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New Regulations in Australia 2024




2024 has arrived at last.

Commencing in 2024, Australia is set to implement new regulations, particularly benefiting seniors and veterans looking to work. The federal government’s decision to permanently increase the Work Bonus limit by $4,000, from $7,800 to $11,800, marks a significant change. Single pensioners can now earn $204 per fortnight, and couples $360, within the pension income free area, along with an additional $300 per fortnight Work Bonus. This adjustment allows seniors to earn up to $504 per fortnight from work while still receiving the maximum pension rate. The Work Bonus Income Bank further assists pensioners by letting them accumulate unused portions for future offsets. These measures aim to encourage older Australians to work without facing financial disadvantages, reinforcing the government’s commitment to support those choosing to remain in or return to the workforce.

New Regulations

Similar to July 1, the commencement of the New Year invariably introduces a multitude of adjustments, encompassing new laws and regulations, revised fees and charges, as well as altered taxes and benefits.

Outlined below are the most significant modifications you should be aware of as of January 1, 2024.

Government’s Strict Measures on Disposable Vapes


Effective January 1, the importation of all disposable vapes containing nicotine will face a ban, marking the implementation of what is deemed the “most stringent laws” globally.

The government’s decision, announced in May, signifies a significant move in the most extensive smoking reforms in the past decade, aiming to prohibit the importation of non-prescription vaping products.

According to the new regulations, the only vapes permitted in Australia will be pharmaceutical products prescribed by a doctor and dispensed exclusively through pharmacies to aid individuals in quitting smoking.

Further, the updated laws will impose severe limitations on the packaging and flavors used for pharmaceutical vapes. There is also the potential extension of laws prohibiting workplace smoking to vaping.

Cancer Victoria’s June research reveals that over 3.5 million Australians aged 14 and older engage in smoking or vaping.


Health Minister Mark Butler expressed in a November interview with the ABC, “This is the primary behavioral concern in school communities nationwide and globally… it’s causing significant distress among people, particularly parents.

Enhanced Welfare Payments

Starting from January, more than 936,000 Australians benefiting from youth, student, or carer support will witness a 6 percent increment in their payments due to the application of indexation.

Youth Allowance beneficiaries, including young job seekers and students, can anticipate a fortnightly increase ranging from $22.40 to $45.60. Similarly, Austudy recipients will experience a rise in payments ranging between $36.20 and $45.60 per fortnight.

For Disability Support Pension recipients under the age of 21, there will be an increase in payments ranging from $31.10 to $44.90 per fortnight. Additionally, over 600,000 carers will receive increased financial assistance, with Carer Allowance rising to $153.50 per fortnight.


Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth emphasized, “Australia’s social security system serves as a safety net that is consistently reinforced and refined to support all vulnerable Australians. Through regular indexation, our payments are adjusted in accordance with changes in the cost of living to maintain their purchasing power.

Gas Connection Ban for New Homes

Starting January 1, newly constructed homes in Victoria will be prohibited from connecting to natural gas.

This contentious decision, announced in July by former Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, is positioned as a cost-of-living measure. It is claimed that households will save up to $1,000 annually on energy bills while reducing household emissions.

As of January 1, planning permits for new homes and residential subdivisions will exclusively allow connections to all-electric networks.


To incentivize new homeowners to adopt all-electric systems, eligible builders, existing homeowners, and renters can access $1,400 in solar panel rebates and interest-free loans of $8,800 for household batteries.

Additionally, all Victorian households and businesses qualify for gas-to-electric rebates to upgrade heating, cooling, and hot water heaters.

Victoria’s Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, emphasized that transitioning to more efficient electric appliances would lead to substantial savings on bills. She stated, “We know that with every bill that arrives, gas is only going to get more expensive. That’s why we’re stepping in to help even more Victorians get the best deal on their energy bills.”

NSW Toll Cap at $60

Motorists in New South Wales using toll roads will face a weekly toll bill limit of $400 to benefit from the $60 cap. This fulfills a key election promise of the Labor government, effective from January 1, as part of a two-year trial.


During this trial, rebates will be issued through Service NSW starting April 2024. To qualify, drivers must be NSW residents using their cars for private reasons, excluding rideshare operators, heavy vehicles, taxis, and business-registered cars. The cap is applicable only to trips taken on NSW toll roads and cannot be claimed back through interstate toll accounts.

