500 Australian Standards to be cut

Monday, 28 August, 2006

To maintain relevant Australian Standards, Standards Australia has embarked on a project to reassess about 2000 standards sectors that are more than 10 years old.

The project aims to identify standards that no longer serve a purpose to industry and community. Already, 542 standards have been identified for possible withdrawal. Around 2000 standards of the total 6846 are over 10 years old.

The project is expected to take a further six months and will be carried out in consultation with committees and stakeholders to determine the most suitable course of action for each standard. Options will be withdrawal, reconfirmation or revision.

Standards Australia has also introduced a policy on "Sunsetting Standards', which means that standards will be reviewed 5 years (maximum) after publication and this review will either reconfirm (for a further 5 years), withdraw or revise the standard.

Where it is decided to revise the standard the committee has a maximum of three years to undertake this revision. If the revision is not completed within this period, the standard will be withdrawn.

John Tucker, Standards Australia's CEO said changes in technology, industry and community, quality, safety and environmental expectations have meant many of the standards developed 10 to 15 years ago may no longer be useful.

"It is our intention to provide standards that are relevant to industry and the community, and this means looking closely at the current suite and retiring those that are past their use-by date," Tucker said. Of the standards to be revised there are a number of 'manufacturing' standards. In some cases they have been replaced by international standards and in others the committee considers that technology has moved on and there is no need for the standard. In many cases the standards are already declared obsolete or have been replaced by new revisions and this exercise involves removing these older editions to avoid confusion.

Apart from 'manufacturing standards', test methods, product specifications, system specifications (eg, OSI, IT systems), codes of practice, and guides are being withdrawn. The main determination is age and current suitability.

There are 161 standards from the information technology and communications area and 144 environmental and consumer standards earmarked for possible withdrawal.

All the standards identified for withdrawal, reconfirmation or revision will be listed at Standards Australia's website so the public can submit comments and have their say before the final verdict is handed down. Visit www.standards.org.au and click on "Standards for withdrawal" to view the list.

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