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In this Edition

CEO report

As we come to the end of 2020, I would like to start by thanking our contributors, stakeholders, members and councillors for your ongoing commitment throughout this difficult and challenging year.

In 2020, we have continued strategic standards development within our traditional sectors, while supporting innovation in areas such as renewables and digital trade. We have worked together to bring essential guidance to industry, during the global health crisis through the development and adoption of international standards.

Standards Australia has been a trusted voice across international fora and platforms, with participation and collaboration providing new solutions to industry and community needs across sectors.

In a move to bring a digital Standards Australia forward, we strived towards our corporate objective of extending our reach, and relevance to Australian communities, by implementing significant updates to our contributor portal, Connect.

Moving forward into 2021, we are more focused than ever on delivering to the Australian community. Standards Australia is evolving our digital capabilities by building new functions to support distribution, product development and retail choice. As we implement our new strategic plan, our focus is clearly on meeting the needs of our contributors and customers and providing exceptional value and service.

We look forward to continuing to support our key stakeholders with the development of standards that enable our communities and increase our contribution and influence at the international level. We will endeavour to generate more value and become even more accessible to Australian industries, with some important announcements to come in the new year.

On behalf of Standards Australia, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

—Adrian O'Connell, Chief Executive

Tis the season!

The Standards Australia office will be closed from 3pm on Wednesday, 23 December and will reopen on Monday, 4 January 2021.

Standards Australia wish you all a safe and happy holidays!

Knowledge building for the construction sector

In partnership with the NSW Office of the Building Commissioner, Standards Australia is pleased to announce the launch of our new Construct NSW eLearning module, an in-depth educational resource about construction standards.

The eLearning module is an integral part of the work Standards Australia has been doing alongside the NSW Government in supporting a modern construction workforce through better education and knowledge sharing.

Read more in our recent release.

Sunscreen standard seeking comment

Standards Australia is currently seeking feedback on a key consumer safety standard, AS/NZS 2604, Sunscreen Products – Evaluation and Classification.

It doesn’t have to be a hot sunny day to risk exposure to sun damage, making sunscreen an important protection measure for many Australians. AS/NZS 2604 has been revised by health, government and industry experts to align with technological updates and international guidance.

We want to hear from you! The standard is currently open for public comment via our contributor portal, Connect, until 7 January 2021.

IEC Mentoring Arrangement

As one of our close neighbours, Standards Australia entered into an IEC Mentoring Arrangement with the Institute of Standards of Cambodia (ISC), along with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

For further insights into the arrangement and the work of the Standards Australia International Engagement Team, read our recent blog.

Gone with the wind

The wind energy industry is one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources, with the expectation for continued growth until 2030. Standards Australia is pleased to announce their participation in the international technical committee, IEC TC 88: Wind Energy Generation Systems.

Australia’s participation in the technical committee means that Australian wind industry will participate internationally, to ensure Australia has a voice and its unique conditions are accounted for, with the objective to create a mirror committee to adopt international standards suited to Australia’s industry and landscape.

The mirror committee along with Australia’s participation, will directly benefit the current market needs and provide opportunities for the further development and uptake of this renewable energy source.

Read more in our recent blog.

Together we can through volunteering

On Saturday, 5 December, we acknowledged and thanked the many volunteers around the world, specifically those who have worked to keep our communities safe from the COVID-19 pandemic and blazing bush fires.

It is also with special thanks we acknowledge Standards Australia’s over 5000 committee members for their continued collaboration and adaptability through 2020.

Aged Standards open for consultation

To keep Standards Australia’s catalogue contemporary and relevant, we are seeking feedback on several Aged Standards (documents which are over ten years old), belonging to inactive technical committees.

We want to hear from you!The Aged Standards Review process is open today until Friday 12 February 2021. Please be in touch to advise if these standards are still used by your industry or community.

Learn more on our Aged Standards Review page.

SG-006: A more flexible approach

Standards Australia SG-006, Rules for the structure and drafting of Australian Standards, has been reviewed with the introduction of a flexible approach to the application of drafting rules.

As part of this new approach, only a small number of policy and drafting principles remain mandatory, with most provisions within SG-006 now made voluntary/guidance only. In practical terms, this means that the Project Leadership team may or may not agree with Standards Australia’s editorial teams’ recommendation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Project Manager.

