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In this Edition

CEO report

This month saw the launch of our hydrogen committee work plan (outlined below). The document summarises the potential of hydrogen to support the decarbonisation of future energy systems and the role Australia can play in contributing to this transition.

We look forward to this document being used by the committee and stakeholders to help steer standards development in this emerging field.

I’m also pleased to announce we have launched our new public commenting system and integrated it into our contributor portal, Connect. The new platform is part of our ongoing commitment to improve our contributor experience and provides a more efficient system for individuals when commenting on standards.

Significant improvements include the ability for users to read and endorse comments as well as receive confirmation if their comments have been accepted by the committee. Most importantly, the new system now allows individuals to comment on international guidance proposed for adoption in Australia, a function previously unavailable to our stakeholders.

These updates are all part of our ongoing investment in creating more open, transparent and interactive systems for our standards community. As we come to the final months of this extraordinary year, we look forward to producing further updates and guidance for the benefit of all Australians.

—Adrian O'Connell, Chief Executive

Keeping Australian roads safe remotely

It is estimated speed is a direct factor in around 30% of all road accidents in Australia. With COVID-19 restrictions lifting and individuals eager to start travel again, speed limit signage is part of the broader aim of keeping motorists safe.

The recently published, AS 5156:2020, Electronic speed limit signs outlines requirements for the design, construction and performance of electronic speed signs, including the use of LEDs when changing the speed remotely.

Read more in our recent release.

New public comment platform launched

To make public commenting easier and simpler for both commenters and committees, Standards Australia has launched a new public commenting platform through our contributor portal, Connect.

Through a range of updates and additions, the new public commenting platform aims to improve and automate the public comment and resolution process by making it more open, transparent and interactive.

Read more in our recent release.

Australia’s steps towards renewable energy

With conversations around sustainability and the potential of renewable energy rapidly growing in 2020 the recently released,  Standards Australia ME-093 Hydrogen Technologies Committee Strategic Work Plan is an exciting step forward for the hydrogen sector in Australia. The report outlines the eight international standards adopted by Australia to help shape the future of hydrogen across the country.

Standards Australia has launched the hydrogen webpage providing updates and frequently asked questions surrounding the strategic work of the committee. For further information please see our new hydrogen webpage.

Heroic standards

On Wednesday, 14 October Standards Australia and standards organisations across the globe celebrated World Standards Day 2020 by acknowledging the collaborative efforts of experts, committee members and organisations worldwide for their continued contribution to the development of standards.

This year’s theme, ‘protecting the world with standards’ provides an important reminder of the role standards can play in supporting our future. You may not know it, but standards are heroic in reducing our impact on the planet. Take a look at Standards Australia’s World Standards Day video to gain an insight into the standards heroes around us and learn more about how standards help to protect our planet.

SDAC communique

The Standards Development & Accreditation Committee (SDAC) is a Committee of the Standards Australia Board. The committee assists us to fulfill our responsibilities as Australia’s peak national standards body, and meets regularly to discuss the wide range of matters relating to standards development and accreditation work.

Often unseen, SDAC has been referred to by many as the engine room of Standards Australia, powering our contributors to get things done.

As a new initiative, a communique of SDAC meetings will be made available to stakeholders. The goal is to provide a direct insight into the discussions and recommendations of the committee and reflects our commitment to lead with transparency and include stakeholders in our processes.

You can access the SDAC communique and further details on SDAC and its members on our website.

Identifying strategic issues across sectors

Standards Australia engage across varied sectors of the Australian industry, making it important we understand the different challenges that exist in each of them. As reflected in our Technical Governance Review (TGR), this can be difficult to achieve, particularly if we don’t have a history of engaging in a sector.

In response to this finding from our TGR, Standards Australia has now built a capability to scan a range of information sources, identify key priorities and the major challenges faced by each sector. These insights will inform how our Stakeholder Engagement Team approach new stakeholders and allow us to understand the strategic issues faced by our existing stakeholders, all with the aim of developing Australian Standards to address these issues.

A range of projects are underway within the Technical Governance Review Implementation Plan for FY 2021. For an update of the progress to date, see the current FY 2021/Q1 progress report.

