Australia's #1 industrial directory for equipment & suppliers

Government weights and management system goes global

29 September, 2008

Historic legislation introduced into Federal Parliament today will establish the legal framework for a single system of weights and measures for Australia replacing the current fragmented situation across each State and Territory.

The National Measurement Amendment Bill 2008 will give confidence to buyers and sellers that measurements are accurate.

The area of trade measurement is one of the 10 "hot spots" identified by the Council of Australian Governments in need of urgent regulatory reform.

At the heart of the legislation are two key features:

1. A national trade measurement system to be administered by the Commonwealth from 1 July 2010; and
2. Establishment of an Average Quantity System (or AQS) – an internationally recognised system for confirming that pre-packaged items including food and beverages, contain the stated quantities.

Given an estimated $400 billion worth of trade based on some kind of measurement takes place annually, Australian business has been crying out for a uniform national trade measurement system.

Currently about 800 firms, employing more than 2,000 people, repair and verify measuring instruments under trade measurement legislation.

If they operate across State borders they require different licenses for each State. These are granted under different criteria, attract different fees and have different reporting requirements.

Under the new system, there will be one license, one set of criteria and one fee for work nationwide.

The new national system will slash red tape while maintaining the accuracy and reliability of trade measuring instruments such as scales, fuel dispensers and weighbridges.

Commonwealth inspectors will monitor the system to make sure that it is fair to buyers and sellers.

The new legislation will allow producers and packers of pre-packaged goods to meet requirements at lower cost by using AQS.

AQS will introduce statistical sampling methods to show that the measured contents of pre-packed goods are accurate.

This has been welcomed by the wine industry and other major packers. The wine industry alone estimates AQS will save wine producers up to $19 million a year.

AQS has already been adopted in New Zealand and by many of Australia's major trading partners, including Japan, the European Union and the United States.

Have your say...

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers
Reload characters
Type the characters you see in this box. This helps us prevent automated programs from sending spam.