NSW wine drinkers to cash in: What you've missed this week


Cheers! NSW's Return and Earn set to expand, free kindy for flood-affected Victorians, and new ETF lets investors tap into the race to net zero. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Wine lovers toast Return and Earn expansion

The 'Return and Earn' scheme which allows NSW residents to pocket 10 cents for each eligible bottle returned to a Return and Earn recycling centre, is set to expand.

nsw return and earn wine bottles

At present the scheme only accepts smaller bottles and cans. But NSW Minister for Environment James Griffin has opened up public consultation for an expansion of the scheme.

"We already accept beer, cider and a range of other beverage containers through Return and Earn, and now we are looking to include glass wine and spirits bottles and larger drink containers," Griffin says.

The scheme, which the NSW government describes as "wildly popular", has been used by almost 80% of adults in NSW.

More than 8 billion containers have been returned since Return and Earn launched in late 2017, delivering $800 million in refunds to households, raising $35 million for charities, and halving the state's drink container litter.

Given that Australian adults each consume an average of around 38 standard (750 ml) bottles of wine each year, the scheme could put an extra $3.80 back into NSW wallets. It won't cover a shout at the local but it's a start.

Blacktown tops the list of locations that have embraced Return and Earn, with residents recycling 461,775,040 containers since 2017. That's worth raising a glass to.

Victoria makes kindy free for flood-affected pre-schoolers

Flood-affected families in Victoria will be able to send their 3- and 4-year-old children to kinder at no cost for Term 4 2022.

More than 100 early childhood education centres in Victoria have been affected by recent flooding.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, says, "This emergency is distressing enough for families without worrying about their kids' education - that's why we're making kinder free for those most affected by the floods."

The initiative brings forward the Free Kinder program that launches state-wide across Victoria from the start of 2023, with potential savings for families of up to $2,500 per child per year.

Free Kinder is expected to allow more than 28,000 Victorians - including 26,600 women, to return to work in the new year.

The offer of free kindy for families battling flooding comes on top of emergency payments of up to $2,030 per eligible family, including $580 per adult and $290 per child, to help meet immediate needs including food, shelter and clothing.

ETF taps into clean energy resources

The Albanese Government's Climate Change Bills see Australia aim for net zero emissions by 2050, and the move away from fossil fuels can spell opportunities for investors.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the transition to clean energy solutions requires "substantial amounts of metals such as copper, nickel, cobalt and lithium".

The jump in demand could see the price of these metals increase fourfold by 2040 according to the IMF.

Investors can tap into this growth potential through the upcoming launch of the BetaShares Energy Transition Metals exchange traded fund (ETF).

The ETF will provide exposure to a portfolio of global companies involved in the production of the raw materials needed to transition to a less carbon-intensive economy, including copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, manganese, silver and rare earth elements.

The Betashares Energy Transition Metals will trade with the ticker code XMET.

$109 million returned, $1.5 billion waiting to be claimed

In these budget-stretching times, it's remarkable that there is a pool of $1.5 billion in forgotten cash just waiting to be claimed.

ASIC's latest annual report shows $109.7 million of 'lost' money was reunited with its rightful owners over the last year.

But over the same period, a further $289 million has joined the line-up of forgotten funds comprised of unclaimed bank accounts, shares, investments and life insurance policies.

To check if any of the $1.5 billion belongs to you, head to the unclaimed money search on the Moneysmart website.

QBE LMI launches 5% saving for green home buyers

If you're buying, building or refinancing an eco-friendly home it may be possible to save a bundle on lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

QBE LMI, is offering a 5% rate reduction on the cost of LMI, but only for customers who take out green mortgages available through National Australia Bank (NAB) and Bank Australia.

To classify as 'green' the home being financed must have at a minimum NatHERS 7-star rating or Green Building Council of Australia Green Star Homes certification.

Pat Priest, General Manager, LMI at QBE Australia Pacific, says the benefit is designed to support customers who are committed to green housing, adding, "We know that making properties sustainable is not only good for the environment, but also adds value to homes."

100% of the LMI premiums collected that receive the 5% benefit will be channelled into investments that have social or environmental benefits through QBE's Premiums 4 Good initiative.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.