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In this Edition

CEO report

For businesses and organisations, July marks the beginning of a new financial year. For Standards Australia, the last 12 months have been very much focused on our Technical Governance Review (TGR) and business and digital transformation to deliver an even greater experience for our contributors and greater value for our customers.

Last month saw us wrap up the final quarter of the TGR FY 2020 implementation plan. We are in the second year of this important project and spent it building on the recommendations and trialling new initiatives. Some highlights include the introduction of specialised resources for committees with large, complex or contentious work programs and further updates to our contributor platform, Connect.

These are great steps forward, but the journey is far from over and we look forward to delivering on more of the recommendations as we move into the next stage of this project. You can find a more comprehensive update of our FY 2020 TGR achievements and learnings below.

While there are many unknowns for Australia and around the globe at this present time, we are committed to staying agile and developing effective guidance for Australian communities and continuing to help Australia shape international standards. I look forward to working alongside you all in the year ahead.

—Adrian O'Connell, Chief Executive

Fuelling the hydrogen industry

The conversation around sustainability and the potential of renewable energy has rapidly grown in 2020. Hydrogen in Australia is one sector gaining momentum. Standards Australia recognises its potential role across industry to help Australia decarbonise, improve fuel security, and create new investment and export opportunities.

Eight international standards have recently been adopted to help shape the future of the hydrogen industry in Australia, which could add $11billion in GDP growth each year by 2050.

Read more in our recent media release.

To flush or not to flush?

Stories of fatbergs and blocked sewers continue to pop up across the country, affecting both inner city systems and regional areas. Much of the commentary on this plumbing challenge is directing blame towards wet-wipes or similar products that are alleged to be unable to break down when flushed.

To help provide clarity around this issue, Standards Australia has been working alongside a committee of experts representing the water and waste services industry to develop an Australian Standard.

Read more in our recent media release.

Educational furniture standards take a front seat

Three furniture standards recently published by Standards Australia aim to provide the education sector with a more comfortable learning space for students.

“With Australian children spending large amounts of time at their desks and chairs, it is important we promote appropriately designed and durable furniture for schools and their pupils,” said General Manager of Australasian Furnishing Research and Development Institute (AFRDI), Ian Burton.

Read more in our recent media release.

Two years of TGR

The Technical Governance Review (TGR) led by independent consultants cameron.ralph.khoury was undertaken through 2017 and 2018. A final report was released in April 2018 by cameron.ralph.khoury, and Standards Australia released its response shortly after.

Standards Australia has maintained its commitment to implement the changes outlined in the response, with a clear focus on the six main steps of the standards development process, supported by a three-tiered reform approach. Standards Australia outlined changes to be implemented as part of this review in the Implementation Plan FY2020.

Highlights of initiatives delivered in the past 12 months are:

  • Ongoing improvements to the contributor platform, Connect.
  • Training for Committee Chairs and Nominating Organisations.
  • Oversight of the appointment and retention of Committee Chairs.
  • Implementing a structured plan for communicating the value of standards.
  • More open consultation on the organisation's strategic priorities.
  • Improved structures to identify the expertise required to carry out a project, and the stakeholders needed to participate in a committee.

Other committed initiatives underway are:

  • A new Public Comment system, including the ability to comment within the draft, and giving visibility of the outcomes of those comments.
  • Online Proposal system, to replace the existing manual forms.

Throughout the program, we have committed to update our stakeholders on progress of the work – view our quarter 4 report.

Rolling out our FY 2021 Implementation Plan

In order to continue with the work program, Standards Australia undertook a gap analysis of the TGR recommendations and developed our Implementation Plan FY2021. The implementation plan continues to deliver against key recommendations from the TGR and we are once again committed to informing our stakeholders on the progress of the work on an ongoing basis.

Bushfire Commission important step in supporting communities

With all that has happened in 2020, the summer bushfires seem like a long time ago, however the devastating impacts are still being felt by communities hardest hit. Almost daily reminders of the enormous impact of these fires have been heard at The Royal Commission into the National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

The Commission is an essential step in mitigating and responding to future natural disasters. There have been over 1,700 public submissions made, one of which was from Standards Australia. On July 8, we presented our recommendations and answered subsequent questions from the Commission.

Our submission, which you can find here, is an important way to ensure the work we do in supporting communities contributes to the ongoing efforts of the Government to respond to future disasters. We look forward to the findings of the final report due at the end of August 2020.

Have your say on standards

Restrictions and the impact of COVID-19 have not slowed down the development of standards with a range of draft documents currently at the public comment stage. From updates to a plumbing and drainage series to a key grid connection standard, plenty is going on across our 13 sectors.

Hearing from industry, contributors and the general public is essential in our ability to publish considered and consensus-based standards, let us know your thoughts through our public comment platform now.

JAS-ANZ to manage Australian membership of IECEx Scheme

Standards Australia has transferred management of Australia’s membership of the IECEx Conformity Assessment Scheme to JAS-ANZ by mutual agreement.

