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20 September 2023

Improvements passed to the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012

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Important improvements to the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 (the GEMS Act) have been passed by the Australian Parliament on 20 September 2023.

These improvements will address known administrative issues and some findings made in the 2019 Independent Review of the GEMS Act, including:

  • Making it easier for suppliers and businesses selling custom or bespoke products.

    Prior to the changes businesses needed to register customised or bespoke products before offering them for sale or supply. This change would mean businesses will only need to register a custom GEMS-related product when the product has been produced and ready to supply to the buyer.
  • Extending ‘grandfathering’ provisions to compliant stock.

    Prior to the changes only stock that couldn’t meet the GEMS requirements and was manufactured in, or imported into, Australia prior to the new or updated determination taking effect could continue to be sold without registration. This change will mean all existing stock of products that have already been imported or manufactured in Australia that would be compliant under new or updated determinations, can continue to be supplied without the need to test or register.
  • Enabling timely and targeted exemptions.

    This change means the GEMS Regulator will be able to make a product exempt from a specific part of a requirement in a determination, rather than only being able to make them exempt from the whole requirement. For example, prior to the changes if a particular dishwasher detergent specified in a testing standard was unavailable, the GEMS Regulator could only exempt the product from the overall labelling requirement and that product couldn’t have an Energy Rating Label. This change means that an exemption can be made to use an alternative dishwashing detergent, so the product may be assessed under the energy labelling requirements.
  • Enabling new testing methods to be recognised.

    Prior to the changes GEMS determinations stated that products must comply with specified testing methods to be registered. However, international testing methods are often updated, and this can result in businesses needing to test products multiple times. These changes will provide the GEMS Regulator the flexibility to recognise new and updated testing methods that are at least equivalent to Australian standards and also remove the need to conduct testing specifically for the Australian market.

These changes enhance and modernise the GEMS Act by making it easier for businesses and industry to comply with the regulations and provide flexibility to introduce more energy efficient products in the Australian market. These updates also support the National Energy Transformation Partnership by helping Australia meet its international commitments to climate change and reach Net Zero by 2050.

Read more about the changes in the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Amendment (Administrative Changes) Bill 2023 (GEMS Bill). The changes will be incorporated into the GEMS Act 2012 shortly, visit the Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government compilations area for more information. 

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