Plastic ban part 2

FREMANTLE council is to have another crack at banning plastic bags.

At Wednesday’s finance and policy committee, councillors decided the demise of the Barnett government could open a window to get a new local law enacted.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said he’d got an indication from the McGowan government that while a state-wide ban wasn’t high on its priorities, it would be supportive of local governments going ahead on their own.

Committee chair Andrew Sullivan railed against the timidity of successive governments who wouldn’t initiate a ban because of the controversy it raised.

Cr Sullivan says it’s left to local councils to cop the flak until the issue settles down, and only then would the government step in.

Several other councils, including East Fremantle, have recently enacted their own plastic bag by-laws, with support from the WA Local Government Association.

But the council’s ban will still have to get through the Upper House, and until it meets and a new Speaker is chosen, there’s technically a tie between conservative parties and Labour and the Greens with 18 seats on each side.

Notre Dame senior politics lecturer Martin Drum says unless Labor can convince a disenchanted Liberal to take the Speaker’s role, it’s likely to have to put up its own candidate and be stuck one vote short.

Minor parties such as the Shooters and Fishers or Liberal Democrats are unlikely to be wooed, as that would effectively neuter them as they’d have no vote and lose their balance of power.

“But I don’t necessarily see that as making it impossible to get the plastic bag ban through,” Dr Drum told the Voice.

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