We've seen plastics bags banned by municipalities, but never on such a grand geographical scale as the ban taking place on single use bags in Australia.   
   The issue comes down to people not recycling bags and the pollution that follows.  Plastic bag production costs a fraction of what paper bags cost to produce and transport, not to mention they are a direct product of trees. However, paper bags are seen as a more environmentally friendly option.
Other countries with the same stance currently banning plastics bags include France, China, the Netherlands and England.  
So it seems to me that the ideas for the competing forces of businesses, individuals and the environment is subjective and we hope that good intentions have the desired affect.