The government introduced a “fair use” provision, allowing drivers to claim up to $400 a week on tolls, or receive a maximum weekly rebate of $340, providing relief to approximately 720,000 drivers in western and northwest Sydney.

Second Home Tax Increase

Starting January 1, Victorians owning more than one home will face a ten-year increase in taxes as a “temporary” measure to assist the state in addressing its Covid-related debt.

Announced in May as part of Victoria’s budget changes, those owning more than one home will pay at least $5,000 over the next decade. The new tax includes a $500 annual levy for investment properties with a land value between $50,000 and $100,000. The payment increases to $975 for homes valued between $100,000 and $300,000, with an additional 0.1% of the land value applied to properties worth more than $300,000.


Treasurer Tim Pallas stated that approximately 860,000 landowners would be affected, with 380,000 being first-time taxpayers. He explained, “The Covid debt levy is targeted at those with the greatest ability to pay following the pandemic. We think it is fair that Victorians with multiple properties make a modest contribution to repaying Covid debt.”

Free Kindergarten in Queensland

Commencing January 1, parents in Queensland can access free kindergarten for children aged at least four-and-a-half. This initiative, announced in June’s state budget under former Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, aims to provide cost-of-living relief of up to $4,600 per year for an estimated 50,000 additional families.

The expansion of free kindergarten will cost the state $645 million, bringing the total investment in kindergarten to $2 billion over four years. The Queensland government has partnered with The Wiggles to promote this initiative during the Wiggly Big Day Out Tour.

“We’re proud to partner with the Queensland Government to promote the important message that kindy is free for all families from 2024,” said Blue Wiggle Anthony Field.



Plastic Bags Prohibited Once Again

Commencing January 1, heavy-duty plastic bags will face a ban in the ACT, marking the latest step in the territory’s campaign against single-use plastics.

Following South Australia, the ACT became the second jurisdiction in 2011 to prohibit lightweight plastic bags, replacing them with sturdier reusable alternatives. However, these durable bags fell short of their intended reuse, prompting City Services Minister Chris Steel to express his observations to Riotact in July.

“We noticed some community members using the heavyweight plastic bags, designed for reuse, as single-use items,” Minister Chris Steel explained.


Hence, this new ban aims to introduce superior alternatives that are not only more sustainable but also encourage both reuse and recycling.

The Plastic Reduction Act 2021 already banned a multitude of single-use plastic items, such as cutlery, stirrers, takeaway containers, straws, and cotton buds.

Further expansions occurred in two phases, with the latest additions effective from July 1, 2023. The new prohibitions encompass single-use plastic plates and bowls, polystyrene loose-fill packaging and trays, as well as plastic microbeads found in washing and cleaning products.

Facilitating Employment for Seniors

Starting January 1, seniors and veterans desiring to continue working will experience improved conditions, allowing them to earn additional income without affecting their pension payments.


The federal government has decided to permanently raise the Work Bonus limit by $4,000, elevating it from $7,800 to $11,800. This modification, initially introduced as a temporary measure until the close of 2023, is now a permanent adjustment.

Under the pension income test, single pensioners can earn $204 per fortnight, while couples can earn $360 within the pension income free area. Additionally, the $300 per fortnight Work Bonus is applied, providing seniors the opportunity to increase their allowable earnings. Essentially, a single age pensioner could now earn up to $504 per fortnight from employment and still receive the maximum pension rate.

Moreover, the Work Bonus Income Bank allows pensioners to accumulate any unused portion of the $300 Work Bonus to offset against future income. This feature is particularly beneficial for those engaged in sporadic or occasional work.

In the period from December 1, 2022, to December 31, 2023, the government introduced a one-time temporary credit of $4,000 to Work Bonus Income Bank balances and raised the maximum balance to $11,800.

Following advocacy from National Seniors Australia in September, the government confirmed the permanence of this change effective January 1.


Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth emphasized the importance of ensuring that older Australians are encouraged to work if they wish to do so, without facing financial disadvantages. She stated, “No one should be financially disadvantaged by staying in the workforce longer or returning to the workforce after some time away.

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