A ban on shipping rubbish made up of unprocessed plastic, paper, glass and tyres overseas was announced by Farrer MP Sussan Ley this week.
In her role as Environment Minister, Ms Ley introduced legislation to Parliament that she said would force Australia to take responsibility for its waste and recycling.
The plan had been agreed to by federal, state and territory governments back in March this year.
"This is about tackling a national environmental issue that has been buried in landfill or shipped offshore for far too long," Ms Ley said.
"This is a once in a generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity."
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She said the government would spend $190 million to create a fund to improve recycling in Australia.
The ban on exporting the rubbish will start with glass from January 2021 and continue through to a ban on exporting unsorted paper and cardboard from July 2024.
"Australians care deeply about recycling, and they want to be confident that when they put things in their recycling bin, or deliver them to a collection centre, they will be repurposed effectively, and not dumped in landfill or simply sent overseas," Ms Ley told Parliament.
But the legislation did not go as far as many wanted.
Professor Graeme Samuel this year conducted the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
He had recommended a legally enforceable National Environmental Standards should be the centrepiece of any environment reform, "setting clear and concise rules that deliver outcomes for the environment and enable development to continue in a sustainable way".
"National Environmental Standards will mean that the community and business can know what to expect," he said.
Ms Ley the government was setting clear expectations about the need to take responsibility for waste.