Under the new rules, an individual selling, supplying or distributing the banned single-use plastics could face a fine of $315, while fines of $1000 or a maximum court penalty of $20,000 could apply for more serious breaches.
Implementation of the ban, which passed state parliament in September last year, was delayed to give businesses more time to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is the first ban of its kind in Australia, and it will be closely monitored by other jurisdictions with Victoria looking to institute a similar ban in 2023 and the Queensland Government tabling legislation on the matter in December 2020.
Environment Minister David Speirs said the ban is the only the first phase, with the government looking at more plastics to prohibit in future.
“We will continue to consider more products such as takeaway coffee cups, plastic barrier bags and other takeaway food service items as market demand increases and other sustainable alternatives become available,” Speirs said.
“We are protecting our environment for future generations, reducing marine and other litter, and promoting the circular economy with a shift away from a single-use, throwaway mindset.”
Polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers will be banned from 2022, while more widely used plastic items like coffee cups and shopping bags will be subject to further community consultation.
Speirs added that the policy had been developed with extensive consultation, ensuring exemptions apply for people with a disability or health need.
“Our legislation has been developed with the help of our Single-Use Plastics Taskforce which has representation from 15 different organisations, including people living with a disability,” he said.
“This consultation has enabled us to develop an exemption so that single-use plastic drinking straws can be accessed by people who require them due to a disability or health need.”
Designated businesses, like dentists, pharmacies and charities, will be able to provide single-use straws to clients for this purpose.
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