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Media release: Ensuring Australian Businesses Measure Up

The National Measurement Institute (NMI) has today released its annual plan to ensure Australian consumers and businesses are getting what they pay for at the supermarket, petrol pump and in other transactions that rely on measurement.

Article date:
27/06/2017 10:00 AM

The National Measurement Institute (NMI) has today released its annual plan to ensure Australian consumers and businesses are getting what they pay for at the supermarket, petrol pump and in other transactions that rely on measurement.

As the national regulator of trade measurement, NMI undertakes a significant program of compliance activities each year across industry sectors including retail, transport and agriculture.

The National Compliance Plan for 2017-18 details the regulatory inspection activities for the coming year, including:

  • visits to 11,500 businesses
  • testing 13,000 measuring instruments
  • inspecting 85,000 lines of packaged goods
  • making 1900 ‘secret shopper’ trial purchases.

Acting General Manager of Legal Metrology, Anthony Donnellan, said NMI worked with businesses to ensure their customers could have confidence in the trade measurement system.

“Australian businesses and consumers make millions of transactions every day expecting that they will receive the correct measure — weight, volume, area, length or count — of the goods and services they’ve paid for,” Mr Donnellan said.

“Consistency and certainty in measurement supports fair and open competition. It provides a level playing field for business by ensuring that all market participants, irrespective of their size or financial strength, follow the same rules and have an equal opportunity to compete.”

“NMI’s national trade measurement compliance program allows markets to operate more efficiently by giving businesses and consumers confidence in the system. This provides value for all Australians by reducing transaction costs across the economy.”

Each year NMI conducts targeted inspection programs of industry sectors identified as having a high risk of non-compliance.

During 2017-18, NMI’s regulatory activities will focus on:

  • Meat, fish and poultry retailing
  • Supermarkets and grocery stores with a turnover of less than $2m.

NMI will also be looking at weight-based and volume-based charging by waste management and recycling businesses, as part of a pilot program to assess the risk of non-compliance in this emerging industry sector. 

The plan also details inspection programs for businesses in outer regional and remote areas, and weighbridges.

“NMI recognises that most businesses want to do the right thing and will quickly correct minor errors when they are identified by an NMI inspector. However, where severe or persistent offenders are found, NMI has the option of imposing fines or referring matters for prosecution,” Mr Donnellan said.

“If businesses are using measuring instruments such as scales for trade purposes they should make sure they are of an approved type and are accurate at all times.

They should also ensure that any packaged goods they’re selling contain the amount stated on the label.”

For more information or to report a suspected breach of the rules, consumers and business should contact the national trade measurement hotline on 1300 686 664 or infotm@measurement.gov.au.

NMI is part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Media contact:
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
media@industry.gov.au
Ph 02 6213 6308