By Chris Nicholls

CANBERRA: Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has today officially unveiled plans to introduce its 10-star energy rating scheme for appliances and established a voluntary labelling scheme for televisions.

The 10-star plan means all appliances sold in Australia from April 2009 will have to come with the new ratings label.

Television manufacturers have the option of introducing the 10-star label voluntarily within the next six months, with the Minister proposing to introduce mandatory labelling and standards next year.

Garrett said the decision coincided with a report that showed televisions were now the fourth largest household electricity user behind water heaters, fridges and lights. The report also predicted energy use will rise by 56 per cent by 2020.

“It is critical that we help households identify and invest in the latest cost-saving energy-efficient technologies in appliances, and energy and water saving design features,” he said.

“For more than 11 years, the previous government sat on its hands when it came to dealing with climate change and helping Australians take steps to reduce the size of their carbon footprint.

“On World Environment Day we want to help all Australians ‘kick the carbon habit’.”

The Minister also introduced plans for an accelerated phase out of incandescent light bulbs and said the government would publish a guide on how to “green-up” houses.

The incandescent bulb phase out was conceived in conjunction with the Lighting Council Australia and means importation of all incandescent bulbs will cease from November.

Retailers will be given another 12 months to sell existing supplies before any retail ban comes into effect.

The ‘Your Home Renovator’s Guide’, developed with the Victorian Building Commission, Sustainability Victoria, other state governments, the Centre for Design at RMIT and the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS, will be accompanied by a website.