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In this Edition

CEO report

This year did not have the beginning we hoped for, with many Australians affected both directly and indirectly by the devastating bushfires. While many of us returned to work in early January, communities across our states and territories have been left reeling amongst the damage and wondering how to begin the road to recovery.

In reflecting on the impact of the ongoing bushfire crisis, it is the resilience of our people and our communities that gives us hope. The resilience to rebuild, to support each other and to learn from what has happened to proactively manage the next time a disaster comes to Australia.

As communities around the nation begin the recovery process, it is up to organisations like Standards Australia to respond appropriately and ensure we do whatever we can to safeguard Australians from extreme weather conditions.

Guidance on how to build in bushfire prone areas, measurement of air quality, and installation of sprinkler systems are three examples of the direct impact the bushfire crisis will have on the work programme here at Standards Australia.

The challenges facing Australia in this area are extensive with no simple solutions. The breadth and coverage of our work means that Standards Australia does however have many opportunities to contribute meaningful solutions for industry and the general public.

Some of our work this year will undoubtedly focus on supporting Australia to rebuild in the most resilient way possible. Alongside this effort, Standards Australia is already diving into a range of projects that will contribute to important national priorities.

We are working on projects that consider the future of innovative technologies in Australia such as Smart Cities, AI and Blockchain, continuing discussions with future distributors to improve access to standards and putting consumer safety front of mind through the development of a standard for button batteries.

There is plenty of work to be done, and we look forward to providing continued support to Australian communities through serving our public purpose as effectively and productively as possible.

To our committee members and stakeholders across all our sectors, I thank you in advance for your support as we help the major rebuild effort, and for your support in whatever area of Australian life we are improving in the year ahead.

—Adrian O'Connell, Chief Executive Officer

Supporting a secure digital economy

Standards Australia has released a report focused on cyber security in the Pacific region. Pacific Islands Cyber Security Standards Cooperation Agenda sets out recommendations on how to strengthen cyber security in the Pacific Islands with the use of standards.

The report which includes Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, recommends greater access to funding, resources and technical assistance as well as the development and adoption of internationally aligned cyber security standards.

Read more in our media release.

Strengthening the connection of Australian communities

In a country affected by extreme weather conditions, it is important powerlines are suitability resistant to the exposure of extreme climate conditions and designed in a safe and consistent manner.

Standards Australia has recently released SA/SNZ HB 331:2020, Overhead line design handbook that guides the design, construction and maintenance of overhead power lines.

Read more in our media release.

Standards Awards

The 2020 Standards Awards are now open for nominations. Individuals and committees of Standards Australia, and accredited standards development organisations, are eligible for nomination across six award categories:

  • W.R. Hebblewhite Medal;
  • Meritorious Contribution Award – National;
  • Meritorious Contribution Award – International;
  • Emerging Leader Award;
  • Outstanding Committee Award; and
  • Innovation Award.

To make a nomination, visit our Standards Awards page.

Surveying standards

Standards Australia recently conducted a range of surveys targeted at users of standards and specifically the need of a mobile app. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who participated; the feedback received is already helping us understand how and where we can improve in 2020 and beyond.

We would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate our winners of the mobile app surveys:

Construction Survey 2019 – Mr Wassim Ghabbar (left), Residential and Building Construction Sector

Safety and Quality Inspections Survey 2019 – Mr Steven O’Brien (right), Transport and Logistics Sector

Taking a more strategic approach

Standards Australia has a number of projects under the Technical Governance Review (TGR) aimed at supporting our commitment to take on a more strategic approach and providing long-term benefits to the standards community.

Communication Plan

A new communication plan has been developed to promote the benefits of standards to the broader community and to build a general community understanding of the value of Standards Australia’s work.
As different items are released over the coming months, we'll assess their success and make improvements and adjustments in messaging and delivery as necessary

Strategic priority setting

When it comes to standards development, Standards Australia has a clear aim to proactively engage industry and government in smarter ways to stay ahead of next horizon sector issues and opportunities.

We have introduced strategic plans and CEO/leaders forums as part of our sector management processes. This involves proactively identifying and discussing standard development opportunities with industry leaders, so we can continue to support Australia’s growth of new industries, the development of a safe and secure environment and create market confidence in new and established technical fields.

For information on the progress of other projects under our Technical Governance Review (TGR) Implementation Plan for FY2020 (PDF), go to the Quarter 2 Progress Report on our website.

