shoppers and the environment.”

The trial, a joint initiative of the Victorian Government and the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA), is subject to approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

ANRA chief executive Margy Osmond said, if approved by the ACCC, the funds raised from the trail will be spent on community education and local environment projects.

“The trial is a practical way to find the cheapest, simplest way to encourage consumers to reduce their plastic bag use,” she said.

Supermarkets participating in the trial include Coles, Safeway and IGA.

Mr Jennings said it was preferable that efforts to curtail plastic bag use were undertaken in conjunction with communities and retailers, rather than being enforced through legislation.

He also announced the establishment of a steering committee to oversee the trial and its outcomes, appointing Caroline Bayliss from RMIT University as its chair.

The outcomes of the trial will be presented at the next meeting of State, Territory and Commonwealth Environment Ministers (EPHC) in November this year.

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