The IECEx is a voluntary system which provides an internationally accepted means of proving compliance with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. IEC standards are used in many national approval schemes and as such, IECEx certification can be used to support national compliance, negating the need in most cases for additional testing.

The transfer of management allows Australia to continue to participate in the IECEx Scheme and contribute to the global trade in equipment and services for use in explosive atmospheres, while maintaining the required level of safety. JAS-ANZ will be recognised as the endorsed manager of Australia’s membership of the IECEx until 2023.

In Conversation with Stephanie Thornton

Stephanie is the Cluster Manager for the national Australian Ocean Energy Group (AOEG), whose aim is to accelerate commercialisation of Australia’s ocean energy sector.  Stephanie launched her ocean energy career in 2007 as the Executive Director of the Oregon Wave Energy Trust, a public/private organisation established to advance wave energy development in the State of Oregon, US.  Subsequent to that role, she served as U.S. Program Director for WaveEnergy, AS, a Norwegian wave energy technology developer. Upon arriving in Australia, she worked over two years as Program Director for MAKO Tidal Turbines in Sydney before launching the ocean energy cluster. Stephanie is currently a member of the Standards Australia committee for Marine Energy, EL-066. Stephanie has an undergraduate degree in Marine Science, a Master’s in Business Administration and Professional Project Management certification from the international Project Management Institute.

Standards Australia (SA): When did you first encounter standards in your professional career?

Stephanie Thornton (ST): My first exposure to ocean energy standards was when I worked as Program Director for MAKO Tidal Turbines, a Sydney-based tidal technology developer. MAKO’s combined office and turbine manufacturing facility provided me a direct opportunity to engage with the turbine engineers about the application of standards into the turbine build.

SA: What is ocean energy and how can it be used in Australia?

ST: Ocean energy refers to the massive energy which can be harnessed from ocean waves, tides, currents, and ocean temperature differentials. The natural movement of water within oceans creates a vast resource from which energy can be extracted and transformed into electricity and other useful purposes, such as hydrogen production and desalinated water.

As the ocean energy sector matures, a wide range of unique Australian market opportunities will be established, leading to corresponding jobs and additional economic benefits to Australia. Key market opportunities include:

  • Remote communities.  Through creation of integrated ocean energy micro-grid systems communities will enjoy numerous complementary and ancillary benefits.  Ocean Energy microgrids support multiple sources of renewable energy which, when combined, can meet the load demand of various modular technologies, such as hydrolyzers, desalination units, wastewater treatment units, etc.
  • Aquaculture – ocean energy to provide electricity production in ocean waters for sustainable food production.
  • Marine security (national defence).
  • Remote operations (oil & gas, etc.).
  • Ocean based scientific equipment for coastal monitoring, safety and navigation.
  • Protection of the coastline.

SA: Why is the work of the committee EL-066 Marine Energy important for the sector?

ST: Internationally developed marine energy standards underpin each stage of development of marine energy devices. It is critical for technologies to incorporate these standards in their engineering designs because they provide high-quality, reproducible operational results that lead to cost reductions and improve the quality of devices. They will also reduce risks and instil confidence for all industry stakeholders.

It Is also important because our sector needs to be a part of the global marine energy community. It is vital that we have a seat at the international table, have our voice heard and contribute towards standards development that will have impact worldwide.

Three years ago, the Australian government supported renewal of its membership into the Ocean Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Programme (OES) established by the International Energy Agency, for the development of ocean wave and tidal current energy.  OES consists of 24 member countries.

Membership and active engagement in TC 114 (the International Electrotechnical Commission committee for marine energy - wave, tidal and other water current converters) enables Australia to strengthen the synergistic role we play in OES.  The OES works on the technical side of ocean energy development, but they have a broader perspective than just devices and guidelines, they are looking industry wide. This is complementary enabling Australia to work on the technical side of standards which fits very well into the broader industry development.

SA: What do you think is the future of standardisation?

ST: In the future, standards will become critically important as AOEG transitions from a technology centric focus to market centric (eg, systems approach). What we want to do is demonstrate how ocean energy devices integrate to energy systems and solve an energy problem for an end-user or ‘customer’. Standards will be vital to provide consistency among how devices are installed and connected and how we deliver electricity for the market.

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 July (PDF)

  • Members discuss reflecting impact of COVID-19 in WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative
  • Australia’s Active Role in Psychological Health and Safety Standard
  • Digital transformation in manufacturing and standardisation

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. View draft standards currently open for comment.

FRDC Adding to the sea of standards

There is a growing interest in aquatic plants, including seaweeds, as the basis for new aquaculture. With an increasingly diverse range of uses for these plants and their chemical constituents, it’s a timely move to provide a guide to the naming of species in the Australian markets.

A draft Australian Standard for Aquatic Plant Names has been developed and is open for public comment until 15 August 2020. For more information visit Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and to share your feedback on the standard visit intuitive food solutions.