Local, Independant and Effective

Boomerang Bags drive community action in Indi

Posted February 07, 2018


Cathy has acknowledged the work of Indi's community groups, schools and individuals who are using recycled materials to make more than 6,000 Boomerang Bags and create a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.


Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (16:54): In my speech today I would like to thank the member for Mayo and the member for Bonner on their really important initiative that we've brought to this House and to thank the member for Mayo for the work that she does for her communities, particularly with schools, listening to what they say and then bringing these topics to parliament. I'd also like to acknowledge the work done by the government of Victoria and the many individuals and community groups in my electorate who are taking a lead in this area through the Boomerang Bags movement.

I say to the Victorian government, thank you for your work. It's acknowledged and appreciated. In October 2017, the Labor government committed to banning single-use, lightweight plastic bags. They invited input from all Victorians on how to design a ban that's fair, effective and lasting. I do like it when our Victorian government consults with the community on such an important topic. The survey closed on 29 January, and we're expecting the results to be collated and analysed by early March. We look forward to that information.

Today I'd like to talk in particular about the many, many groups in my electorate and the work they're doing on not only understanding about plastic bags but also recycling, including the Boomerang Bags movement. Deputy Speaker Claydon, I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Boomerang Bags movement, but co-founders Tania Potts and Jordyn de Boer up in Burleigh Heads got the idea happening. Now, thanks to amazing supporters all around the country, community groups and individuals are coming together and making bags. To do a bit of a call out for my electorate, in Alexandra, down in the south end of my electorate in the Goulburn Valley, between 300 and 400 bags have been sewn and distributed. In Bright, the P-12 secondary college has taken the lead. In Beechworth, between 3,500 and 5,000 bags were distributed in 2017. In Benalla, 80 bags have been made. In the Kiewa Valley, which is a small rural dairy community, 50 bags have been made. Down in the Kinglake area, a thousand bags have been sewn, with an aim of 3,000 to reach their ultimate goal of zero plastic bags in Kinglake. In Mansfield, the CWA—Country Women's Association—has joined up with the Up2Us Landcare group, and they've made 150 bags, which have been given out right around the community. In Moyhu, another small rural horticultural community, people have got together and made 50 bags. In Mount Beauty, in Tawonga, people have been meeting twice a week, and they've sewn 430 bags—a huge effort! Myrtleford has made 80 bags. Wangaratta—I love you, Wangaratta, for what you've done—went to the mills that make material and got the material that was going to be sent to landfill. They rescued that material; they stopped it going to landfill. They've made over 3,000 plastic bags. They actually stopped that plastic landfill, so that's a terrific effort.

In Yackandandah, my local community, over 500 recycled bags have been made. It's been great because they've been working with our local FoodWorks supermarket which, way ahead of the team, came out and said that they weren't going to have any more plastic bags. On the weekend, I was in Yackandandah. I had my recycled bag. Everyone has been putting their bags together in the big bin, and people can help themselves. It's working superbly—from Yarck to Yea, Bonnie Doon and Wodonga.

I'll finish with Wodonga and its Sustainable Activity Centre. Not only are they making recycled material bags; they also have a repair cafe. It's not about plastic bags; it's about making sure that things that have broken down can get fixed and don't get put into landfill. They've also got a battery collection service there.

It gives me such hope, Member for Mayo. We're calling on a top-down approach from the government to get their act together, and we're absolutely being led by our communities, doing all this bottom-up work. They're getting out there, they're solutions focused and they're doing what our communities do so well—they're taking the lead, and they're calling on us now, as members of parliament, to get our government to do what it needs to do. So thank you very much for bringing this really important motion to the parliament. I'm really pleased that you've written to the different states to say, 'Get your act together.' We're looking for the Commonwealth to continue to play a lead role in this. It gives me great pleasure to support this motion.

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