Functions of the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme are detailed in Commonwealth, state and territory legislation.
Legislation sets the goals and regulatory functions of the scheme, including our powers to monitor and enforce scheme requirements.
This includes our powers to enforce the requirements of water efficiency standards.
There are two Commonwealth Acts, and associated legislation, that provide the legal framework for the WELS scheme.
Refer to the legislative documents for full details of all powers and functions they establish. This overview should be used as a guide only.
The key piece of legislation is the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005 (WELS Act), which establishes the:
- objects of the Act
- definition of the term ‘supply’ in relation to the WELS scheme
- authority for the Minister to establish registration processes and determine what products are regulated by the scheme
- WELS Regulator and their functions and powers
- offences and civil penalties relating to the WELS scheme
- appointment of WELS inspectors and their powers, including information they can require from entities
- WELS special account and its allowable uses
- decisions that are ‘reviewable decisions’.
The WELS Act is supported by the:
- Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Regulations 2005 which establishes
- additional detail on who can register products
- procedures for infringement notices, including for payment extensions and withdrawal of notices
- details of WELS inspector identity cards
- Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Determination 2013 (No.2) which establishes
- WELS products, and definition of a minor product
- the WELS standard as Australian Standard 6400:2016 Water efficient products — Rating and labelling
- the requirement that WELS products used or installed in a plumbing installation comply with section G of the Plumbing Code or section 2.2 of Part 1 of Australian Standard 3500
- additional details of registration processes and requirements, including periods of registration, and requirements for a product to remain registered
- instances when a registration can be cancelled or suspended
- the requirement that the WELS Regulator keep a register of WELS products (our product registration database).
- Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Declaration 2016 which establishes state and territory legislation that corresponds to the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005
Registration fees charged under the WELS scheme are set by the:
- Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (Registration Fees) Act 2013 which enables the Minister to impose registration fees as taxes to recover the costs of administering the WELS scheme
- Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (Registration Fees) Determination 2013 which establishes the registration fee structures and amounts.
State and territory legislation
All Australian states and territories have complementary WELS legislation:
- Australian Capital Territory: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (ACT) Act 2015
- New South Wales: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (New South Wales) Act 2005
- Northern Territory: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (National Uniform Legislation) ACT 2014
- Queensland: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (Queensland) Act 2005
- South Australia: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (South Australia) Act 2013 [PDF, 48KB]
- Tasmania: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2013
- Victoria: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005
- Western Australia: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2006