This month marks a year since we moved to remote working as part of our COVID-19 response. Living with this pandemic for the past 12 months has tested not only our resilience and adaptability but also that of our members and contributors.
While it has been challenging, we have forged ahead, continuing to develop and adopt the standards that Australia needs to support the growth and resilience of our economy.
Through the same 12 months, our Board has led a review of the governance of Standards Australia at a company level. Supported by independent consultants, cameron.ralph.khoury, this review looked deeply at the modernisation of our company governance arrangements of Standards Australia to support our continued success as we mark our centenary next year.
Last Friday, our members met for an Extraordinary General Meeting, hosted remotely. Members voted to adopt a new Constitution. This has shown us that despite the challenges of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, great steps forward can still be taken when there’s a will to get things done.
This new Constitution outlines new criteria for membership of the company, improved rules for our Standards Development and Accreditation Committee and even more involvement from members in the work of the Board. Please view the new Constitution here
One of the other changes to the Constitution that was overwhelmingly supported, is that members will now undertake the role which was previously held by Councillors in a streamlining of governance forums. I would like to thank all of those who have served on the Standards Australia Council and look forward to your continuing contribution to the standards cause in Australia.
This commitment to the cause is true of our more than 5,000 contributors who continue to collaborate and drive standards’ agendas forward in Australia and internationally. It is equally true for the nominating organisations who support them and our internal team who are working literally around the clock (in different shifts and in different global time zones).
I hope you all manage to take a few days rest over the short break.
— Adrian O'Connell, Chief Executive
Standards Awards 2021 – Nominations now closed
The Standards Awards nomination applications have now closed. Thank you to all who took the time to nominate individuals and committees who have made a positive impact on standardisation.
The winners will be announced in May at the Standards Awards dinner.
In Conversation with Jennifer George
Jennifer George is the CEO of Strategic Commercialisation Australia, a business development and consulting firm which evaluates and finds partners for deep technical companies - primarily in the medical device and smart city space. She is also the founder and convener of a smart cities networking group designed to bring together interested partners, city councils and smart city entrepreneurs to enhance the growth and interoperability of smart city technologies. The group now represents more than 350 Australian digital companies and is being commercialised into a start-up.
Standards Australia: When did you first become involved in standards development?
Jennifer George: I first became involved in Standards Australia smart cities community in 2019.
SA: How do standards impact and interact with your industry?
JG: I expect that we will experience massive growth in connected digital technologies in the smart cities sector over the next few years. Knowing more about the emerging standards that underpin these technologies is important because a number of technologies are all emerging at the same time. As industry segments evolve at different rates there is likely to be some overlap in current standards, but I expect these will be refined over time. That’s why I think it’s important for a person who works across sectors, like I do, to be part of this process. We can see those overlaps and help to create a better standard overall.
Additionally, taking a deeper dive into the issues that might limit technology growth right now, like lack of standards for scaling up, helps me to identify new commercial opportunities and I can build these into future Newcos. For example, the recent release of cadastral data creates an opportunity for companies to combine this with existing city data and modelling techniques to create new future-based modelling services for architects and city planners. This business can only be scalable if all the data meets some kind of standard.
SA: In the growing world of Sustainable Cities and Communities, why are accessible standards important?
JG: I commercialise deep technology (deep tech) so understanding the standards, even though they are not requirements, helps to ensure that the technologies that SMEs are building can scale and will interoperate with other devices overtime. I work a lot in data analytics so when we are talking about extracting value from whole city data it is important for that data to be of high quality, to be relevant and for it to be easily combined to other available data in a meaningful way. Standards help to achieve this.
SA: What is the future of standardisation?
JG: Standardisation is key for market growth. This is evident by the fact that every time we see the emergence of new technologies followed by second-to-market participants, it calls for standards to improve interoperability follow soon after. I work on the cutting edge of innovation, building new digital companies or helping new companies that already exist to flesh out their business offering, so naturally if something is newly invented standards must follow shortly after.
Take for example autonomous vehicles, at the moment these vehicles operate mostly in selective loop situations but once they are operating on a multitude of different road types, the OEMs that make the vehicles will have to be able to identify standards for road conditions, connectivity and compatible traffic signals to assist the vehicles to operate efficiently and safely anywhere. When this happens across many roads standards will then assist in full scale growth. If we don’t have the certainty that standards provide, industry growth would be much slower indeed.
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
Highlights from March
- Chain of Custody: Proposal for a New Field of Technical Activity.
- Roofing and waterproofing building materials: Proposal for a New Field of Technical Activity.
- Opportunity to review ISO/IEC Guide 17:2016, Guide for writing standards taking into account the needs of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
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
Responsible Wood update
AS 4707 standard reference committee updates on revision of chain of custody. Draft standard available for comment in mid-2021.
With more than 300 chain-of-custody certified companies in Australia, the AS 4707, chain of custody standard – in addition to delivering Responsible Wood-certified products to the marketplace – has a tremendous impact on internal management processes of businesses along the timber value chain.
The standard provides organisations in the wood or forest products certification chain with the minimum criteria and requirements to implement a credible system.
This system tracks wood or forest products originating from Responsible Wood-certified forests through all phases of ownership, transportation and manufacturing to the end consumer.
Following the appointment of the AS 4707 standard reference committee and working group in late 2020, the committee met in Brisbane to review the current standard (AS 4707:2014) and commence on a working draft.
The reference committee nominating bodies include the Association of Accredited Certification Bodies, Australian Forest Products Association, Australian Institute of Packaging, Omega Consulting, Timber Development Association, Tasmanian Forest Products Association, the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Forest Products Association and the Women in Forestry Network.
Peter Zed of Omega Consulting has been appointed Chair of the committee. He holds an Honours degree in Forestry from ANU and has worked within the timber industry for more than 40 years. His involvement has ranged from plantation development to forest product manufacturing in roles as diverse as R&D scientist to Chief Executive.
The new standard is expected to adopt changes in the chain-of-custody rules for PEFC ST 2002:2020 and trademark-requirements and PEFC ST 2001:2020 trademark rules.
PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification authority with more than 20,000 companies certified under the PEFC chain-of-custody standard.
Responsible Wood is the national governing body for PEFC in Australia with the Australian standard endorsed by and mutually recognised by PEFC International.
“We expect the draft standard to become available for public consultation in mid-2021”, said Simon Dorries, Responsible Wood CEO.
“The consultation is an essential part of Responsible Wood's standards setting process where we share the work by the standard reference committee and working group, obtaining the input of everyone concerned,” concluded Mr. Dorries.
Pictured, from left: Clarissa Brandt of Timber Queensland, representing the Women in Forestry Network, Peter Zed, Omega Consulting, chair, Simon Dorries, CEO, Responsible Wood, and David Rawlinson, independent environmental expert.