WILL GOVERNMENT DELIVER ON GLOBAL PLASTIC POLLUTION PLEDGE?

JOSH WILSON MP.
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1 month ago
WILL GOVERNMENT DELIVER ON GLOBAL PLASTIC POLLUTION PLEDGE?
JOSH WILSON MP
The announcement by Minister Ley that Australia will support the establishment of a global agreement on Marine Plastic Pollution is welcome and should never have been in doubt.

The Morrison-Joyce Government should be active and ambitious in the process by which the agreement is shaped, as this hasn’t been the case in other areas of critical environmental diplomacy under the Morrison-Joyce Government.

Labor strongly supports and shares the priorities identified by the international Ministerial Conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution for reversing the enormous harm of plastics in our environment, and Labor committed to being part of global cooperation in that cause during the ALP National Conference earlier this year.

Despite Sussan Ley’s address on plastics over the weekend at the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Environment Ministers’ High-Level meeting, it should be noted that the SPREP is the same body the Morrison Government promised to support in 2019 when the Prime Minister made a commitment of $16 million over six year to the Pacific Ocean Litter Project.  Yet according to the data available only $837,000 has been advanced so far, with no on-the-ground outcomes, and most of the expended funds paying the salary of one Australian public servant.

While the Morrison-Joyce Government clearly wants to trumpet its concern about global plastic pollution, we can’t ignore the Coalition’s performance and its failure to deliver any meaningful improvement to Australia’s waste crisis. Plastic recycling remains at a dismal 10 per cent and despite promising investment in new infrastructure back in 2019, not one of the new recycling facilities promised by this government is operational.

An expert study released in 2020 showed that plastic in the world’s oceans is expected to triple by 2040, and previous studies indicate that up to 15 million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans and waterways every year. In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and more plastic than fish by 2050.

If the Morrison-Joyce Government is actually serious about showing leadership on plastic pollution, they need to deliver less packaging and more substance, less posturing and more timely action in ensuring that Australia shows leadership in reducing plastic waste at home and in our region.
Environment