End Of Single-Use Plastics: The end is near for single use plastics, including bags, straws, cotton buds, plates, bowls and cutlery after the Plastics and Circular Economy Act 2021 was passed in the NSW Parliament last week. Treasurer and Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean said plastic packaging and single-use plastics made up 60% of litter across the state, with single-use plastics to be phased out from June next year. “This legislation is expected to stop 2.7 billion single-use items from ending up in our natural environment and waterways over the next 20 years,” said the Minister. Businesses will be supported to transition to alternative products before the phase outs come into effect. Excemptions will apply for members of the community who rely on particular single-use plastics for disability of health needs. The legislation will prohibit the supply of lightweight plastic bags from 1st June, while the supply of other items will be prohibited from 1st November 2022, including single-use plastic straws, cutlery, stirrers, cotton buds, plates and bowls, and expanded polystyrene foodservice items. For more information on the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 visit www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/plastics
Regional Bank Branch Closures: The Regional Banking Taskforce has announced the start of public consultation and Australians can contribute their insights into regional bank branch closures by making submissions to the Taskforce over the coming weeks. Insights from the submissions will help the Taskforce better understand the impacts of branch closures and how Australians are accessing banking services. They will also help improve banking services and accessibility where branches have closed. Submissions are invited by email to email@example.com or by mail to: Secretariat, Regional Banking Taskforce, Financial System Division, The Treasury, Langton Crescent, Parkes ACT 2600. The consultation process will open for four weeks with submissions closing 18th December 2021.
Funding Boost For National Parks: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has received $91.5 million to be invested into shovel-ready projects in a significant boost for the nature-based tourism industry.“Before COVID we had more than 60 million visits every year, national parks were already a key driver of the visitor economy, generating $18 billion in economic activity and supporting over 74,000 jobs.Since COVID visitation levels have skyrocketed, highlighting the role parks play in supporting the physical and mental health of the community. Put simply – national parks are good for the soul,” said Treasurer and Environment Minister Matt Kean. This funding is part of the largest ever investment in national park visitor infrastructure, enhancing the natural environment and supporting regional economies with over $14 million will be invested in critical conservation projects.