Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005
ISSN 1441 9335
Legislation annual reports 2004-05 (continued)
Operation of the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005
This annual report is prepared in accordance with section 75 of the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005. It covers the operation of the Act from 18 February 2005 to 30 June 2005.
The objects of the Act are to conserve water supplies by reducing water consumption, to provide information for purchasers of water-use and water-saving products, and to promote the adoption of efficient and effective water-use and water-saving technologies.
The Australian Government formulated the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme in collaboration with state and territory governments to introduce national mandatory water efficiency labelling and minimum performance standards for household water-using products. The scheme is administered by the regulator, being the secretary of the Department of the Environment and Heritage.
A new water efficiency label will show consumers the water efficiency of common appliances.
A Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Agreement was developed by the Australian Government and the states and territories and commences upon execution by the Australian Government and two other parties, including at least one state. Currently Victoria has executed the agreement.
The agreement encourages each state and territory government to submit legislation to its Parliament by June 2005 to form part of the scheme, in order to ensure that the scheme applies consistently to all persons, things and activities within Australia.
To date, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have enacted corresponding water efficiency labelling and standards legislation, and Tasmania has introduced the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Bill to its parliament.
The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Regulations 2005 were developed under section 77 of the Act and introduced to the Australian parliament on 31 May 2005. Regulations made under the Act will:
- clarify which decisions made by the regulator under a corresponding state-territory law are reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- prescribe the circumstances in which a person other than the manufacturer of a WELS product may be taken to be the manufacturer of the product
- set out procedures for the issuing and payment of penalty infringement notices as an alternative to prosecution for offences against the Act
- specify the information to be included on an identity card issued to a WELS inspector.
The minister has made one determination since commencement of the Act—the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Determination 2005. Under this determination, a product of any of the following categories of water-use or water-saving products is a WELS product if the WELS standard applies to it:
- clothes washing machines
- lavatory equipment
- tap equipment
- urinal equipment
- flow controllers.
The primary standard currently applying to WELS products under the above determination is the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS6400:2005 Water-efficient products—Rating and labelling.
The manufacturer of a WELS product may apply in writing to the regulator for registration of a product. The period for voluntary registration commenced on 1 July 2005.
The regulator received no applications for internal review under section 71 of the Act. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal received no applications for review under section 72 of the Act.
The regulator was not required to take any enforcement action during 2004–05.