Australians need to start preparing for changes that will come into effect on July 1, marking the start of the new financial year.
Some of the changes will hit the hip pocket while others could alter the way you shop and relieve the cost of living.
No more plastic bags
Make sure you have a reusable bag to take to the supermarket from July 1, as single-use plastic bags will be banned in Queensland and Western Australia.
South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT have already banned the plastic bags.
Coles will phase out single-use, lightweight plastic bags in Victoria and NSW from July 1 and Woolworths will remove its bags on June 20.
The Victorian Government is also planning to enforce a statewide ban on lightweight plastic bags, but the exact date is yet to be revealed.
More expensive public transport
The NSW Government announced Opal fares would increase by 2.2 per cent come July. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal originally recommended an annual increase of 4.2 per cent but Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, said the government wanted to relieve pressure on the cost of living.
Transport for NSW said in a statement Opal cards for seniors would not be adjusted and those cardholders could still pay just $2.50 for all day travel.
“The average impact on customers is roughly 39 cents a week, which means catching public transport is still a much cheaper option than driving,” Mr Constance said.
Changes to passport pictures
From July 1 there will be new guidelines for passport pictures. Last month the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement glasses could no longer be worn in photos.
“This will further strengthen the integrity of the Australian passport,” the statement said.
“Research has shown that glasses adversely affect passport facial matching. Matching is more accurate without glasses.”
The department said a limited exception may apply for medical reasons when supported by a medical certificate.
Cheaper parking fines
The NSW Government revealed it would cut the 10 most lucrative parking fines by 25 per cent.
“It’s all about helping out with the hip pocket,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told 7 News earlier this month.
“We want to make sure that the balance is right when it comes to deterrence versus fairness for the offence.”
Fines will be dropped by $30 in government-controlled parking zones including Barangaroo, around the Sydney foreshore, The Botanic Gardens, Centennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park, and Wentworth and Parramatta Parks.
The 10 fines include park for longer than permitted, park after ticket expired, park after meter expired, park without ticket displayed, stand vehicle in area longer than allowed, not stand vehicle in marked parking space, park without paying meter fee, park without current loading zone ticket, remain in ticket-operated loading zone and stop in restricted area.
Decrease in power prices
AGL announced it would cut electricity prices across NSW, South Australia and Queensland from July 1.
“We understand power prices have been high and that has put pressure on many households, AGL’s chief customer officer Melissa Reynolds said.
“While these price cuts are slight, they’re part of a downward trend that is emerging as more investment in new sources of supply comes into the market.”
AGL will cut prices in NSW homes by 0.3 per cent, 1.6 per cent in Queensland and 0.4 per cent in South Australia.
However gas will increase by 1.8 per cent in NSW and 2.1 per cent in South Australia.
Origin Energy will also cut electricity prices in southeast Queensland and South Australia by 1.3 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.
Parents could have family payments reduced
From July 1, parents receiving the Family Tax Benefit could have their payment reduced by up to $28.28 per fortnight per child if they don’t meet the immunisation requirements.
A new childcare subsidy scheme will also come into effect on July 2, replacing the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate with a single, means-tested subsidy.
About 1.2 million families who now receive the Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate or receive other help with paying fees could be eligible for a new payment.
Parents must be working, studying, looking for work or volunteering for a minimum of eight hours a fortnight to receive the new payment.
Families with annual incomes under $186,958 will no longer face a cap on the amount of fee rebate the government will pay each year.
For those earning more than this, the annual cap will lift from $7500 to just over $10,000 per child.