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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

 

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Transcript
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

Press Conference, Melbourne
Monday, 15 March 2004

Announcement of the TESAW award program


Mike O'Neill - Bigstep:

Well, good morning everybody, and welcome along here to this exciting moment of the announcement for the TESAW award program.

To my industry colleagues, it's very special to be able to welcome you here this morning, knowing that the competition that you drive for appliances.

The intention this morning is to enable the announcement of what has been a work over several months by the Australian Greenhouse Office into developing the TESAW award program.

This ministerial launch of the program reflects some fifteen years of work actually, when we go back to the original energy labelling program that was developed for appliances back in 1988-1989.

And so it gives me great pleasure to ask you to welcome the federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, the Honourable Dr David Kemp to the lectern.

[Applause]

Dr David Kemp - Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage

Thank you very much, Michael O'Neill.

First of all, could I say how pleased I am to see such a very good industry representation here this morning. I think it's terrific that the industry has thrown itself behind this new award. Clearly, it's of great interest, not only to the industry, but of consumers, and I know as a future purchaser of appliances of this kind, that I shall in future be looking very closely at appliances to see whether or not they've performed in terms of this particular award.

This award this morning is part of a broader picture, and perhaps it might be useful just to say something about that broader picture first of all.

Australia takes the whole issue of climate change and greenhouse gas abatement very seriously. We've been a participant in international meetings to negotiate targets for greenhouse gas abatement, and Australia is well on track to meet its internationally negotiated target.

In order to do this, we need to see action on quite a large number of fronts. We need to see, particularly the major power generators producing power, much more efficiently in the future than they have in the past. We need to see our transport sector using cleaner fuels with less greenhouse gas emissions. And, of course, we want to encourage households, consumers and businesses to reduce their own call on energy by using efficient technologies and efficient appliances.

These appliances, of course, are particularly aimed at the household sector. And we have a growing consciousness amongst Australian householders of the contribution that they can make to cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions.

I've had the opportunity to visit householders which have been rated as producing some ten tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, reducing their emissions to around about one or two tonnes. And they've done that by very careful effort.

Now, that's only, of course, a minority of households at the moment. But, increasingly, we're finding householders more and more conscious of the energy that they're using.

I suppose, their first thought is that they can reduce the bills by buying an energy efficient product. But increasingly, I believe people are recognising that by doing so, they are also making a contribution to a better globe, a better world, a more stable climate. That's going to take a long time, but we need to start somewhere, and these awards are an important first step along the road to making a contribution to stabilising the world's climate.

I've no doubt that once this award becomes well known, consumers will be hunting it out as they go and look at new products.

The minimum energy performance standards have, of course, laid the basis for the energy rating labels that consumers are now very conscious of. We know that the existing energy rating labels have got a very good consumer take-up. The six electrical products involved in those – refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers and airconditioners – now carry these labels, and they're very relevant, as manufacturers know, to the choices that consumers make.

The top energy saver award winner label, which we're launching here this morning, is as Michael O'Neill said, the product of quite a long period of work and consumer testing. This particular label is one that has been tested in quite a large number of focus groups, and the design of the label has been influenced by what consumers have told us about it.

So, we believe that the label this morning is one which consumers will find both recognisable, easy to understand and increasingly relevant to their choices. Over time, we'll doubtless see further evolution in this label.

Can I say again how pleased I am that the manufacturers have given such strong support to this new label. It's not only a way of recognising and advertising the good work that's been done in producing more efficient appliances, but of course it's also a driver to increasing efficiency in the industry, because the chance of winning an award of this kind is going to be very much in the minds of designers as they look at the products and work out ways of making sure that those products are increasingly energy efficient in the future.

The criteria for the award are being determined each year; that doesn't mean they're going to change greatly from year to year, but it does mean that as new technology comes along, the award will be able to take that into account. And manufacturers will know as they begin a year's work, what the criteria will be for the award and be able to gear and dovetail their work in research and development to the award towards the end of the year.

So once again, it gives me great pleasure this morning to acknowledge the work of the Australian Greenhouse Office and the industry in improving once again the information that's going out to consumers.

In Australia we've got well-educated markets, we've got a market which is much, much more aware from year to year of the consequences of the consumer choices that it makes. And consumers will now have another tool available to them. The industry will have another tool available to it to tell consumers that it is really conscious of the need for energy efficiency; it's working to produce appliances of the kind that will make a contribution to each household, to the economy of each household and to the greenhouse gas emissions that that household will be responsible for.

So thank you all for being here this morning and it now gives me very great pleasure to launch this morning the top energy-savers award. Thank you.

[Applause]

Convenor:

Thank you, Minister. I'd like to call on Peter Murphy now to respond on behalf of the appliance industry.

Peter Murphy, CEO for Miele.

[Applause]

Peter Murphy - Miele Australia:

Thank you. So, on behalf of the industry, it's a pleasure to respond to the minister on the launch of the TESAW, Top Energy Saver Award.

The electrical appliance industry, despite its highly-competitive nature, is able to demonstrate leadership by working in a cooperative manner with the Australian Greenhouse Office to deliver initiatives such as this to the … to improve our community.

Miele, our company, as the inaugural recipient of the former Galaxy Star Award in 1996, has watched with interest the continued efforts of the Australian Greenhouse Office to work with the electrical appliance industry to progressively raise the bar to benefit the community with more efficient appliances.

The TESAW product-recognition program now expands this activity nationally, allowing coordinated marketing activities between retailers and manufacturers to elevate the already strong awareness by consumers.

It's interesting that the automobile industry has acknowledged the strength of recognition by consumers of the energy-efficiency labelling by introducing a similar method for vehicle fuel efficiency.

So, Minister, your presence here today sends a strong message to the industry and Australian consumers of the Australian government support for energy efficiency and consumers making informed choices; so thank you for your support.

Kemp:

Thank you.

Murphy:

Thank you.

Convenor:

Thank you, Peter; Minister, thank you for your time; and to our industry colleagues, thank you for your time. And I guess, as one final piece, Minister, the formation that will take place in coming months of a working group within the industry of marketing people to take forward the communication strategy to the consumer, to ensure the consumers are fully aware and conversant with what the TESAW program is all about. So we look forward to working with the industry.

Please would you enjoy some hospitality, at the back of the room – coffee and juice – and I'm sure the minister would like to meet you and ask a few questions as he moves around.

Thank you, Minister.

[Applause]

Commonwealth of Australia