Federation of 6 States and 2 Territories
Surfacearea: 7 682 300 km2
Population:17 800 000


The principal act concerning legal metrology is the National Mcasurement Act 1960. The Act and its Regulations specify Australia's legal units of measurement of physical quantities, and require that measurements made for any legal purpose are traceable to Australia's primary standards, The Act also provides for the pattern approval of trade and legal measurement instruments.
Uniform trade measurement legislation is being enacted in all States and Territories. The verification and reverification of measuring instruments in use for trade is under the control of this legislation and provision is made for certification (i.e. velificatinn) by licensed private organizations. pre-packaged articles are also controlled under this legislation.

1.1 Legal requirements for traceability

The National Measurement Act requires that the measurement of a physical quantity for legal purposes be made by means of, reference to, comparison with, or derivation from, specified standards of measurement including certified reference materials.


The legal units of measurements within Australia are defined in the National Measurement Regulations and are these of the International System of Units (SI). Conversion to SI began in 1972 and is new complete.


3.1 National organization for legal metrology

The national authority for legal metrology is:
National Standards Commission (NSC)
PO Box 282 North Ride,
NSW 21 1 3
Telephone: 61-2-888 3922
Fax: 61-2-888 3033
The National Standards Commission (NSC) has responsibility for advising the Commonwealth Government on the scientific, technical and legislative requirments of the Australian national measurement system and has specific responsibilities for coordinating the national measurement system, legal metrology, trade measurement and metrication.
NSC provides the chairperson and secretariat for the Standing Committee on Trade Measurement, Which is responsible for uniformity of administration of trade measurement in Australia (including packaging by measure. NSC examines and upon conformity, approves the pattern of measuring instruments as suitable for use for trade.
NSC provides Australian representation on OIML committees and coordinates Australia's input to the development of OIML international recommendations. NSC publishes a series of design manuals for the guidance of manufacturers and importers of measuring instruments that are required to be pattern approved. These manuals are harmonized with OIML international recommendations.

3.2 Custodian of National Standards

The custodian of national standards of measurement is the National Measurement Laboratory (NML) at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research organization (CSIRO):

CSIRO Division of Applied Physics

National Measurement Laboratory

PO Box 218
Lindfield, NSW 2070
Telephone: 61-2-413 7211
Fax:       61-2-416 7902
NML produces a number of publications on particular aspects of physical quantities but the main publication describing the primary standards maintained by NML is The Australian Standards for the Measurement of Physical Quantities. NML provides Australian representation on CGPM, CIPM and their consultative committees.

3. National Organization responsible for maintaining primary standards.

The Australian primary standards are held and maintained by NML at CSIRO (see clause 3.2).

3.4 Regional and local verification organizations

Each State and Territory has regulatory bodies in the field of weights and measures, usually within the departments of consumer affairs. Inspectors from these departments inspect and verify instruments for use for trade.
Under the Uniform Trade Measurement Legislation, licensed certifying agencies may perform certifications of instruments for use in trade.

3.5 Instrument calibration and evaluation systems

NSC maintains a testing and calibration for pattern approval testing of trade measurement instruments.
The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredits laboratories in industry, educational institutions, semi-government organisations and other administrative bodies, as well as undertake calibration and testing procedures for which officially recognised certificates are issued. NATA represents Australia on the International Laboratory Accreditation Conference and has mutual recognition agreements with a number of national laboratory accreditation organisations.


Measuring instruments intended for trade use and covered by the Uniform Trade Measurement Legislation must have a certificate of approval issued by NSC before they can be installed and verified. In addition other legal measuring instruments may be approved by the Commission on request. These include telephone meters and axle weighers.
Some trade measuring instruments such as electricity, gas, water and taxi meters are subject to regulation by agencies other than Federal or State trade measurement authorities.


