$2m fine for WELS offences by plumbing products companies

Laws, regulations & standards

In December 2022, the Federal Court of Australia handed down the judgment in the first civil penalty case under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005.

The Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) regulates water efficiency standards for products such as taps, showers, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines.

The Court ordered Perth-based companies Renaissance Bathrooms, Traditional Taps, Castironbaths and Belfast Sinks, and the sole director of all four companies, Mr Andrew Shaw, to pay a total of $2.195 million for supplying tap, shower and lavatory products that were not registered or labelled as required by the WELS Act.

This included a personal $200,000 penalty for Mr Shaw because he was "knowingly concerned" in the contraventions of two of his companies.

Renaissance Bathrooms advertised, and Belfast Sinks sold, unregistered products, or registered products without labelling.

The Court issued injunctions against Mr Shaw and the two companies to prevent them from supplying non-compliant products for 5 years.

The Court also found that Mr Shaw’s two other companies, which are now insolvent, had contravened requirements of the WELS Act.

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