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The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has announced a proposal to implement a nationwide, uniform approach to single-use plastic bags.

Welcomed by the National Retail Association (NRA), the proposal would see a nationwide bag-ban come into effect from 2021.

NRA Manager of Industry, David Stout, said that a uniform approach to single-use bags helps not only retailers, but consumers.

“The NRA welcomes the announcement by the Federal Opposition to implement a nationwide plastic bag ban, commencing from 2021.

“Retailers are happy to support environmental measures such as plastic bag bans, so long as the laws are simple and there is plenty of lead time for the sector to prepare for the transition.

“It takes considerable time to educate both retailers and the public on the details of new laws, as well as for businesses to develop and implement new alternatives that are compliant.

“Retailers need time to research alternatives for single use plastic bags and determine the impacts on the whole supply chain.

“Currently all states and territories, except for New South Wales, have enacted a ban on single-use plastic bags or are in the process of doing so. The nationwide laws will ensure a consistent approach across all jurisdictions.

“Significant resources are required to prepare retailers ranging from training workshops, information sessions and a media campaign to inform the public. By choosing 2021 as the start date this ensures that the sector has the relevant amount of time to conduct an orderly transition," he said.

The ban comes as part of Labor's proposed plan to create a cleaner Australia, which outlines a $290 million investment to cut waste and boost recycling.

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