Australian Standards

A Hot Tip about Packaging and Labeling in Australia

Last updated: 23 Feb 2011

Overview

Australia is a signatory to the GATT/WTO Standards Code. Use of quality standards, such as the IS0 9000 series, is common and increasing. Standards Australia, the national standards body, has a Quality Assessment division and can provide a list of companies adhering to the IS0 9000 series. Australia still has in place various standards that can affect product entry, and while these may require product modifications, they are not insurmountable obstacles to U.S. companies.

 

Standards Organizations

Standards Australia, a non-profit organization, is Australia’s leading standards development organization. While not a government agency, through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth Government, Standards Australia is recognized as the leading, non-government, standards development body in Australia. In partnership with SAI Global Ltd., an information services company, it delivers standards and related products to industry. Standards Australia has 72 members, representing groups with an interest in the development and application of standards. It is Australia’s representative on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC).

 

Standards Australia develops and maintains more than 7,000 Australian Standards, and provides input into the development of approximately 18,000 International Standards by ISO and IEC. It publishes and distributes standards through SAI Global Ltd.

 

Standards Australia has a policy of adopting International Standards wherever possible. This policy is in line with Australia's obligations under the World Trade Organization's Code of Practice, which requires the elimination of technical Standards as barriers to international trade. As a result approximately 33% of current Australian Standards are fully or substantially aligned with International Standards. Areas of industry where no significant International Standards exist include building, construction, and occupational health and safety. Around one third of Australian Standards have no international equivalent.

 

Other standards organizations of interest to U.S. exporters are: the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the Australian Environmental Protection Agency, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). ACMA mandates technical standards relating to items of customer equipment, customer cabling, and specified devices. These standards include the Electromagnetic Compatibility Arrangements (EMC) and Electromagnetic Radiation Arrangements (EMR). Before a product covered by the EMC regulatory arrangements can be sold in Australia it must be tested to applicable standards and labeled. The label consists of a mark called “C-Tick” and a unique supplier identification. The C-Tick mark is intended for use on products that comply with EMC standards.

 

Safety-related automotive parts and accessories on a vehicle for environmental compliance (EPA compliant) must adhere to Australian Design Rules and Australian automotive standards as well as environmental compliance from the Australian Environmental Protection Agency. The supply of OE (Original Equipment) automotive parts must adhere to Quality System QS9000, the system adopted in the U.S. by Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. All medical devices and health-related products must receive approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) prior to use. Imported consumer products, such as food products, must comply with state government packaging regulations. Australian states agree that any non-farm product, including imports, meeting the legal requirements of one state, may be sold in all other states and territories. State agricultural quarantines prohibit interstate trade of some items.

 

American exporters of food products to Australia will find their product falling under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) developed the code’s standards. This is a bi-national independent statutory authority that develops food standards for composition, labeling and contaminants, including microbiological limits, that apply to all foods produced or imported for sale in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, FSANZ develops standards to cover the entire supply chain for food, from primary producers through manufacturing and processing to delivery and point of sale. Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) is responsible for enforcing the Standards Code for imported foods.

 

NIST Notify U.S. Service

Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other member countries. Notify U.S. is a free, web-based e-mail subscription service that offers an opportunity to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations that can affect your access to international markets.

 

Accreditation

The Standards Accreditation Board’s role is to review and accredit standards development organizations that wish to develop and publish Australian Standards. The accreditation process determines the competency of an organization to develop Australian standards. More information about the process by which the SAB grants accreditation can be found on the Board’s website.

 

Publication of Technical Regulations

In an agreement with Standards Australia, SAI Global Ltd. is the lead publisher of Australian Standards as well as other standards such as ISO, DIN (German Institute for Standardization), IEC, and Japan Standards Association.

 

Labeling and Marking

A number of voluntary and mandatory labels and marks indicating standards conformance are in use in Australia, including international standards such as ISO and IEC. Information about the required labels can be found by contacting the relevant standards organization.

 

Some electrical products are required to carry an approved energy label. These products include: refrigerators and freezers, clothes washers, dryers, dishwashers, and air conditioners. A larger list is regulated on the basis of minimum energy efficiency levels and includes the preceding list as well as electrical motors and transformers. The National Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Committee, consisting of officials from the Commonwealth, state, and territory government agencies and representatives from New Zealand, is responsible for managing the Australian end-use energy efficiency program.

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Posted: 06 January 2010, last updated 23 February 2011

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