With this week being National Volunteer Week, I took some time to reflect on the significant contribution that volunteers make to Australian life.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a few years ago that approximately 6 million Australians are volunteers. This is an incredible number of individuals giving their time, resources and expertise to a vast range of causes.
At Standards Australia, we are very fortunate to work with over 5,000 committee members who contribute their time and expertise to develop and adopt standards that help inform consumers, support industry and protect individuals across the country. Without this contribution to the development of high quality and trusted solutions the world would be very different.
The way that our community has adapted to the remote working arrangements that are now in place has been remarkable and reflects the agility and commitment of all participants and what is possible in terms of innovation. To all of you who work with us, including our 2019/2020 NEXTgen class who graduated this month, thank you.
I also commend to you our In conversation piece below with Beer Opatsuwan. Beer started his standards work with us as a young leader and exemplifies everything we want this program to deliver.
—Adrian O'Connell, Chief Executive
Cool change will see Australian homes pump up the heat
Winter has well and truly settled in for 2020, and with temperatures dropping the heaters are coming out of the garage, sweaters are being dusted off and the energy bill is likely going up as we choose to spend even more time in the comfort of our homes.
Australian Standards set out requirements for the safe design, use and energy consumption of heaters and similar electrical appliances heavily used in winter
Committing Australia as an ally in the Pacific
Standards Australia has called for Australia to deepen its engagement and work closer with our nearest neighbours. The call was made in a recent submission to a parliamentary inquiry into strengthening Australia’s relationships with Pacific countries.
Countries across the globe are grappling with the challenges of COVID-19, but some countries in the Pacific are dealing with these while recovering from the destruction of Cyclone Harold which hit the region in April 2020.
What do you think? SMB Survey
After our IEC Standardization Management Board Consultation (Zoom) event in early May on Australia's involvement in the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), we want to know the thoughts of any and all stakeholders on the opportunities for Standards Australia at an international level.
If you’d like to share your feedback or thoughts on the priorities and pain points of Australia’s international standards involvement, please complete our survey.
Communicating our progress
In an effort to keep you up to date on our Technical Governance Review (TGR) journey, we have recently produced some blog-style updates on initiatives related to our TGR.
The importance of digital transformation, written by our General Manager Operations Kareen Riley-Takos, outlines and discusses the technological innovations Standards Australia has introduced.
Dispute Resolution Evolution, by Project Manager Kate Orr recounts her experience with Standards Australia’s new dispute resolution governance document.
Applications: NEXTgen and IEC YP program
The IEC Young Professional program is now open for applications and the Standards Australia 2020/2021 NEXTgen program will be accepting applications from 29 May. These programs are a fantastic opportunity to be mentored by an expert and learn all about the world of standards, with the potential of one day sitting on a committee and contributing to integral standards development.
If you’re interested, you can apply for NEXTgen and the IEC Young Professional program on the Standards Australia website.
Learn more with Academy workshops
Standards Australia is committed to supporting our committee members through the provision of training and we are pleased to say the following courses will be held on a fortnightly basis:
- Facilitating standards development – designed for Committee Chairs or aspiring Chairs
- How to write an Australia Standard – designed for committee members this course covers the principles of writing clear, performance-based Standards
In conversation with Beer Opatsuwan
Beer Opatsuwan is a chartered electrical engineer and a chartered manager currently working for Energy Queensland, which operates Australia’s largest electricity distribution network. Beer graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, holds a Post-graduate Certificate from Queensland University of Technology and pursuing an MBA. Beer’s portfolio of experience covers a broad range of engineering management projects within the energy industry in Australia and the UK. In 2015, Beer was recognised as Queensland young professional engineer of the year. As the Manager Intelligent Grid Program, Beer is responsible for the development and maintenance of intelligent grid solutions project governance and coordination for Energy Queensland.
In addition to his contribution to standards development at a national and international level, Beer is also currently supporting Standards Australia’s General Mananger Operations Kareen Riley-Takos as alternate on the IEC Standardization Management Board.
Standards Australia (SA): Why do you think standards are important?
