Review of the Regulatory Framework for the Safety of Household Electrical Products

Published

On 1 December 2023, Treasurers across Australia at the Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) agreed to review the national, state and territory electrical safety frameworks for household electrical consumer products.

Australia’s existing system for the safety of household electrical consumer products (low voltage and extra low voltage) is primarily made up of different state and territory laws administered and enforced by the electrical safety regulators in each jurisdiction. The existing system has protected consumers from unsafe products for many years, but, over time, inconsistencies and regulatory gaps have arisen. These issues impede the system’s national operation and ability to respond to emerging safety risks posed by new technologies.

The review is being conducted through a partnership between the Australian Government Department of Finance and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in consultation with states and territories. As part of this work, a Reform Action Plan will be developed, identifying areas for improvement for consideration by ministers responsible for electrical safety ahead of CFFR decision in the second half of 2024.

The review of the existing regulatory framework for household consumer electrical products (low voltage and extra low voltage) seeks to improve or maintain safety levels while ensuring regulation is fit for purpose, efficient and effective. This includes resolving inconsistencies and closing regulatory gaps to achieve national harmonisation.

The review will focus on 6 core priorities

  1. support the transition to net zero by identifying ways to maintain and strengthen consumer and business confidence in the safety of more energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies
  2. review suitability for increased international standards uptake that maintain or improve safety while not reducing ability of regulators to act on identified safety issues so as to maintain or improve protection of the community
  3. achieve national adoption of the Electrical Equipment Safety System to provide consistent pre-market controls and to reduce regulatory burden on businesses
  4. achieve appropriate regulatory coverage of extra-low voltage products
  5. enhance national Ministerial oversight and decision-making to ensure arrangements remain aligned, regulators are supported in their roles and align with expectations of electrical safety Ministers, including when products have been supplied nationally or by international suppliers
  6. achieve uniform compulsory recall powers for all states and territories to access that are supported by efficient and effective frameworks.

The review is conducting limited targeted consultations with business and consumer stakeholders, and can be contacted at electricalsafetytaskforce@accc.gov.au

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