Commonwealth, state and territory Environment Ministers gathered in Sydney on 25 November for their latest meeting to discuss shared issues.
Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg chaired the meeting, which covered and progressed a number of significant initiatives, including phasing out the use of plastic bags, and programs to reduce food waste.
The Queensland minister, Dr Steven Miles, also used the event to publicise a public consultation on the state government’s proposed ban on lightweight, single-use plastic shopping bags from 2018. This would coincide with its planned launch of a container deposit scheme.
“It was a very successful meeting dealing with a whole range of issues, including talking about the phasing out of plastic bags in our various state and territory jurisdictions,” said Minister Frydenberg. “I’d like to congratulate Queensland for their decision to phase out plastic bags by 2018.”
The gathered ministers also had significant discussions on protecting national species and habitats, which included an announcement of an additional $45 million package of measures designed to address gully erosion and sediment run-off into the Great Barrier Reef.
Minister Frydenberg said both the Federal and Queensland Governments were proud of what had been achieved in the first 18 months of the 35-year 2050 Reef Plan, which will see both governments invest $2 billion in the Great Barrier Reef over the next decade.
The next Meeting of Environment Ministers is scheduled for June 2017.