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Department of the Environment and Heritage annual report 2004-05

Volume two
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.

Objects of the Act

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.

new water efficiency label.

A new water efficiency label will show consumers the water efficiency of common appliances.

WELS intergovernmental agreement

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:

Determinations, standards, and registrations

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:

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.

Internal and Administrative Appeals Tribunal review

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.

Infringement notices, enforceable undertakings, injunctions and penalties

The regulator was not required to take any enforcement action during 2004–05.