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Archived media releases and speeches


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Media Release
Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

1 December 2004

Call to cut water usage as bill reintroduced

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today urged business and domestic users to slash water consumption this summer.

His call came as the Government reintroduced legislation to establish a mandatory national water efficiency labelling and standards scheme expected to save more than $600 million in water and energy costs by 2021.

"This scheme will be the first of its kind in the world," Senator Campbell said.

"By this time next year, consumers and businesses will be able to make informed decisions about which products will help them save water, with all washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, showers, some types of taps and urinals carrying a star rating on their water efficiency.

"The scheme will also set minimum water efficiency standards for toilets.

"While we wait for the scheme's implementation, I urge everyone to think about what they can do either as individuals or as part of their local community to conserve water.

"Next year will see some major reforms in water policy, as the Australian Government implements its election commitment and investment starts to flow under the $2 billion Australian Water Fund.

"As well as major infrastructure projects and continuing work to save the River Murray, the Government will be supporting practical work by urban and regional community groups with a $200 million community grants programme."

Senator Campbell said efficiency labelling was projected to cut domestic water use by five per cent or 87,200 megalitres per year. A total of 610,000 megalitres — more water than in Sydney Harbour — will be conserved by 2021. Nearly half the water savings will come from washing machines, about 25 per cent from showers and 22 per cent from toilets.

"A water efficient washing machine uses two-fifths of what a water guzzler uses," he said. "An eight-minute shower using a regular showerhead uses around 120 litres of water, whereas a water efficient shower uses only around 70 litres. A water efficient dual flush toilet uses on average around eight litres less water per flush than an older-style 12-litre cistern.

"This scheme will help consumers make informed decisions about which appliance to purchase and the water savings that are possible. Clever, water efficient designs will benefit consumers, the economy and the environment."

A sample label can be downloaded at

Commonwealth of Australia