Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil new Commonwealth procurement rules to increase demand for recycled products at a national plastics summit in Canberra today. Commonwealth agencies would need to consider environmental sustainability and use of recycled content in every procurement decision under the new approach, reports Guardian Australia. Morrison will also pledge to match industry investment in recycling infrastructure dollar for dollar. The Boomerang Alliance and the World Wide Fund for Nature called on the government to mandate that all plastic packaging be reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025, but environment minister Sussan Ley said mandating plastic targets could lead to increased cost for consumers and be impossible to regulate. McDonalds and Nestle will be among companies ($) to pledge they will reduce plastic waste at the summit. On Sunday, more than 630,000 people participated in Clean Up Australia day, collecting 16,500 tonnes of rubbish.
COVID-19: Four more Australians have tested positive for COVID-19 after recent visits to Iran. The cases in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland come after 78-year-old Perth man James Kwan became Australia's first fatality due to the virus, after he holidayed aboard the Diamond Princess cruise in Japan, which was placed under an extended quarantine. The virus has now infected more than 88,000 people and spread to more than 60 countries around the world; with Armenia, the Czech Republic, Qatar, Ecuador, Luxembourg and Ireland experiencing their first cases over the weekend.
Summer stretching: Australia is experiencing an extra 31 days of summer heat every year compared to half a century ago, according to new analysis. The Australia Institute examined data from Bureau of Meteorology weather stations between 1999 to 2018 and compared it to Australian weather records from 1950 to 1969, and found winter conditions reduced by about three weeks. “Those average summer temperatures are starting a lot earlier and they're finishing a lot later, so summers have become twice as long as winters in the last five years,” said climate and energy program director from the Australia Institute, Richie Merzian. Federal Greens leader Adam Bandt will this week introduce a bill into parliament to formally declare a climate emergency, mandating the establishment of a “war cabinet” to tackle the crisis.
Uighur forced labour: Nike, Apple and a manufacturer building trains in Australia are among dozens of companies implicated in forced Uighur labour, according to a new report by the US State Department-funded Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The ASPI report estimates that 80,000 Uighurs have been transferred from re-education camps into factories that supply the brands. “Local Chinese governments and private brokers are paid a price per head for workers on the labour assignments,” ASPI found. Chinese officials denied any commercial use of forced labour from Xinjiang.