New laws to strike home at smokers, parents and car owners

THE New Year brings a raft of laws including a further crackdown on smoking, new arrangements for parents and car registration stickers going the way of the dodo.

Smoking near playgrounds, public sports grounds, bus stops, railway platforms and swimming pools will attract a $550 on-the-spot fine under State Government laws to come into force this month.

It will also be illegal to smoke within 4m of the entrance of a public building.

The 84,000 single parents who receive parenting payments will shifted to Newstart allowance when their youngest child turns eight.

The move is to save the Federal Government more than $720 million over four years, but welfare groups say it will increase poverty.

From yesterday parents in a couple who are expecting or who adopt a child will receive two weeks leave or about $1200 in total.

This is under the Gillard Government's Dad and Partner Pay scheme.

Same-sex partners can also take advantage of the scheme, which is partners who meet specified income and work criteria.

The Schoolkids Bonus payments will start for eligible families, with $410 a year for primary students and $820 a year for high school students.

Car registration stickers will become a thing of the past with police and road traffic authorities using number plate recognition technology to check whether motorists have paid their registration. It will save $575,000 in printing.

New boarding house regulations require operators to register with NSW Fair Trading by June 30.

Additional measures requiring a minimum level of accommodation standard will be phased in over the next 12 months.

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