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In this Edition

CEO report

The past month has been difficult and unprecedented for all Australians. The COVID-19 virus is affecting individuals, businesses and countries across the world. Our standards community has been impacted like many others and as a result we have now moved the organisation online, with our staff working from home and our committee meetings being held remotely.

Standards Australia has been supporting the Australian people for nearly 100 years and this will not change. As a public purpose organisation, we will stay both positive and productive.

As part of our long-term digital transformation we have many of the systems in place that support remote work. These systems will help ensure effective communication and collaboration with colleagues nationally and internationally.

In these critical times the information provided in standards is an important tool in promoting safety, confidence and coordination. From business continuity and medical equipment to new innovative technologies like 5G, there are standards being developed and already available that will be particularly relevant to Australian industry and businesses over the coming months and years.

We are committed to maintaining momentum in the development of standards, staying connected and involved with our national and international community and engaging with the urgent needs that Australia has now.

This year is going to be radically different to anything we had imagined or planned for, with our nation facing serious health and economic challenges. Standards Australia will, as it has throughout its 98 year history, continue to work on behalf of industry and the Australian community to deliver the trusted solutions needed today and tomorrow.

—Adrian O'Connell, Chief Executive

There’s never been a more important time for Australian Standards

Standards Australia remains committed to working alongside business, government and the broader community in responding to COVID-19.

The speed and scope of our work must adapt to these challenging times, and so far we have proven we can measure up to the task ahead.

Read more about our COVID-19 response and plan in our latest statement.

Standards Australia sets priorities for Artificial Intelligence

Standards Australia has released Artificial Intelligence Standards Roadmap: Making Australia’s Voice Heard. The comprehensive report, commissioned by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources, provides recommendations to help Australia effectively support Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its future across the globe.

Read more in our media release.

Each for Equal: IWD2020

Here at Standards Australia we firmly believe an equal world is an enabled world. This International Women’s Day we were proud to celebrate by striking the #EachforEqual pose which we captured it in a short video.

We are committed to ensuring representation and balance across all levels of our business. To find out more about our commitment to promoting balance, read our Each for Equal blog.

Conversation with contributors

Standards Australia has a strong history of collaboration with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Last year, our very own General Manager of Operations, Kareen Riley-Takos was elected to the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB), which acts as the technical governing body of the IEC.

On 5 May, Standards Australia invites you to participate in an information and consultation session, to be held remotely, on Australia’s participation at the International Electrotechnical Commission. Register on our website.

Standards Awards – Last chance to nominate

There is still time to get in your nominations for the Standards Awards which close on Thursday 2 April 2020.

Standards Awards recognise and reward excellence in standardisation. Awards are presented to individuals, accredited SDOs and committees who have made a positive impact on standardisation.

Make your nomination today on the Standards Australia website.

Rules for dispute avoidance and conflict resolution

In consultation with stakeholders and committees, Standards Australia has developed the Committee Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Standardisation Guide (SG-008).

This new guide provides strategies for minimising, and where possible avoiding, disputes that prevent consensus from being achieved between committee members. The guide also lays out the framework for proactively and effectively resolving disputes that could not be avoided.

The guide’s development is a significant part of our Technical Governance Review recommendations. It aims to address the need for improved processes and protocols for technical disagreements, escalation of problems and complaints, and mediation or resolution of problems. Stay tuned for further workshops and training for Committee Chairs, which will incorporate practical advice on how to apply the new guide.

You can find the guide under the Standardisation Guides on our website.

Remote workshops

Please note that any workshops scheduled between now and 30 June 2020 will be delivered virtually.

If you are already registered for a scheduled workshop we will communicate full course details in the coming weeks, including the delivery method and date options along with supporting information on how to access the training to maximise your learning experience.

For any questions regarding this information, please contact your Project Manager, Stakeholder Engagement Manager or the Learning & Development team directly.

