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In this Edition

CEO Report

Standards Australia was proud to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) and its theme, Embrace Equity, earlier this month. Every year, IWD highlights the importance of diversity in our workforce — it is also an opportunity to reflect on how we value gender equity.

Standards Australia is proud of its record – half of our Board members are women, as are 54% of our staff.

Diversity in skill sets, experiences and backgrounds have been key to our success, allowing us to bring different perspectives to the challenges at hand.

However, we know we can do more to nurture talent and close the gaps, where they exist. For example, we recognise the need to encourage female leadership in our IT team, which represents a substantial percentage of our workforce.

So, in the past month we have launched our Women in Tech (WiT) program - an initiative that will bolster women in senior levels of our technology team by creating a strong, supportive community of female IT professionals that can work through the challenges together.

Women in Tech began with a two-day internal workshop, and shortly will begin its external phase, helping us to attract the best available talent to progress our vision to be a global leader in trusted solutions that improve life for all.

On a related topic, I recently signed on behalf of Standards Australia the UNECE Declaration on Gender Responsive Standards. In signing this declaration, Standards Australia acknowledges the under-representation of women in standards development and that the outcomes for men and women are not explicitly addressed during the standards development process.Standards Australia is committed to addressing these needs by making standards and standards development gender-responsive.

New Member appointed

The Board of Standards Australia approved the appointment of the Facility Management Association of Australia as a Member of Standards Australia at their Board meeting last November.

Organisations interested in applying for membership to Standards Australia are invited to review the criteria which is intended to update and broaden the company's membership, with the aim to grow Standards Australia's relevance and reach and reflect a modern Australia.

Information regarding our Members and the criteria for membership is available here.

Enquiries regarding how to apply to become a Member and requests for a Membership Application form are welcomed by Standards Australia and should be directed to our Company Secretary.

World first program to support creation of responsible and safe AI

Standards Australia has partnered with industry and science groups to launch the Responsible Artificial Intelligence Network. It is the world's first cross-ecosystem program to assist Australian industry to use and create AI responsibly and safely. Read more about the network here.

Standards enable IoT systems to speak the same language, in real time

Standards Australia has adopted two key IoT standards, to help improve accuracy and efficiency in systems that play a crucial role in the optimisation of numerous industries including healthcare, manufacturing, agricultural technology and more. Learn more in our recent article.

New Australian standard to mitigate AI bias

The uptake of Artificial Intelligence technologies (AI) has been swift, but with it has come the risk of embedding unwanted bias in the systems. Standards Australia experts are working hard to overcome the potential for unwanted bias – find out what we’re doing in our web release.

In Conversation with Carolyn Macgill

Carolyn Macgill chairs Standards Australia Committee FT-033, Manufacturing and marketing of pet food, and she is a member of several Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and pet food related committees. She is also on the FT-037, Food Loss and waste committee.

Carolyn is the Executive Officer for the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA) and Executive Officer for the Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA) with Ai Group.

When did you first become involved in standards development?

I was initially introduced to standards when I was in the commercial playground industry, as an observer in the initial group developing the Australian Playground standards in the late 1990’s which are now called AS 4685.1:2021.

This was my introduction to standards and how standards were developed, applied, and became a reality. Having a strong knowledge of the industry and products, the process gave me good insight, ensuring there was a holistic review and endeavoring to have consideration for all stakeholder needs.

How do standards impact and interact with your industry?

I am now part of the pet food industry representing the PFIAA.

Australia has an estimated 28.7 million pets with just under 12 million being cats and dogs. Australians spend approximately $33 billion annually on their pets with pet food making up 51% of the spend. We are a large industry feeding our cat and dog population, according to the 2022 AMA Pet Report.

The pet food sector has a voluntary standard which is not used by all pet food manufacturers or importers. The standard evolved from a Code of Practice to become AS5812-2011, which was followed by a revision in 2017. AS5812-2017 is currently being revised to be comparable to a world standard and to meet the needs of stakeholders.

The Australian pet food standard was developed to support the production of safe pet food and to provide information on manufacturing, nutrition, labelling and marketing. As the industry grows it is more essential pet food manufacturers apply the standard to their business and for consumers to have greater awareness and trust. The standard is the benchmark for anyone manufacturing or importing pet food.

Why is access to standards important?

Without pet food standards anyone can produce and sell pet food having little understanding of pet food safety. The pet food standard provides the process to manufacture pet food safely and it is anticipated the revised standard will become a basis for any future regulation. The standard must be easily accessible and understood by current manufacturers, new entrants, and consumers. In the past the industry has relied heavily on globally recognised standards such as the US or the EU.  

What is the future of standardisation in your area of work?

As the standard revision through the FT-033 Committee ends, the public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed update. AS 5812 has evolved since becoming a standard, and the new standard should be of interest to all manufacturers, importers and pet owners who will be encouraged by the increase in scope and application.

Now is the time to design a 21st century pet food standard incorporating a pet food safety system to protect our pets not just from suspected adverse events but also acute cases of toxicity. Our pet’s lives depend on it.

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.

Click here to view our highlights from March (PDF):

  • ISO CEO Forum 2023
  • Speciality metals and minerals: New Field of Technical Activity
  • Essential guidance on AI-related risk management

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.