In Conversation with Elaine Attwood

Elaine Attwood is the first consumer to be awarded the honour of the 2020 ISO Simon Holland Award as a joint awardee. Recognised for her outstanding contribution to the work of ISO/TC 229 Nanotechnology and acknowledged for her input and support offered to the ISO/TC 229 community and her colleagues.

Elaine was the first consumer representative on the Board of Food Standards Australia New Zealand and has served as a Council member of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia. She was the acting chair of the Women and Children’s’ Hospital Consumer Consultancy Committee and was the Vice President of the National Council of Women of South Australia. Elaine was a member of many committees including the National Enabling Technologies Strategy, the inaugural ACCC’s Consumer Consultative Committee, Office of the Gene Technology’s Community Consultative Group, NHMRC working party on food intolerance in children, S.A. Ministerial Advisory Committee on Agricultural and Veterinary chemicals and the SA Food Hygiene Implementation Committee.

In 2011 Elaine was awarded an AM in the Queen’s Birthday honours for her work within the community for women, children and the environment. Presently, Elaine is a member of Consumers South Australia’s Executive Committee, a member of SA Water’s Residential Customers Advisory Group, The Essential Services Commission of S.A. Expert Advisory Committee, Standard Australia’s NT-001 Nanotechnologies and Standards Australia’s Fine Bubble mirror group.

Standards Australia (SA): How did you first get involved in standards development?

Elaine Attwood (EA): The short answer – through food labelling. My introduction to standards development started with my journey within food standards. My child had ADHD and I scrutinised food labelling which was far from adequate in the 1970s. I began writing to the National Food Authority as a consumer pointing out areas I felt the standards needed improving. The Authority later morphed into the Australian New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) where I made comments on many of their Proposals and Applications from a consumer viewpoint, and as a member on behalf of the Consumers SA organisation. In 2002 ANZFA was reviewed and became what is now known as Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). I was nominated by the National Council of Women Australia and appointed the role of consumer advocate representing a consumer constituency to the new Board where I fulfilled my maximum two terms.I had become aware of nanotechnology and as it happened at the time Standards Australia was in the process of facilitating a mirror group to the ISO/TC 229 Nanotechnologies in Australia. Although not knowing a great deal of the technology, I was extremely interested and put my hand up to join the NT-001 Nanotechnologies of which I am still a member representing consumers.

SA: You recently won the ISO Simon Holland award for your contribution to ISO/TC 229 nanotechnologies, what are nanotechnologies?

EA:  Nanotechnology is the science of the very small, in fact one-billionth of a meter. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) definition of nanotechnology is ‘the application of scientific knowledge to manipulate and control matter, predominately in the nanoscale, to make use of size and structure-dependant properties and phenomena distinct from those associated with individual atoms or molecules, or extrapolation from larger sizes of the same material.

’When matter is of a nano level its characteristics and properties can change dramatically. For example, when gold is at its nano level it is actually red, silver becomes an antibiotic and some metals can become super conductors. The application of nanotechnology has uses in a vast array of fields including science, medicine, semiconductors, building industry, environment, waste and waste disinfection, electrical industry, agriculture and aqua culture to name a few.

SA: Why is standardisation important within the space?

EA: With such new technology there comes the necessity to make sure it is safe, not only for humans but also for the environment. The Technical Committee No. 229 through ISO have five main working groups to ensure this is the case. It is necessary that when people talk about or work with nanotechnology that all persons are aware of the terms and definitions along with the agreement of the methods that can be used to measure and characterise a nanoparticle. Standards ensure the industry has a level playing field and consumers can be assured that the product they purchase has been produced to the particular standards to that of the product or in some cases a service.

With technology like nanotechnology, a ‘convergent’ technology that can be used with many other technologies, it is extremely important that the standards around it are robust, fit for purpose and thoroughly debated, and agreed upon for the best possible outcome.

SA: What do think is the future of standardisation?

EA:  No matter what the standards apply to, it can only improve as new knowledge is gained and this is why standards are reviewed regularly. Even if we are unaware of the standards we live by, they are necessary for our protection and well-being. The way we raise a standard over time may change, but I sincerely hope there will never come a time when consumers are not protected by standards.

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 October (PDF)

  • Ecological Restoration: Proposal for a New Field of Technical Activity
  • Consumer Product Safety Management: Proposal for a New Field of Technical Activity
  • Invitation to an International Workshop on: Guideline of Emergency Medical Facility

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.