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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, delivered the following statement to the Federal Parliament.

“There is growing concern about the impacts of microplastics in our waters. And rightly so I say, considering the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates about 14 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans yearly, comprising 80 per cent of all marine debris.

“The result? Well for a start that marine species often ingest or are entangled by plastic debris, causing severe injuries and death. And that the pollution threatens food safety and quality, human health and coastal tourism.

“Indeed a report released this year by the Fisheries Research Development Corporation shows that consuming microplastics changes the behaviour, hormone levels, growth, reproduction and life expectancy of over 90 per cent of the studied fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

“In Tasmania, the aquaculture industry in particular is a major contributor to plastic and microplastic pollution. Indeed our shores are littered with plastic pollution from the Salmon industry. Meanwhile even more lies beneath the water, with plastic eventually breaking down into bite size bits.

“Yet in Tasmania microplastics are not regulated in any way, which is illustrative of Australia’s naivety in understanding and combatting marine plastic and microplastic pollution.

So, there is an urgent need to explore new and enhanced legally binding agreements to address this, and I call on the Federal Government to address the problem now.”