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Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Page: 3561


Mr GARRETT (Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) (10:03 AM) —in reply—I would like to sum up by thanking all those who participated in this debate. The government is very pleased with the smooth transition that occurred from 1 July this year from the eight former state and territory based trade measurement systems to the new national system of trade measurement. The new national system is a substantial outcome of the government’s business regulation reform agenda. The advent of a new national system has removed the previous inconsistencies in trade measurement, will reduce costs to companies operating nationally and will allow Australia to adopt new technologies and processes that will assist in making our industries compete better internationally. This is an outcome that all sides of politics, I think, can be pleased with.

The National Measurement Amendment Bill 2010 will amend the National Measurement Act 1960 in order to correct some unintended consequences of the translation of trade measurement provisions of state and territory legislation into Commonwealth legislation. The bill clarifies the application of strict liability offences and narrows the circumstances in which some offence provisions may apply. This will remove doubt about the application of those offences while upholding the requirement that only verified measuring instruments are used for trade. These amendments will bring the certainty desired by Australian industry. The bill will also improve the operation of the National Measurement Act in a number of respects, including by the delegation, as noted by speakers in this debate, to the Chief Metrologist of the determination of various test procedures.

In closing this debate, I think it is appropriate to mention how Australian industry has reacted to the government’s policy of introducing a national system of trade measurement. I am pleased to report that industry responses have been extremely positive. Accord Australasia, the peak industry group for the consumer, cosmetic and hygiene products sector, for example, stated in a press release earlier this year that the new national system will address the longstanding problem businesses faced in having to deal with separate and often inconsistent requirements of state and territory legislation and that it will introduce greater clarity for industry and assist Australia’s trade position by introducing an average quantity system. In summary, the National Measurement Amendment Bill 2010 will bring legislative certainty to the application of strict liability offences and will assist in making greater efficiencies possible in the operation of the new national system of trade measurement.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.