Calling all experienced or qualified electricians

We are looking for experienced or qualified individuals to participate in an electrical research project between February and April 2020 to help build a new mobile app for electricians (this will be a paid position).

If you have worked in an electrical field for a number of years and have used the Wiring Rules, or are currently completing an apprenticeship, we would like to meet you.

For more information please visit the Standards Australia website.

Inviting participants for new public comment system

Standards Australia is seeking participants to review and give feedback as we develop our new public comment system. Combined with our experience of earlier pilots, your views will help make this new pilot as relevant and user-friendly as possible.

This process will likely involve an hour meeting every month via teleconference for solution demonstrations.

If you’re interested in taking part, please contact by 14 February 2020.

In conversation with Baoying Tong

Baoying Tong is a charted electrical engineer at AECOM in Sydney. He was selected by Standards Australia for its Young Leaders Programme 2016-17 and has been involved in standards committees including EL-001-14 IEC Coordination and JTC-001-01 Smart Cities Reference Group. He represented Australia for the 2019 IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) Young Professionals’ Programme in Shanghai and was elected as a leader for the cohort.

Outside of work he volunteers his time for various organisations to promote STEM education through university/professional body outreach, and cultural diversity in the engineering profession through mentorship programs. He sits on the CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) NSW Young Engineers Committee since 2017.

Baoying was named as Young Engineer of the Year in 2018 by CIBSE, Australia and New Zealand.

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

Baoying Tong (BT): I started my journey in standards development after being selected for the Standards Australia Young Leaders Program (now known as NEXTgen Program), 2016-17. The program provided me with the knowledge, tools and opportunities to be involved in standards development.

Besides staying up to date on current trends and being aware of where the industry is moving to, there are two other reasons for me getting involved in standards. Firstly, as an engineer, I love to solve problems, and especially, problems which have a greater impact and make the world a better place. Standards play a crucial role in our society and by publishing the right standards, it safeguards the wellbeing of the society – contributing to standards development reflects my passion.

Secondly, I enjoy the high-level of collaboration that comes with being on a committee. Being on a committee means being part of a group of representatives from a range of stakeholder groups that all have the common goal of developing the right standards for Australia.

SA: You were recently were elected as an IEC Young Professionals Leader, why do you think international standardisation is important?

BT: It is more efficient to develop international standards than each country developing their own. It helps products and designs that comply with recognised international standards flow freely from one corner of the world to the other. Take smart cities as an example, by developing international standards, it enables a digitally connected global community of which people would expect there are certain benchmarks that are met universally and hence facilitate the overall development of the technology.

There are also many emerging technologies which are reshaping the world, such as autonomous vehicles, internet of things, and artificial intelligence. There is no single country that is leading on each aspect of those technologies. By developing the standards as an international effort, it brings the best experts together and ensures the technical quality of the documents.

Standards are not only technical tools, but also social vehicles to connect technical communities across the world. On one hand, developing international standards facilitates knowledge sharing and technology transfer. On the other hand, cultural diversity brings out fresh ideas and new perspectives which help ensure that the standards are not written in a biased way.

SA: How can standards help the development of smart cities in Australia?

BT: Smart cities are gaining more and more momentum both domestically and internationally. However, there are many challenges around data, connectivity and system integration. Many early stage smart cities projects are not future proof because at the time there were no clear standards or guidelines that defined those critical elements and making them siloed and outdated projects.

There are many features that smart cities should have, such as transparent data collection and governance, generation of reliable information, assistance with decision making, security, and readiness for next waves of innovation. All of these require new standards to be developed that stipulate current best practice and take future development into consideration, which the JTC-001-01 committee is currently working on.

SA: What does the future of standardisation look like?

BT: I think the future of standardisation will likely be automated by Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI would be able to notify us what new standards/modifications are required and immediately produce the draft. Our roles would be reviewing those standards that AI drafted, which would probably be the most time-consuming task in the whole process!

Drafts open for comment

The public comment process provides an opportunity for stakeholders and members of the public to make valuable contributions. View draft standards currently open for comment.

Sector update

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

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 January (PDF)

  • WTO and World Bank showcase updated version of Services Trade Policy Database
  • Advancing biosecurity with first international standard for biorisk management
  • New subcommittee enables future of cloud computing standardisation at the international level