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In this Edition

CEO report

I’m pleased to announce that on 22 November, in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting, Standards Australia launched its Distribution and Licensing Policy Framework (PDF). This document has been a year in the making and is an important step forward for Standards Australia and the distribution of our content.

To ensure a wide range of viewpoints were considered, earlier this year, we visited every capital city to consult and discuss the shape this document should take – it’s great to now be able to share the policy with all of you.

The document outlines the commitment of the organisation to partner with additional distributors to improve access to standards. With innovation front of mind, this framework will help future partners deliver standards in new and different ways. It is time for us to move beyond PDFs and consider the different platforms and formats in which standards can be utilised.

Another notable part of this policy is Standard Australia’s wish to fund access to content for personal, domestic and household use. This is an important step we are committed to working toward by no later than December 2023.

The launch of this pivotal policy comes at no better time, with the new year ahead and partnerships in the pipeline, 2020 is going to be a year of great change and development for the organisation.

Launching this document at the Annual General Meeting gave Standards Australia the chance to share and discuss next steps with our Councillors and Members. I would like to thank all of them for their continued support and contribution to this policy.

As we move on as a company, we look forward to this new era at Standards Australia. We are excited to take next steps in encouraging innovation, engaging with distributors and importantly, opening access to standards for Australian communities.

—Adrian O'Connell, Chief Executive Officer

An innovative future for Standards Australia

A little over a year ago, Standards Australia set out to put in place a framework that would allow for its content to be used more broadly and in innovative ways across the economy. Standards Australia has now launched its distribution and licensing framework (PDF) to encourage partnerships in the use of its content.

“We have been on this journey for over 5 years and it’s great to be staking the ground and actively encouraging the use of our content in new and different ways,” said CEO of Standards Australia, Adrian O’Connell. “The policy framework has innovation at its core. We are excited about the opportunities to deliver even more value to end users.”

Read more in our media release.

Board of Directors for 2020

Earlier this month it was announced that three members were elected into the Standards Australia Board of Directors. Directors act for a term of three years and are elected by the Standards Australia Council which comprises of government bodies, industry representatives and consumer organisations.

We are pleased to announce the re-appointment of Ms Michelle Fitzgerald, and welcome to the Board Dr Marlene Kanga AM and Dr Ian Opperman.

This will be Michelle Fitzgerald’s second term sitting on the board for Standards Australia. We are excited to welcome Dr Kanga and Dr Opperman into this position who both offer incredible professional experience.

Standards Australia would like to congratulate our three elected members and to thank our outgoing members David Singleton AM and James Tinslay for their continued commitment and work over the last few years.

Button Batteries to receive new guidance

Leaders from the consumer, services and product industries came together with Standards Australia recently to agree on the development of a button battery standard.

This decision follows an increase of concerned communities as the use of button batteries continues to rise in Australia. Known for being in children’s toys, button batteries can now be found in a much wider range of consumer products and are also sold as a standalone product.

Read more in our media release

Standards for ageing societies

By 2050, 1 in 6 people will be over the age of 65 globally; this statistic highlights the importance of having standards in place to support ageing societies at a national and international level.

The Australian Government, through its Economic Diplomacy Fund, in association with Standards Australia supported a workshop at the Australian Association of Gerontology Conference, to raise the profile of standardisation matters related to the APEC region’s growing silver economy. The workshop Standardisation in Ageing Societies: National and International Standards Development focused on boosting ageing societies and driving innovation to improve quality of life.

This conference also coincided with the 4th plenary meeting of the ISO Technical Committee for Ageing Societies (ISO/TC 314) since its establishment in late 2017. The committee is busy developing a range of international standards, including ISO 23633 Ageing societies – Guidelines for an age inclusive workforce and ISO 23617 Ageing societies – Framework for Dementia-inclusive communities.

2020 will include continued work on these standards and potential new work items for the committee. Standards Australia looks forward to working with Australian experts, our mirror committee and ISO/TC 317 to continue supporting ageing societies at home and abroad.

Nominating Organisation Forums 2019

Our Nominating Organisation forums are an important platform for stakeholders to come together to give Standards Australia feedback, share learnings and help our organisation work more effectively.

Aside from an update on what is happening at Standards Australia, the main focus of the forums was providing training on our updated Nominating Organisation Guide, which can be found on our website (PDF).

The Outcomes Report from the forums is also available (PDF) and highlights the active engagement and productive discussions had across Melbourne and Sydney.

Nominating Organisations are an essential part of our processes; thanks for a fantastic year and Standards Australia looks forward to continued work in 2020.

Zooming ahead

Following a successful internal launch and testing with various committees, Standards Australia is currently transitioning from Skype for Business to Zoom. This change aims to improve presentation and screen sharing and is a new and improved communication channel for remote participants.

It is important that committee members load the Zoom Web App (using the link provided by your Project Manager), escalate any connectivity issues and test your Zoom access before your next meeting.

We appreciate your assistance and understanding during this transition. FAQ’s and information on joining a meeting can be found on the Zoom website. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact your Project Manager.

In conversation with Barbara Geens

Barbara is a Quality and Product Safety Manger at a major retailer and has extensive experience in standards development. She is a participating member on a range of Standards Australia committees that mainly centre around consumer interests. This includes being Chair of the Industry Working Group on Button Battery Safety and sitting on the ISO COPOLCO mirror committee which focuses on the most effective areas for consumer participation in standards.

Standards Australia (SA): Why did you get involved in standards development?
Barbara Geens (BG): I have long been interested in Product Safety Policy Advocacy and use a range of standards in my work. My motivation to get involved started from wanting to better understand the standards development process. I was inspired to become a “voice” for industry to develop practical solutions to enable better safety outcomes from consumer products.

SA: Why are product safety standards important?
BG: Product safety standards provide industry and regulators with a clear and aligned view on identified hazards and aid preventative approaches, these standards are an important benchmark for minimum safety requirements. Well-developed standards are a great tool for a wide range of industry stakeholders to refer to and work with.

SA: You recently presented at a forum on button batteries, what were the outcomes of this event?
BG: I presented in my role of Chair of the Button Battery Safety Industry Working Group. The forum demonstrated that a wide range of industry, medical and consumer advocacy stakeholders recognise the importance of improving the safety of consumer products that use button batteries and replacement battery safety. The forum marked the start of the development process for a horizontal product safety standard – we hope this standard can be developed quickly and effectively.

SA: What is the future of standardisation?
BG: Standards are developed by diverse stakeholder committees and provide a documented, agreed way of seeing a topic and a path of addressing that topic. Going forward this will be especially important internationally, no one nation has all the expertise and answers for increasingly complex problems.

My participation on the COPOLCO Mirror Committee (CMC) has shown me the value of standardisation and international engagement across numerous topics, such as artificial intelligence, data security, product safety, climate change and sustainability. I think the future of standardisation will involve more collaboration at an international level.

SA: Do you think consumers understand the work involved in developing a standard?
BG: Unfortunately, many consumers do not understand how much work is involved in the development of standards. I believe many are also unaware the vast majority of contributors are industry volunteers. Many volunteers, including myself, are lucky to be supported by their employers and nominating organisations.

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.

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 November (PDF)

  • WTO members discuss product quality, safety and standards, debate new trade concerns
  • Establishment of Technical Committee ISO/TC 326 – Machinery intended for use with foodstuffs
  • JTC1 Plenary begins in New Delhi

Sector update

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