In conversation with Teresa Corbin

Teresa Corbin is a co-founder and now CEO of ACCAN, Australia’s peak body for communications consumers. She has many years of experience working in telecommunications policy both in Australia and internationally. Teresa is a director on the Board of the International Telecommunications Users Group (INTUG). In Australia she currently sits on several bodies including the ACMA Consumer Consultative Forum and she chairs Standards Australia’s Consumer Policy Committee. In 2015, she was awarded the Charles Todd Medal by the Telecommunications Society for having made an outstanding contribution in recent years. Teresa holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Linguistics from La Trobe University and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Standards Australia (SA): How did you become interested in standards development?

Teresa Corbin (TC): I was involved in the early days of organic food sales and the need to define and promote these products using standards. Now I am interested in the adoption of new technologies and the vital role that standards play.

SA: Why are consumer standards important?

TC: Consumer standards play an important role in helping the general public to trust that the products and services that they use day-to-day are fit for purpose. If people don’t trust an organisation and the safety of a product or service, they’re simply not going to use it.

SA: Do you think the broader community understand the role of standards?

TC: Generally, members of the public don’t have a comprehensive understanding of the role of standards. On the contrary, for the average consumer, the main concern is that the product or service works as promised and that it’s safe, but that doesn’t mean that they think that standards are important.

It’s commonly assumed that if a product or service is available for sale within Australia, then it meets the necessary standards and won’t cause harm. This speaks to the level of implicit trust that consumers have within our standards, even if they don’t know the details and specifications that a product or service had to meet to be fit for sale.

Consumer involvement in the standards-making process helps to increase awareness amongst the general community.

Some consumers are aware of standards and the role they play. We’re pleased that Standards Australia have committed to funding and providing free access to standards for personal, domestic or household use at no cost to end users in the future.

SA: What is the future of standardisation?

TC: As a consumer organisation, we see standards becoming more open for non-commercial users. This means more engagement with consumers throughout the standard development process so that the people who will ultimately be impacted by the product or service have the chance to have their voice heard in the establishment of appropriate standards.

With technology continuing to lead to convergence across industries, particularly in the telecommunications space, we’re likely to see greater collaboration between industries whose products and services become interconnected.

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 March (PDF)

  • WTO Trade Policy Review for Australia
  • Proposal at ISO for new field of Technical Activity on Lithium one
  • IEC’s new standardisation approach for Circular Economies

Sector update

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

Draft 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.

Responsible Wood update

PEFC approves revised standards

Three standards that further strengthen PEFC’s sustainability benchmarks and assist in safeguarding forests globally came into force in February.

Most notable are changes to the chain of custody standard, specifically the expansion of the definition of controversial sources.

Chain of custody establishes the link from the forest to the market, tracking forest-based material from sustainable sources to the final product.

The standard lays out the requirements that a company must meet to achieve PEFC chain of custody certification. This includes requirements to avoid “controversial sources” - material not to be used in certified products.

Independent audit for Responsible Wood

The Standards Development and Accreditation Committee (SDAC) has appointed an independent auditor to oversee Responsible Wood’s ‘check compliance’ to Standard Development Organisation (SDO) requirements.

According to Alan Snow, certification coordinator, the surveillance audit provides Responsible Wood with an opportunity to demonstrate to Standards Australia an ongoing commitment to standards development.

“With the endorsement of Standards Australia, consumers could take heart that products that carry the Responsible Wood logo were not only better for the forests but also better for all consumers,” CEO Simon Dorries said.

Standards Australia is the owner of the standards and trademarks and is one of five accredited SDOs licensed to develop Australian standards for forest certification through ongoing SDAC accreditation.

Revision of standard for forest management

Responsible Wood has announced the revision of the Australian standard for sustainable forest management AS 4708.Responsible Wood is an accredited Standard Development Organisation.

AS 4708 specifies the environmental, economic, social and cultural requirements that must be met to demonstrate good practice and continued improvement towards sustainable forest management.

Responsible Wood reviews the standard every five years and undertaken in conjunction with Standards New Zealand to develop a joint Australian-NZ standard for forest management in both countries.