Plastic rings are no longer in your money, but are in some wallets anyway.
The Federal Government has put new rules in place to make them more difficult to buy online.
The rules are designed to prevent money laundering and terrorists from getting hold of large amounts of money.
“These new regulations, which were introduced in 2018, will ensure that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and other agencies are able to investigate transactions made with plastic and other potentially harmful goods,” said the Department of Finance in a statement.
“In particular, plastic and counterfeit money will be banned in the retail marketplace, and the AFP will be able to obtain relevant warrants to seize goods and money that it believes are being used for criminal activity.”
What does this mean for you?
“The AFP will have greater investigative powers, the ability to conduct further investigations and take further actions if required,” it added.
“Further action will also be taken by the Commonwealth, the Attorney-General and the Department for Justice to ensure the safety of the Australian public.”
There are currently about 3.3 million plastic rings in Australia, according to the AFP.
It is thought these rings could have been bought in shops and other retail outlets before being taken to a “smugglers’ hideout” and then smuggled out.
“The Government has taken action to help deter criminals from getting access to these items and they will continue to be an important part of the AFP’s efforts to combat money laundering,” the statement read.
“A range of measures have been implemented to support the AFP in its efforts to stop the spread of these illegal goods and to help identify and disrupt counterfeiters.”
Why is it so hard to buy plastic?
The new rules mean that items can only be bought online.
You will have to send your bank details and the item to the correct Australian Post address.
You must then return the item in a paper bag with a label and postal code.
You cannot take it home.
You may have to pay the $30 fee.
“If you are unable to purchase a plastic ring online, you can still make a payment at the post office,” the AFP said.
“You will need to pay a fee to get your payment processed.”
A number of other items have also been added to the list of banned items.
These include cash, currency, jewellery and other items that may be used in crimes.
The new restrictions will also stop Australian banks and other financial institutions from accepting overseas payments.
“For now, the Government is working with overseas institutions to introduce a process to process overseas payments that will provide an alternative way of settling payments and provide additional protection for Australian residents,” the Department said.
What do you do if you find a plastic item?
If you have found a plastic object, you should report it to the Australian Border Force and send it to a Border Protection station.
You can call the Border Protection hotline on 1800 888 622.
The AFP is encouraging anyone who finds a plastic piece of jewellery or cash to report it.
If you are concerned about a person using a plastic bag, you could report it via the Crime Stoppers phone line on 1800 333 000.
It’s up to you to report the item.