5. 1 Legal and technical requirements for type approval

NSC has the responsibility to ensure that the design of the measuring instrument meets certain criteria to ensure accurate measurement. NSC carries out this responsibility by examining the designs of measuring instruments and testing sample instruments. The specifications against which a sample instrument is tested agree to the greatest possible extent with OIML international recommendations.
Once the pattern of an instrument has been approved, the Commission issues a certificate of approval and subsequent production instruments made to the pattern must be marked with the NSC number contained in that certificate. The marking of this number on a production instrument is the primary indication to a trade measurement inspector or a licensed certifier that the measuring instrument is of an approved pattern.
Pattern approval requirements are contained in the following pattern approval manuals:
No.1 Non-automatic weighing Instruments;
No.2 Liquid-measuring Systems;
No.3 Liquor Dispensers;
No.4 Length-measuring Instruments;
No.5 Area-measuring Instruments;
No.6 Farm Milk Tanks;
No.7 Load Cells;
No.8 weighing-in-motion Systems;
No.9 Belt Conveyor weighers; and;
No.10 Instruments Measuring the Quantity of Liquids in Tanks.

5.2 Authority responsible for issuing type approval

NSC is responsible for issuing type approval certificates for trade measuring instruments.

5.3 Recognition/acceptance of OIML certificates

Australia is currently negotiating mutual recognition of testing conformance with the European Union, It would be inappropriate to pre-empt these discussions by introducing the OIML certificate scheme. In addition the pre-conditions necessary for confidence in test reports have not yet been formally achieved.

5.4 Authority responsible for testing for type approval

NSC is the authority responsible for testing for type approvals.

5.5 List of major test facilities available

The principal testing facilities operated by NSC are:

5.6 Fee structure

The following fees relate to the usual patterns of the instrument. There are two categories of fees : (a) administrative fee; and examination fees. (b) examination fees vary according to the type of component or instrument being tested. Typical fees are:
Simple component
Weighing instruments - mechanical
eg. platform instruments
Weighing instruments - electronic
eg. weigh bridges
Special weighing instruments
eg. automatic weighing and labeling instruments <100 kg
Flowmeters eg. driveway flowmeters other than LPG
The level of cost recovery by NSC for pattern 3pproval is about 70%.


6.1 Legal and technical requirements for verification and reverification

A measuring instrument can only be used for trade after it has been verified by a trade measurement inspector or a licensed certifier and mkarked with an inspector's 'mark or certifier's mark. The requirements for verification are as follows.

(a) the instrument must operate within the appropriate limits of error that may be tolerated under the National Measurement Act at verification;
(b) the instrument must be of an approved pattern; and
(c) the instrument must have no graduations in a unit of measurement other than a unit of measurement under the metric system of measurement within the meaning of the National Measurement Act.

6.2 Range of equipment verified and reverified and any statistical information available

The range of equipment tested include the following:
* Driveway flowmeters for petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas;
* Farm milk tanks and meters;
* Hopper weighers;
* Laboratory standard volumes;
* Masses;
* Master meters;
* Length measures;
* Bulk meters;
* Liquefied petroleum gas meters;
* Spirit measures;
* weigh bridges;
* weighing instruments; and
* Wheel load weights
The following table gives statistical information on instruments verified and reverified from 1 July 1993 to 30 June 1994: Type of Instrument Total Number of
Instruments tested
Total Number of Instruments
Total Number of Instruments found incorrect
% of Instruments found incorrect
Bulk weighers
2 005
Driveway flowmeters - petrol, diesel & LPG
3 314
Driveway flowmeters , LPG meters
Farm milk tanks & meters
Length measures
11 597
Master meters
Spirit measures
12 499
Laboratory standard volumes
2 480
weigh bridges
2 817
Weighing instruments
37 692
2 951
Wheel load weighers

6.3 Fee structure

Fees for verification and reverification vary significantly between States and Territories. The level of cost recovery varies from 25% to 70%.


7.1 Accreditation systems for legal metrology, calibration and testing laboratories. Traceability to national, regional, international or foreign measurement standards

There are two principal methods of disseminating standards of measurement which are traceable to the Australian primary standards. The first method is through NATA which is concerned primarily with measurements of a scientific or technical nature; and the second method is through the appointment of verifying authorities, by NSC under Regulation 77 of the National Measurement Act. Verifying authorities are appointed for trade measurements, surveying and utility measurements (electricity, telephone etc.).

