Vegetables in plastic packaging at Woolworths.
Vegetables in plastic packaging at Woolworths.

MP meets with Qld food producers to test bioplastic future

MACKAY MP Julieanne Gilbert will meet with Queensland food producers this month to gauge their appetite for using bioplastics in their packaging.

Mrs Gilbert is forging ahead with her plan to get the region producing bioplastics from sugar cane to future-proof local jobs.

The Mackay MP said Australia had faced a shortage of plastic bottles to store hand sanitiser during the COVID-19 pandemic because we relied on overseas manufacturers that were forced to halt production.

"We need to look at how we can support the Australian and local economy and use the resources we have to future-proof our industries here so that we are not going to be caught short again," she said.

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Last month, Mrs Gilbert met with Queensland Biofutures ambassador Ian O'Hara, representatives from Trade and Investment Queensland and state development representatives to discuss her plan.

PLASTIC PUSH: Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert at Racecourse Mill. Picture: supplied
PLASTIC PUSH: Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert at Racecourse Mill. Picture: supplied

"They all told me if we can build a guaranteed market where we can have producers of food products agree that they will buy products made in Australia from sugar cane, that we will then have a market," she said.

"As soon as we get the first one signed up and ready to go, they believe we will have a flood of investors and this will be the future of our economy here in Mackay.

"We can't just rely on scrambling the next time the sugar price goes down or the coal price goes down.

"We need to have stable industries that will see us through all of the peaks and troughs of our other industries."

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Mrs Gilbert's petition, which called on the Federal Government to mandate the use of Australian bioplastics in packaging, has now received more than 250 signatures.