Plastic Bag Free NSW Petition

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I congratulate the member for Coogee on supporting the campaign to improve our environment and reduce our dependency on plastic bags.

Similar campaigns are underway in my electorate of Blue Mountains to see towns move towards a more sustainable solution.

I pay tribute to the work of Shirley Lewis, who is known throughout the Blue Mountains as "Shirley the Bag Lady".

She and Marina Brown host a radio show on Radio Blue Mountains that focuses on sustainability and the environment. They have been working hard for many years to bring to the community's attention the impact of plastic bags on our beautiful local environment.

I also acknowledge the efforts of Julie Roughley, Letitia Kemister and my friends on the Blue Mountains City Council, Councillor Annette Bennett and Councillor Romola Hollywood.

These environmental activists are doing the hard work of talking to businesses and consumers about alternatives to plastic bags and helping us all to live more sustainably and reduce our collective impact on the environment.

On a personal level, I try to live more sustainably and reduce my reliance on plastic bags by carrying this calico bag in Parliament and at home in the Blue Mountains. I use it, instead of plastic bags, to carry my groceries.

This bag was made for me by New South Wales Young Labor activists and its design mixes an iconic image of Rosie the Riveter with the immortal words of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard: "I will not be lectured on sexism and misogyny by this man, not now, not ever."

Not only can we live more sustainably without plastic bags and reduce the waste and pollution that we create but also we can express ourselves with sustainable alternatives.

We must do this because, on top of the pollution from wayward plastic bags that clog our waterways and ocean environments, the manufacture of plastic bags consumes vast amounts of fossil fuel, emitting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon.

I commend the more than 12,400 signatories to the petition and I encourage Plastic Bag Free NSW to continue campaigning to see changes in the legislation.

Reforms like this will only be successful if we bring businesses and the community along with us.

I will continue to do my part, alongside Blue Mountains activists, to reduce and eliminate our dependency on plastic bags.

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