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Dusanka Sabic

Our birthday Standards Heroes have been nominated by their peers to represent all our contributors - individuals we consider to be the real heroes of standards, in Australia and internationally. We thank those who contribute their knowledge and expertise, service, and time to Standards Australia for the benefit of the Australian community.  

Dusanka Sabic is a regulatory policy specialist at ACCORD Australasia.

How did you become involved in standards development? 

The role of standards, and the standards development process, has always played a role in my work whether it was when I was employed by the Commonwealth Government or in the private sector.  Working in regulation reform it is important to ensure that the standards development process and the resulting standards do not increase regulatory requirements and costs or cause technical barriers to trade.  Rather, that they work to increase access to trade and promote international harmonisation.    

What role have standards played in your career?   

Standards have played an important role in my work.  From a regulatory policy perspective, standards can play an important role in reducing the regulatory burden on business if developed properly.  Standards Australia’s impact assessment process to ensure that the proposed standard has the agreement of all stakeholders and will meet the requirements of industry and civil society is an important step in improving the quality of standards. Standards needs to be fit for purpose whether they are picked up in black letter law or industry self-regulation. Throughout my career I have been able to look at regulatory policy and the role standards play in reducing the regulatory burden or participating in the standards development process to deliver fit for purpose standards.  

What is a project you’ve been particularly proud to have helped deliver? 

I was pleased to be the inaugural chair of CS-108 Cosmetics-Terminology, a mirror committee to the ISO/TC 217 Cosmetics, Working Group 4 - Terminology.  CS-108 worked collaboratively to provide input into two ISO standards for organic and natural cosmetic products as well as three technical reports completed within a very short period of time.  I was also very pleased to have received the Standards Australia Meritorious Contribution Award - International for my work on CS-108 and Australia’s participation in the work of the mirror committee at the international level.

Outside of standards development, what have been some highlights of your career? 

Working on the Small Business Deregulation Task Force in 1996 was a highlight of my public service career.  The Howard Government gave a commitment to reduce red tape by 50%.  Part of this work was a critical evaluation of the role of standards as industry led solutions and alternatives to regulation rather than as quasi-regulation.  The Small Business Deregulation Task Force played a key role in setting regulator best practice guidance for Commonwealth regulatory agencies, regulatory performance measures to reduce the regulatory burden and increased collaborative efforts with states and territory governments on regulatory best practice policy.  The role of Standards Australia was also important in delivering on the Government’s promise to reduce the regulatory burden on business.

What do you think the future of standardisation looks like? 

Increased collaboration with governments, industry and civil society will be a critical role in the standards development process.  Australia can play a lead role in the Asia Pacific region and at the international level to increase the role of standardisation consistent with the WTO rules for promoting trade and global harmonisation.  Promoting harmonisation of technical standards will reduce costs, facilitate business readiness and open new opportunities for expanding markets domestically and internationally.  

Is there anything you’d like to say or mention about Standards Australia’s centenary year? 

Standards Australia has evolved to maintain its relevance within Australia’s productive economy.  It has improved the way standards are developed, it has increased its diversification of technical committees and is actively promoting the next generation of standard setters.  These are all welcome developments.  Standards Australia has an eye for innovation and promotes new ideas and stimulates discussion with industry and civil society which is important in meeting the challenges for future development.