Coastal Environment

Stephen gave the following speech in Parliament on the 6th of May, 2021.

"I take the opportunity here in parliament today to speak about the good work the Marshall Liberal government is doing in the environment space, particularly in my coastal electorate of Morphett. Of course, being a coastal electorate, it is very important in the local community that we do preserve the environment. It is a key concern for many of my neighbours and certainly the constituents of Morphett.

We have a terrific environment minister here, a fellow coastal MP, the member for Black, whom I work alongside. He understands and recognises the importance of not only the coastal environment but the environment in general. Since 2018, he has been working extremely hard to put in place practical action that is really paying off in South Australia.

Recently, an important piece of legislation that passed in this parliament was the ban on single-use plastics in South Australia. It is the first time this ban has been put in place in Australia, and it means that initially it will ban single-use plastic items such as straws, cutlery and beverage stirrers, as well as outlining a framework going forward of other items that may be banned into the future.

I am very proud that this government is leading the nation in taking action on single-use plastics. That will have an effect. Many of these plastics end up in the ocean and of course then get washed back onto the beach. In addition, they break down and create microplastics and unfortunately wash up on the coastline and in my electorate of Glenelg, Glenelg South, Glenelg North and also Somerton Park.

Another way we can remove rubbish off the coast is by practical action, so just recently, back in March on Clean Up Australia Day, I was proud to hold my annual Clean Up Australia Day events at Glenelg South, in front of the Broadway Kiosk. It is really an opportunity to make sure that any rubbish that finds its way not only onto the beach but also onto the foreshore on the Coast Park and walkway can be cleaned up. Many locals take part.

It is a great occasion when even adults come along with their kids. There are bags to clean up and gloves as well. We walk up and down—on this occasion right down from the Broadway Kiosk to Whyte Street in Somerton Park and also further north up towards Kent Street, Glenelg. Overall, it was fantastic. I will mention some of the groups that came down. We were lucky enough to be joined by some of the environmental leaders from St Mary's Memorial School, a Catholic parish school based in Glenelg right in the heart of the electorate. I was also joined by the president-elect of the Rotary Club of Glenelg, Oliver Bullitis, who works really hard. I was there last night having a dinner with the Glenelg Rotary club. He is well recognised and he is really trying to enliven the organisation and do great things in the community.

As I said, together we were able to pick up a number of full bags of rubbish—around five bags—and we left the beach looking even more pristine than it usually is, so it was fantastic. Some of the items picked up were bottle caps, thrown-away sugar bags from the local cafe, as well as cutlery and straws. Not all the students from St Mary's could be there, but of course they go on their beach walk quite often—at least once a week—with their respective classes.

While other classes could not be there on Clean Up Australia Day, during the following weeks they took out bags on their beach walk and really focused on the areas further north from Kent Street, right up to the breakwater, finishing off the job and making sure the beach along Glenelg—the premier beach in South Australia—was nice and clean. I commend them all for that.

Two of those leaders were Lila and Sophie. They have been fantastic, and out of this they have set up a lunchtime environment group for the upper primary students that meets weekly. They work out what can be done not only in the local area but even in the local school as well, and they are creating some great initiatives. They have invited me along to their assembly next Friday, so I am looking forward to that to hear what their plans and ideas are for their local area."

Coastal Environment