On New Year’s Eve, as the clock hits 12, Australia won’t be transformed into a utopia. We’re not scoring flying cars that are powered by the sun. Our laptops won’t become biodegradable.
However, just because we won’t be where we need to be, that doesn’t negate that some good changes will take place. In 2024, some exciting initiatives are hitting Australia’s sustainability scene.
So, let’s end 2023 full of hope. Here are three sustainability schemes that could make Australia a more utopian place.
ACT’s Plastic Bag Ban
As of January 1 of 2024, all heavyweight plastic bags will be banned in the ACT. This will mean that shopping bags certain Coles, Woolworths, and ALDI bags can’t be sold in the state.
According to ACT’s Minister for Transport and City Services, Chris Steel, Canberra is ready for this change.
“From January next year, plastic bags currently available at major supermarkets and retailers will be banned in a major win for the environment,” Steel explained.
“There has been strong support for the shift away from single-use plastics and the transition to using more sustainable materials, which protect our local environment and reduce harmful waste going to landfill.”
Across the planet, heavyweight plastic bags take hundreds of years to break down. Because this change will make Australia more sustainable, let’s hope the rest of this joint follows suit.
Australia’s Climate Disclosures
From July of 2024, all large Australian companies will have to disclose if they have a climate transition plan. What’s more, if they do, they’ll have to make it public while also providing details about the emissions that they release.
This legislation will hopefully put pressure on our companies to become more proactive in reducing their carbon emissions. ‘Cause if they’re not doing enough, the public will drag them to both oil and coal.
However, this scheme won’t be entirely utopian in how its implemented. If a large company’s report discloses some environmentally negligent information, the government wants to prevent the public from suing them. The government believes that this detail will make these companies more honest. This moratorium would take place for three years.
In an interview with the ABC, the NSW Bar Association’s President, Gabrielle Bashir, stated this detail would hamper Australia’s sustainability journey. It could prevent the public from suing a company if they greenwash certain products.
“Any moratorium, even if limited to three years, undermines Australia’s ability to achieve its 2030 emissions reduction target,” Bashir said.
People like Bashir are hoping that the government backpedals this detail. But, as it stands, this proposal’s just half a slay.
Bendigo’s 2024 Cat Laws
Cats: While they can be very cute, they are rubbish for our environment. In Australia, roaming pet cats kill 1.7 billion native animals each year. These animals include endangered reptiles, mammals, and birds.
Fortunately though, the Victorian city of Bendigo is doing something about this disaster. From January 1 of 2024, all Bendigo residents must permanently confine their cats to their homes and yards.
In a statement, Greater Bendigo’s Mayor, Andrea Metcalf, detailed that her community was in support of this law.
“The decision follows an eight-week community consultation process which received a total of 194 submissions with 75% of cat containment submissions in support and 25% opposed,” Metcalf said.
“Currently, in Greater Bendigo, there is an order in place that requires cats to be secured to the owner’s property from sunset to sunrise. The new order, when it comes into effect next year, will require cats to be securely confined to the owner’s property at all times.”