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Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme

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Companies breach water efficiency and labelling laws

Date Published: 
08 August 2011

Three companies from the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Victoria have agreed to improve their business practices and provide awareness training to staff after failing to comply with national water efficiency labelling and standards legislation at their business premises.

The failures to comply were determined by the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Regulator, within the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. The Regulator has the option to use administrative actions, such as enforceable undertakings, as an alternative to prosecution, to help manufacturers, importers and retailers to meet their legal obligations under the WELS Act.

All companies have now given enforceable undertakings to the WELS Regulator to improve practices and better inform their staff of their legal obligations.

Bathroom supplies company, Lighting and Ceramics Supplies Pty Limited, has given an enforceable undertaking to the WELS Regulator after the department found that the Fyshwick premises in Canberra was supplying products not labelled as required under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005.

Timber and hardware supplies company, Bretts Pty Ltd, has given an enforceable undertaking to the WELS Regulator after the department found that the Windsor premises in Queensland was supplying products not registered and labelled as required under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005.

Spa supplies company, Dandy Paradise Spa Company Pty Ltd, has given an enforceable undertaking to the WELS Regulator after the department found that the Noble Park premises in Victoria was supplying products not registered and labelled as required under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005.

Companies supplying products such as clothes washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, urinals, taps and showers must register and label their products in line with national laws. The laws also apply to products being sold through avenues other than shopfronts, such as showrooms, warehouses, by auction, mail order and via the internet.

These laws are in place to ensure that consumers are appropriately informed and can make smart choices about water use and water efficient products.

Under the agreement, the companies will undertake the following activities in their business premises:

  • improve business practices to ensure that all products subject to the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme are supplied in accordance with the legislation
  • implement a record system for WELS products
  • deliver a compliance training program to staff
  • undertake a range of internal product auditing and related reporting measures
  • be subject to independent product auditing at their cost, to both assist and ensure future compliance.

The WELS Scheme and legislation aims to conserve water supplies by reducing consumption, promoting efficient water use and water saving technologies and ensuring consumers have access to rated and labelled water efficient products.

The maximum penalty for an individual offence under the Act is $33,000 for a corporation and $6,600 for an individual.