Since the legal requirements vary depending on the accuracy required, there has been a hierarchy of standards developed which enables a range of accuracies to be disseminated throughout the community.

Australian primary standards of measurement for each of the legally defined units are maintained by the National Measurement Laboratory of the CSIRO Division of Applied Physics, or its agents (see clause 3.2). Second-level standards are maintained by the trade measurement authorities and NATA registered laboratories. NATA accreditation of laboratories ensures that calibration, staff and processes meet criteria necessary to ensure traceability. NSC may approve the pattern of measuring instruments used for legal purposes, including trade use.

Australia's hierarchy of physical units and standards is shown in figure 1 :

Figure 1. Australia's hierarchy of physical units and standards

7. Legal and applied metrological activities in products certification

Products certification is provided by Standards Australia Quality Assurance Services Pty Ltd which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Standards Australia. Only when a product or quality system has been certified to internationally recognised standards and passes the regular audits is an organisation licensed to use the Standards Mark on its products.

7.3 Legal and applied metrological activities in ISO 9000 quality management system

Australia has adopted the ISO 9000 series of standards in their entirety quality standards. It was published in Australia in 1987 as the AS 3900/ISO 9000,and given dual numbering to emphasise the ISO connection.

Quality certification to lSO 9000 is provided by private organisations that are accredited by the Joint Accreditation Scheme for Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ). There are currently eleven organisations accredited under this scheme.


8.1 Numbers

Five engineers and scientists and six technical officers are involved in testing and type approval functions at NSC. There are '130 State and Territory trade measurement inspectors.

8.2 Qualification/training

The qualification of the technical officers are in the fields of engineering and physical sciences. Inspectors are accredited by the National Accreditation Board after completion of a National trading standards course.

8.3 Training organizations and courses organized

The Technical and Further Education (TAFE) conducts the following courses;
* Trading standards course; and
* Calibration technician's course.

8.4 Range of functions

The courses are at two levels, i.e. the advanced certificate and the associate diploma levels and cover two strands, namely the electrical/electronic strand and the physical strand, and law in the case of the trade measurement course.


9.1 Legislative control for packaging

The Trade Measurement Act 1989 which embodies the Trade Measurement (Pre-packed Articles) Regulations 1990 includes packaging regulations. In addition, the Code of Practice on Deceptive Practices in packaging endorsed by the Standing Committee of Consumer Affairs Ministers, provides industry with an interpretation of misleading or deceptive conduct in packaging.

9.2 Organisation responsible

The States and Territories administer packaging legislation.


Under Common wealth Law Section 19 B :
A person shall not falsely represent:
(a) that a pattern of an instrument is in accordance with a pattern approved by or on behalf of the Commission as a pattern of an instrument suitable for use for trade; or
(b) that an instrument is in accordance with a pattern so approved.
The penalty is A$6,000 (or A$30,000 for a company).
Under State and Territory Law:
(a) A person who uses a measuring instrument for trade is guilty of an offence unless the instrument bears an inspector's mark or a licensee's mark.
The Penalty is A$I0,000 for weigh bridges and A$5,000 otherwise
(or A$50,000 and A$25,000 for a company respectively).
(b) A person who uscs for tradc a measuring instrument that is incorrect or unjust is guilty of an offence.
The penalty is A$201000 (or A$1001000 for a company)
(c) A person who used for trade a measuring instrument in a manner that is unjust is guilty of an offence.
The penalty is A$20,000 (or A$100,000 for a company).
(d) A person whose act or omlsslon causes or is likely to cause a measuring instrument in use for trade to give a measurement or other information that is incorrect is guilty of an offence if the person acted or omitted to act with the intention of causing tllat result or with reckless indifference to whether that result would be caused.
The penalty is A$20,000 (or A$l001000 for a company) .
(e) If a measuring instrument that is unacceptable for trade use is used for tradel a person who sold, leased, hired or lent it to the person who used it for trade is guilty of an offence.
The pnalty is A$20,000 (or A$100,000 for a company).

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