The Australian government has released this final report of the Independent Review of the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 (GEMS Act). The review is a statutory requirement to ensure the GEMS Act remains appropriate and effective in reducing Australia’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Ms Anna Collyer, a partner at law firm Allens, was appointed to undertake the review.
The Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 (GEMS Act) came into effect on 1 October 2012, creating a national framework for product energy efficiency in Australia. The legislation requires that a review of the GEMS Act take place as soon as possible after five years of its operation. This report provides the findings and recommendations of this independent review. These have been informed by submissions to the March 2018 discussion paper and the November 2018 draft report, as well as group and one-on-one meetings between the independent reviewer and stakeholders.
The final report finds that the GEMS Act is achieving its purpose of providing a streamlined nationally-consistent approach to appliance energy efficiency while effectively reducing energy use, power bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
It also finds that, for the GEMS Act to continue to meet its objectives, and reduce costs of living for Australian households, its operation will need to adapt to changing market conditions and requirements. Potential ways the GEMS Act could deliver additional benefits include:
- Updating energy efficiency standards for products that are already regulated. Any such updates would need to take into account technological advances and international best practice
- Expanding to new high energy using products that are not currently regulated in Australia. The “low hanging fruit” of standardised consumer goods have already been captured under the GEMS Act. To facilitate coverage of further high energy using products, updates to some registration and compliance arrangements, to make them more flexible, would be required.
- Expediting development and implementation of regulations. When considering this improvement, it is extremely important that a balance be found between expedience and adequate consultation with stakeholders.
- Improving the effectiveness of the energy rating label. This would enhance customer understanding of the choices available to them and, together with broader education and awareness activities, assist customers to better engage with energy efficiency