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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

1 July 2005

Voluntary water labelling starts today


Australia's first 6-star Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme opens for business today, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has announced.

Chairing a meeting of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council in Perth, Senator Campbell urged manufacturers and importers of dishwashers, washing machines, showers, toilets, urinals and some kinds of taps to register their products and start labelling them under the scheme.

"Voluntary labelling is possible from today, and manufacturers are already responding enthusiastically to the scheme, with labelling mandatory for most products from next July," Senator Campbell said.

"The WELS scheme is one of a comprehensive raft of measures to save water under the $2 billion Australian Water Fund and follows the launch yesterday of the Australian Government's $200 million Community Water Grants.

"I am pleased to confirm today the states and territory environment ministers have backed the Australian Government's efforts and have pledged at today's EPHC meeting to work collaboratively to implement these and other elements of the National Water Initiative."

The development and implementation of the Smart Approved WaterMark scheme is already working to complement the WELS scheme by focusing on outdoor water using products, services and organisations.

Other measures progressed today include a joint effort with health ministers to develop water quality guidelines progressed under the National Water Quality Management Strategy; the development of national health and environmental guidelines for water-sensitive urban design, targeting safe recycling of sewage and grey-water and the capture and use of stormwater; and guidelines for evaluating options for water-sensitive urban developments.

The council also discussed a national strategy to reduce the salts and other chemical fillers that provide bulk in many washing detergents but make recycled water difficult to reuse. It will work with the Water Services Association of Australia and the industry group that represents detergent manufacturers, Accord, to develop options for national product standards for detergents.

Further information about the EPHC is available at www.ephc.gov.au Information about the WELS scheme is at www.waterrating.gov.au

Media Contact: Marianne McCabe 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580

Commonwealth of Australia