Greens councillor Keith Hughes wants to see a ban on the mass release of balloons, which are often associated with significant personal or public events.
Cr Hughes said that parts of the balloons often end up being swallowed by marine or bird life resulting in injury or death.
Australia currently has varying laws relating to the mass release of balloons and Cr Hughes and The Greens want to see one policy adopted across the country.
“Mass balloon releases are already illegal in NSW and in the Sunshine Coast, Queensland but encouraging alternative forms of celebration and having the required educational campaigns are more difficult because of different approaches in different jurisdictions,” Cr Hughes said.
In an effort to further the move against the mass release of balloons, Cr Hughes wants to see the National General Assembly of the Australian Local Government Association call on the Australian government to develop a national guideline for all states and territories to ban balloon littering.
The Australian Local Government Association has called for motions from councils to be considered at the National General Assembly to be held in Canberra from June 19-22.
To that end he proposed that Bega Valley Shire Council should sponsor a motion to ban mass balloon release into the atmosphere.
“There is overwhelming evidence now of mass scale suffering and death of marine life, turtles and birds to ignore this practice,” he said.
“For the albatross, turtle or dolphin that dies from swallowing plastic from balloons it does not matter whether the balloon was one of a small or a large number of balloons.”
“There are plenty of other ways that people can celebrate important events without putting marine life at risk.”
“I was inspired to take this stand when I saw balloons being released into the air at the Bermagui Seaside Fair recently. It was a sad aspect of an otherwise highly successful community event,” he said.
“I know that there is a lot of support from other Councils and communities around Australia and I am hopeful that my motion will succeed,” he said.
There was, however concern about the precise meaning of “mass” and some councillors argued that it should not end up being a crime to put a couple of balloons on a gatepost when children were having a party.
The motion was agreed with councillors Tony Allen, Russell Fitzpatrick and Michael Britten voting against.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.