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The Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 is the legislation behind product registration and labelling requirements in Australia.

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The Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 (GEMS Act) came into effect on 1 October 2012 and created a national framework for appliance and equipment energy efficiency in Australia. It aims to promote the development and adoption of appliances and equipment that use less energy and produce less greenhouse gases.

The GEMS Act contains:

  • the legal basis for Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Determinations to be made and what they must cover (Part 4 of the GEMS Act)
  • requirements and processes to apply, vary, suspend or cancel registrations (Part 5 of the GEMS Act)
  • the functions of the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Regulator (Part 6 of the GEMS Act)
  • provisions for monitoring and investigation activities (Part 7 of the GEMS Act)
  • processes and penalties for non-compliance (Part 8 of the GEMS Act)
  • provisions for appeal and review of decisions.

The GEMS Act is administered by the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Regulator, who is based in the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

Review of the GEMS Act

The GEMS Act specifies that an independent review of the Act must be conducted after five years of its operation.

The independent review of the GEMS Act was finalised in 2019. The purpose of the review was to ensure the GEMS Act remains appropriate and effective in reducing Australia’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The final report found that the GEMS Act is achieving its purpose of providing a streamlined nationally consistent approach to product energy efficiency while effectively reducing energy use, power bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

It also made several recommendations to enable the GEMS Act to meet its objectives and deliver additional benefits, including:

  • updating energy efficiency standards for products that are already regulated
  • expanding to new high energy-using products that are not currently regulated in Australia
  • expediting development and implementation of regulations, and
  • improving the effectiveness of the Energy Rating Label.

These recommendations are being considered in several ways, including through streamlining the processes and implementation of the GEMS Act, increasing product regulation analysis under the Equipment Energy Efficiency Program, and investigating whether the GEMS Act can be updated and modernised.

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