In Conversation with Antonio Bonacruz

Antonio Bonacruz works in the Choice testing laboratories, is a professional engineer and an expert in safety of children’s products. His technical expertise combined with his consumer perspective and concern for products safety makes him a key participant on a number of Standards Australia committees, which includes CS-18, Safety of children’s toys, CS-20, Prams and strollers, QR-10, Conformity assessment, and previously on several others. He has been actively participating as the Australian delegate and expert on ISO/TC 181, Safety of toys, for well over a decade, and more recently on ISO/PC 310, Wheeled child conveyances. Antonio has recently been appointed as a mentor on the ISO/COPOLCO Capacity Building Programme, which aims to provide guidance to participants in developing countries so they can become active in consumer participation in standardisation.

Standards Australia (SA): How did you get involved in standards development?

Antonio Bonacruz (AB): It started about 20 years ago when I took charge of safety testing of children’s products at the Choice testing laboratory. I was relatively new to the use of standards when I attended one of my first meetings, which was with CS-18, Safety of Children’s Toys. Incidentally, later in that year, Sydney was going to host the Technical Committee ISO/TC 181, Safety of Toys. As I was new, I did not expect to be nominated to represent Australia, but I was interested in becoming more involved in the activities of the committee. I got in touch with the peak consumer body, Consumers International, and they appointed me to attend the International Standardization Organization (ISO) meeting as their liaison. In the following years, I eventually gained the support of the mirror committee to be part of the Australian delegation and Working Group expert. Since then, I have become actively involved in a growing number of children’s products safety committees.

SA:How do standards impact you and your industry?

AB: As a consumer and a parent, I find it important to ensure that products meet or exceed an acceptable level of safety and performance. My experience, knowledge and resources help enable me to identify which products to choose and with the use of standards provide the benchmark for evaluating products. Standards are an important reference document in laboratory testing because they make certain evaluations measurable, repeatable and comparable. Therefore, I strongly believe that the work I do at Choice helps provide consumers the information they need in order to make the right choices.

SA: Traditionally, December is one of the busiest month of the year for the retail industry. What standards are in place to assist with consumer protection?

AB: Consumers deserve better and safer products. Buying something should be hassle-free. A consumer should be provided with sufficient, relevant information about a product. Online and in-store purchases should offer the consumer the same protection in case of a problem with the product or the transaction. In addition to regulatory requirements, there are several Australian Standards that set the performance requirements of home appliances, and safety requirements of children’s products. Industry should ensure that the products they sell, or services they provide comply with the relevant standards. There is also AS ISO 10393:2017, Consumer product recall – guidelines, which provides guidance to industry on product recalls and corrective actions, along with AS ISO 10377:2017, Consumer product safety – guidelines for supplier, which provides guidance to suppliers on assessing and managing the safety of consumer products, including risk assessment and risk management.

SA: The global pandemic is seeing an even larger shift to online shopping. What are some risks consumers should be aware of when making online purchases this holiday season?AB: Online shopping has its benefits and challenges. It gives the convenience of easily virtually travelling from one site to another and you can shop from almost anywhere in the world. However, you would not be able to examine and feel the real item. All you have are images and descriptions. Therefore, there is a risk that the actual merchandise is not what you’ve been expecting. You may have saved on cost and time by not having to go to the store, but when the item arrives and it wasn’t what you expected, you might not be able to return it.

When you buy in-store, you’re able to inspect the item and check it before paying, but when you buy online it can be a bit of a hassle if you’ve received a wrong or faulty item. In such a case, consumers have the right return the item at no extra cost to them or ask for a replacement or a refund. This may not always be the case if you bought from an overseas seller. Consumers should also be aware of the delivery cost, and even if it says, “free delivery”, it is probably already factored into the retail price. Shipping time from overseas could also take several weeks or even months under the prevailing global situation.

Lastly but most importantly, be aware of certain products sold on some offshore sites, as they might not comply with Australian standards and safety requirements.

SA: What is the future of standardisation?

AB: Global alignment of standards seems to be the trend. But in certain cases, standards bodies should provide for adaptation to suit regional or local conditions. In my view, standards for certain products and services should continue to be locally developed due to specific application and scope. I hope that consumer representation in standardisation will increase. One could say they represent industry, or government, or a certain sector, but after all, in one way or another we are all consumers.

International update

Standards Australia represents Australia on the two major international standards development bodies, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Our activities are reported on our International Updates page.Highlights from December (PDF)

  • Invitation to virtual workshop on ‘Sustainable and Human-Centred Societies Enabled with Cyber Physical Systems.’
  • Consumer Product Safety Management: Proposal for a new field of technical activity.
  • Opportunity to review ISO 26000, Guidance on social responsibility.

Sector update

Access the latest standards development news in your industry sector via our Sectors page.

Drafts open for comment

The public comment process provides an opportunity for stakeholders and members of the public to make valuable contributions. With the launch of our new public comment platform, draft standards currently open for comment are now available via Connect.