Measurement Law Review

The Australian Government announced a review of the legislative framework underpinning Australia’s measurement system. The review marks the first comprehensive analysis of Australia’s measurement framework since the commencement of the National Measurement Act in 1960.

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Purpose of the review

To modernise, streamline and simplify Australia’s measurement legislation.

The National Measurement Act 1960 (Cth) underpins Australia’s national measurement system. Measurement which draws on appropriate scientific and technical expertise is central to the effective functioning of a modern economy. Australia’s measurement legislative framework must be fit for purpose for current and future opportunities or challenges. It should facilitate innovation and competition, reduce any business uncertainty and transaction costs, and position the regulator to undertake appropriate risk based enforcement activity.

Options for reform are expected to be presented to the Australian Government in 2020.

Scope of the review

The review is to develop options and make recommendations in relation to:

  • minimum effective regulation models that could lessen government intervention;
  • using principles-based legislation to minimise regulatory burden on business;
  • pathways to support a transparent, proportionate, flexible and risk-based approach to regulation;
  • utilising appropriate third parties to support or implement the framework;
  • removing unwarranted regulatory barriers to market entry of new technologies, and other technical barriers to competition;
  • mechanisms to support market innovation and changes in technology;
  • ensuring that Australia’s measurement legislation promotes confidence in Australia’s measurement system; and
  • adopting best practice national and international regulatory approaches.

Objectives of the review

The following four objectives will be used to reshape Australia’s measurement framework:

1. Developing and advancing measurement activities that support Australia and its economy.

Australia’s measurement activities and functions should benefit the Australian economy and all Australians. The review will aim to ensure Australia’s measurement activities are focused on delivering measurement capabilities that match Australia’s current and future needs and opportunities, consistent with international best practice.

2. Strengthening strategic measurement capabilities.

Ensuring that Australia’s scientific measurement capabilities support the strategic objectives of the Government is a central aim of the review. Supporting the development and advancement of new measurement techniques to further scientific research and standard development across the economy.

3. Supporting confidence in measurement – domestically and internationally.

An infrastructure that builds trust between buyers and sellers through confidence in measurements and facilitates trust in measurements that are fair and reliable, with minimal regulatory burden. A more modern simplified framework that achieves reliable measurements allowing consumers to feel confident and empowered when making purchasing decisions and does not encourage additional and unnecessary barriers to trade. Trusted measurement practices enable Australia to remain competitive in growing international markets.

4. Promoting innovation through a modern approach to measurement infrastructure.

Measurement plays a fundamental part in the innovation process – assisting in the design and incorporation of next-generation processes to gain a competitive advantage through the faster development of new technologies, improved productivity through standardisation and to lead the direction in new technologies. A move towards a more modern principle-based measurement legislation will simplify and clarify regulatory requirements providing flexibility in the framework that enables innovation but still protects the integrity of the measurement system.


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