Energy efficiency legislation to be reviewed

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The first review of the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 (GEMS Act) will be undertaken by the Federal Government .

The Act – which allows the Commonwealth to set uniform, national energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment – has driven significant improvements in energy efficiency, contributing to reduced energy consumption, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Minister for Energy and Environment, Josh Frydenberg, said, “To date, standards under the GEMS Act have saved the average household between $140 and $220 on their electricity bill each year.”

In 2016, the net benefit to the economy was in the range of $870 million to $1.58 billion, with greenhouse gas emissions savings of between 4.5 and 6.9 mega tonnes, equivalent to half of Queensland’s total household emissions.

“From 2015 to 2020, the GEMS Act is estimated to reduce Australia’s emissions by at least 27 mega tonnes. That’s the same as taking over eight million cars off the road for a year,” Mr Frydenberg said.

The statutory review is an important part of continuous improvement to ensure the GEMS Act remains appropriate and effective.

“It is an excellent opportunity to reflect on changing appliance and equipment use, emerging technologies, the increasing connectedness of appliances and international best practice,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“What we must always focus on is maximising the benefit to consumers and, at the same time, providing a dividend for the environment.”

The review will be conducted by Anna Collyer, a partner and head of innovation at law firm Allens. Specialising in the energy sector for over 20 years, Ms Collyer is one of Australia’s leading energy lawyers, having advised governments and market institutions on a wide range of legislative and regulatory reform as well as acted for industry participants on commercial transactions.

The review will include consultation with a range of stakeholders, including industry and consumer groups as well as state, territory and New Zealand governments.

The requirements of the review are outlined in the Terms of Reference. The review will commence immediately and deliver a final report during 2018.

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