Here's some of that report:
Minister Garrett is on record as urging a total phase-out of the bags by January 2009 but based on what he said today, achieving this looks extremely unlikely.
"It is within the power of the Commonwealth to do that [impose a ban] but that's not the policy position at the moment," former Midnight Oil rock singer Garrett told a packed lunch crowd in Brisbane at noon local time on Monday.
Instead, the government has opted for what it calls collaborative federalism, where it seeks to obtain a joint decision with the six states and two self-governing territories about the issue.
But the overwhelming position of the states and territories is away from a ban on the plastic shopping bags.
"Ministers from state and federal levels met in April to discuss the issue of plastic bags," Garrett said before the lunch.
"There was a range of positions put but only South Australia proposed a ban on plastic shopping bags."
Victoria proposed a trial 10 cent per bag levy to see whether this would reduce public use of the micro-thin high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bags.
Garrett said the trial would be evaluated when the country's environment ministers meet again on the issue in November.
At the current rate of reduction in Australia (two billion bags every three years), a total "phase-out" could not happen until 2011.
It turns out that in 2018, it's still a little way off.
| || |