An industry group is calling for the Australian Federal Government to support Standards Australia in an effort to make Australian Standards available to Australian business free of charge.
The Safety Institute of Australia has written to Federal Government urging them to intervene to end arrangements which have led to high costs to Australian businesses.
The Safety Institute of Australia Chief Executive David Clarke said the prices being charged to Australian businesses to buy Australian and international business standards is unsustainable.
“Fifteen years ago the distribution of Australian Standards was privatized,” Clarke said. “As a result, Australia’s employers are now paying excessive sums to access the standards—and that cost no longer bears any relationship to the real production and distribution costs. Today, only a tiny fraction of those funds actually flows to Standards Australia, the creators of the standards.”
Clarke called on the Federal Government to intervene in the current arrangements that give Hong-Kong based private equity firm Baring Private Equity the sole rights to distribute Australian standards through its fully-owned subsidiary SAI Global.
Australian Standards are important to assist Australian companies meet health and safety obligations.
“Australian business standards help companies create safer and healthier workplaces as well as meet a number of legal obligations,” Clarke said. “Providing them directly and at no charge will improve business performance, productivity as well as health and safety outcomes—all of which deliver significant benefits to the economy well in excess of the investment required to do it. It’s smart governance, smart business, and removes unnecessary red tape.”