The City of Fremantle is concerned its bid to become the first Australian council to outlaw plastic bags may be disallowed by State Parliament.
The council voted in January to implement a blanket ban on non-degradable, single-use plastic bags within the city and make retailers charge a minimum fee of 10ï¿½ for alternative (biodegradable or reusable) shopping bags.
Mayor Brad Pettitt said the council had hoped to start the ban last month but the law had been delayed by parliamentary processes.
Dr Pettitt said he understood there was conjecture about whether a local government authority had the power to introduce this type of legislation.
The delegated legislative committee, chaired by Liberal MP Peter Abetz, is reviewing the law against its terms of reference, which include ensuring the proposal is "within the power" of the authority and whether it unduly affects public freedom.
If the committee finds that the law does not meet its criteria, it will move a motion to disallow and send the legislation to a parliamentary vote.
Dr Pettitt said the council was frustrated by the delay, especially given the previous environment minister Bill Marmion had said he would not "block the passage" of the local law.
At the time, Mr Marmion said he would view the Fremantle experience as a trial and monitor it.
"However, post this declaration State elections were called and the minister and the DLC members changed," Dr Pettitt said. "If the law is disallowed by Parliament, which is a real possibility if the committee recommends against it, we will consider a voluntary program."
Similar legislation has been passed in South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT but it was enacted by State governments, not councils.
In a letter responding to a Bicton resident's inquiry last month about a possible Statewide ban, Environment Minister Albert Jacob said a joint State and Federal government inquiry into plastic bag legislation in 2007-08 found the "financial impacts far outweighed the environmental benefits".'If the law is disallowed by Parliament . . . we will consider a voluntary program.'"Fremantle mayor *Brad Pettitt *