Environment and Sustainable Development 5 Minute Fix 46: single-use plastic bans, biodiversity, biodiscovery, petroleum and greenhouse gas

05 Feb 2024
Time to read: 5 minutes


SA: Stage 2 and 3 bans on single-use and other plastic products: have your say

The South Australian Government is currently seeking feedback on draft regulations to implement the two remaining stages of the bans on single-use and other plastic products. It is proposed that the stages 2 and 3 will commence on 1 September 2024 and 1 September 2025 respectively.

Specifically, the SA Government is seeking feedback on:

  • definitions of the banned products and the proposed exemptions;
  • implementation timeframes for Australian Standard certified compostable cups and food containers; and
  • any potential unintended consequences from the draft regulations (for example, the banning of a plastic product giving rise to the use of other non-banned plastic products).

The Stage 2 ban which is proposed to commence on 1 September 2024 will apply to the following products:

  • Thick plastic/boutique plastic shopping bags and plastic-laminated paper shopping bags.
  • Plastic barrier bags for perishable goods.
  • Plastic bread tags.
  • Single-use plastic hot and cold beverage cups and single-use plastic lids.
  • Single-use plastic food containers, including bowls with lids.
  • Expanded polystyrene (EPS) trays.
  • Other expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and beverage containers.
  • Plastic confetti.
  • Plastic balloon sticks and ties.

The Stage 3 ban which is proposed to commence on 1 September 2025 will apply to the following products:

  • Plastic produce stickers.
  • Plastic soy sauce fish.
  • Attached straws and cutlery.
  • Pre-packaged EPS containers (eg. noodles).

Submissions on the proposed Stage 2 and Stage 3 bans can be made until 11 February 2024.


SA: First of a kind for South Australia: have your say on the new Biodiversity Act

The South Australian Government is proposing to introduce a Biodiversity Act for the purposes of:

  • reducing the environmental effects of human activity; and
  • to prioritise the long-term protection and recovery of South Australia's biodiversity.

Currently, biodiversity is covered by existing provisions which sit in various pieces of legislation. In order to address any potential gaps in the existing "scattered" framework, the new consolidated framework is now being proposed, which is consistent with how biodiversity is regulated in other States and Territories.

A discussion paper can be found here and submissions are open until 14 February 2024.

WA: New legislation to regulate biodiscovery activities: consultation pending

The WA Government is developing a new Biodiscovery Bill to regulate biodiscovery activities carried out on WA biological resources and set out a framework for benefit sharing with the State when they are used for a commercial purpose. It is proposed that the Bill will:

  • set out a framework for accessing WA's native plants and animals for biodiscovery purposes;
  • provide certification for researchers to demonstrate their work is consistent with the principles of the Nagoya Protocol, an international agreement; and
  • ensure that everyone in WA shares in the commercial and other benefits of biodiscovery.

While there is no current consultation opportunities, you can register if you are interested in participating in the next round of consultation in 2024.

Environmental protection

Commonwealth: Review of offshore environmental management framework

As part of the Commonwealth Government's review into the offshore environmental management framework for petroleum and greenhouse gas activities, the Department of Industry, Science and Resources is looking to clarify and improve the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2023.

At a glance, the purpose of the review is to ensure that titleholders consult and engage in a way that is meaningful when developing environmental plans. It is integral that the requirements for consultation are clear to ensure that consultation activities are targeted and effective. The need for this review stems from recent court decisions which have changed how these consultation requirements are understood, specifically concerning how consultations should occur with relevant persons, including First Nations people or communities. It has been identified that as a next step, these requirements should be legislated for clarity.

The themes that will guide this review are:

  • Ensuring targeted and effective consultation; and
  • Identifying relevant persons to consult under the Offshore Environment Regulations.

The consultation paper can be found here and submissions can be made until 23 February 2024.

ACT: Tree protection: out with the old, in with the new

On 1 January 2024, the Urban Forest Act 2023 (ACT) commenced, repealing the Tree Protection Act 2005 (ACT) to implement a more comprehensive tree protection framework. The aim of the Urban Forest Act is to enhance Canberra's tree canopy to reach a target of 30% canopy coverage by 2045, as set out in the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2045 and the Living Infrastructure Plan.

Previously, the Tree Protection Act only dealt with prohibiting a person from damaging protected trees; and compliance with tree protection directions. However, the Urban Forest Act will:

  • update the definition of protected trees to extend to an increased number of regulated trees (being trees which meet minimum size requirements on leased land) and to registered and remnant trees in future urban areas;
  • extend legislative protection to all public trees (being trees on unleased land); and
  • introduce a Canopy Contribution Framework that ensures live trees approved for removal are replaced through establishing canopy contribution agreements, which requires replanting on site or equivalent financial contribution where replanting is not possible.

Special thanks to Nicole Besgrove (Brisbane) for co-ordinating the ESD 5 Minute Fix and to Jack Lofgren and Johnson Choi (Brisbane) and Zac Bosnakis (Perth) for their contribution to this edition.

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.