The Queensland Government’s 2017-18 budget has allocated almost $275 million for the environment over the next five years, including strengthening the state’s environmental regulator and funding for a container deposit scheme.
It includes $2.5 million to implement the Government’s container refund scheme and plastic bag ban from 1 July 2018.
“We will continue to work with the retail sector to prepare Queenslanders for life without plastic shopping bags, and continue to encourage recycling of plastic drink containers,” Environment Minister Steven Miles said.
“Almost one billion single use plastic shopping bags are used in Queensland each year.
“Come 1 July 2018, these bags will be banned in Queensland and a container refund scheme for beverage containers will be in place.”
“In addition, the Budget will deliver a further $3 million over two years for other projects in support of Advancing Queensland’s Waste Reform Agenda, in a bid to encourage greater reuse of materials and reduce waste going to landfill.”
Mr Miles said priorities for the funding included climate change, protecting the Great Barrier Reef, and enforcing stronger environmental standards.
Mr Miles said the Queensland Government committed $175 million ($35 million per year) over five years from 2017-18 to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The Budget has also delivered increased funding for environmental enforcement activities — $23.3 million over four years and $5 million ongoing.
“This funding will enhance the delivery of environmental regulatory services to protect our environment,” Mr Miles said.
“The environmental regulator will target areas of environmental risk and improve engagement with industry and the community.”