Beer Opatsuwan (BO): There are three reasons that come to mind:
- Standards are a powerful channel to influence our society for the better. Amongst many positive forces is the potential for standards to level the playing field for stakeholders across various sectors thus fostering competitive markets.
- They’re a robust facilitating platform to foster Australia's economies leveraging the diversity of thought.
- An enabler to market monopoly disintegration and a catalyst for new technology acceleration.
SA: You’re the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB) alternate for Kareen Riley-Takos, what has that experience been like so far and what is to come?
BO: It has been a steep learning curve as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a complex organisation. I have been able to gain insights into the IEC's management framework, its strengths, weaknesses and have been rapidly formulating ideas into how to make a positive impact.
The 1st SMB meeting in New Delhi was a huge eye-opener for me. I was able to interact with many experienced SMB members from across the globe, each providing me with their perspectives to help solve pressing matters to the IEC.
My vision for the IEC is to advocate for agile operations as a critical pillar for IEC/SA to keep up with a rapidly changing world. As a former Young Professional, I strive to be the glue between the IEC Young Professionals Programme (emerging leaders) and established leaders to attract/retain the world’s best leaders/experts in the field to support the work of standardisation.
With Kareen's depth of standardisation experience and support, I want to work with her to inspire trust and foster strong linkages and relationships between IEC, Standards Australia, the Australian electrotechnical sector and other National Committee members.
SA: How can we get more young people involved and educated about standards?
BO: The conversations regarding standardisation need to start at the grass-root level. I see an opportunity for standardisation bodies to work with universities and generate an awareness of national and international standardisation.
Young professionals should be aware that they can make an impact on the Standardisation forum. The old-age mentality of standardisation is reserved for experienced professionals nearing retirement needs to be eliminated.
I see an opportunity for Standards Australia to work closely with Engineers Australia and other industry technical forums (e.g. CIGRE and IEEE etc.) to promote the work of standardisation to young and experienced engineers.
SA: What do you think is the future of standardisation?
BO: The standards platform becoming more agile in its operations whilst maintaining consensus rigour. Standards will be borderless, inclusive, exciting, balanced, digital-centric and readily accessible.
Increased use of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to coordinate and harmonise intellects from the industry. The standards development systems are becoming more autonomous with a huge amount of operational insights feeding in. This in turn creates more powerful and balanced standards – just look at what Google and Facebook are doing.
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 May (PDF)
- WTO report looks at role of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Proposal for a New Field of Technical Activity on Social Responsibility
- Standards help some at risk groups during COVID 19
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.
‘Essential’ AS/NZS 4708 standards project zooms ahead
‘Business as usual’ as the AS/NZS 4708 Standards Reference Committee work towards Trans-Tasman Sustainable Forest Management Standard.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing has emerged as an important platform for businesses and communities to connect.
Indeed, Australian and New Zealand representatives are ‘zooming in’ to continue essential standard development work. Meeting on a weekly basis, and with representatives from 26 nominating stakeholder bodies, the new format presents significant opportunities and challenges as the committee works towards a public comment release of the first joint Trans-Tasman Sustainable Forest Management Standard in the second half of 2020.
Reflecting on the work to date, Responsible Wood CEO Simon Dorries, is buoyed by the committee’s willingness to adapt to changing conditions and support each other. “With so many different stakeholders ‘dialled into’ the conference, from far and wide, the risk of multiple conversations talking over each other is a potential challenge.
“And yet, the committee is practicing remarkable constraint and patience, discussion is robust, as members work towards meeting our ambitious deadlines,” Mr Dorries said.
The new standard will be developed as a fully recognised joint Australia and New Zealand standard, will be audited for acceptance by PEFC International and will meet the rigorous system requirements of a fully-fledged JAS-ANZ accredited Sustainable Forest Management system.
“As an endorsed Australian and New Zealand Standard, it can be used for PEFC and/or Responsible Wood claims and to meet timber legality requirements for import and export,” Mr Dorries said.
For more information about Sustainable Forest Management or the standard development process please contact Responsible Wood.