Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards - civil action for alleged non-compliance

Civil proceedings are progressing against 4 companies and their sole director under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005.

The Federal Court will consider whether the 4 companies, including 2 under liquidation, and their sole director contravened the Act by advertising products that were not registered or labelled in accordance with the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme.

Current maximum civil penalties are up to $13,320 for an individual, and up to $66,600 for a corporation for each proven breach of section 33 or 34 of the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005.

Compliance with WELS requirements are vital to maintain confidence in the credibility and reliability of the scheme.

It ensures accurate information is provided to consumers about products such as taps, showerheads and washing machines to help them choose goods that conserve water.

Compliance is also important to ensure the costs of the scheme are shared fairly across industry participants who must pay registration fees.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is responsible for the WELS scheme in collaboration with state and territory governments and works closely with industry to help them understand registration, labelling and installation requirements for regulated products.

Non-compliance with WELS is taken seriously. There is a range of penalties and enforcement actions that can be applied by the WELS Regulator.

These are made under the WELS Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

The next case management hearing in the Federal Court is listed for 19 March 2021. The hearing will set a date for a substantive hearing on liability.

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