Hinchinbrook youth states case for plastic phase-out

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto with “StrawBassador” and face of the Straw No More Townsville campaign Emily Walker with some reusable metal straws.

ENVIRONMENT Minister Leeanne Enoch will hear first-hand the benefits of phasing out single-use plastics after agreeing to meet with Hinchinbrook student Emily Walker when parliament sits in Townsville next week.

Following a meeting request from Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, Emily, a Straw No More Townsville “StrawBassador”, will discuss her ideas to phase out single-use plastics in Queensland with the Minister when they meet next Tuesday.

“This is probably one of the biggest opportunities I have had in my life,” she said.

“To have the chance to bring Minister Enoch to the table and discuss with me the issues that are important to young people is an absolute honour and I feel very humbled by it. I am very thankful for the support of my local MP, Nick Dametto.”

Emily, 11, has already lobbied many local businesses and schools, met with Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill and is currently in negotiations with Stadiums Queensland, Spotless and the Cowboys regarding the new stadium being a single-use plastic free venue.

Meanwhile, Townsville City Council has pledged for all their events and venues to be single-use plastic free.

“My top priority is to help Minister Enoch understand the environmental and economic costs created by single use plastics. I will be trying to get her to commit to pledging for Parliament House in Brisbane to go single-use plastic free,” Emily said.

“I will be lobbying for Queensland to consider passing legislation to phase out the most damaging single use plastics from our state, following in the footsteps of South Australia and Tasmania and ask how the State government might be able to support local councils to establish commercial composting centres.”

Mr Dametto said he was “thrilled” Emily was able to secure a meeting with the Minister after a successful local campaign encouraging people to make switch away from single-use plastics to reusable items.

“Emily has been tireless in her advocacy for a better environment and I’m glad she will now get an audience with our State’s Environment Minister to press for change,” he said.

“Everyone knows just how much of a scourge single-use plastic is on our environment, especially our oceans, and Katter’s Australian Party already strongly supports a ban on plastic straws. A single-use plastic phase out seems like the logical next step.”

Emily said she hoped the Minister walked away with an appreciation for what young people can bring to the policy table.

“Our voices need to be heard and we must be given opportunities to have a say in the world we are going to inherit,” she said.

“I also hope that Minister Enoch will expect me to hold her accountable for any ideas that might come up during my meeting with her.”

Mr Dametto praised Emily’s passion and enthusiasm for a more environmentally friendly future.

“I have no doubt Emily will be one of our future leaders in Hinchinbrook and I am proud to support the Straw No More campaign,” he said.

For more information, search “Straw No More Townsville” on Facebook and follow the links.

Nick Dametto MP