I rise today to inform the house about a community movement that is underway in my electorate. The Better Buds campaign has been launched by Beach Patrol 3280, and I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Colleen Hughson, Mandy Shute and Melissa Tuliranta to discuss the campaign and what it aims to achieve.
It is quite simple and something that I think could easily be achieved here in Victoria and indeed Australia. The aim is to remove plastic-stemmed cotton buds from the shelves, replacing them with paper-stemmed buds, products which are already available in shops but that are often hidden on lower shelves. The reason is to stop them ending up in our oceans via sewage outfall.
Since 2017 this group of people have collected more than 21 000 plastic stems from beaches around Warrnambool. Plastic-stemmed buds have been banned in the United Kingdom, the European Union and New Zealand, and it is a ban I believe we should have here in Victoria. We have banned single-use plastic bags, but it is only one small step.
There is a huge over-reliance on plastics in everyday life, and they often end up in our oceans and rivers. There are simple things we can do to change this. Banning plastic-stemmed cotton buds is an important step, and I thank and congratulate the team behind Better Buds on the work they have done to raise this important issue.