Should Australian Standards be free for Australian businesses?

The Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS), formerly the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA), is Australia’s peak safety body. The AIHS has called for Australian Standards to be free for Australian businesses.

Given the significant price tag that these documents come with, a move like this could make fulfilling legal obligations easier for businesses and reduce the cost of compliance. Not meeting the requirements of Australian Standards can put an organisation at risk. Australian Standards that are referenced within legislation are just as enforceable as the legislation itself.

Standards Australia is the nation’s peak non-government, not-for-profit standards organisation whose role it is to develop and review standards as well as represent Australia when international standards are being developed. Businesses must purchase standards from SAI Global, the organisation who has the sole rights to sell Australian Standards within Australia. Since 2016, SAI Global has been owned by Baring Asia, a Hong Kong private equity firm.

SIA (now known as AIHS) argues that Standards Australia don’t see the vast proportion of profit that SAI Global is making from their sale and purchasing these standards is an unfair burden on Australian Businesses. SIA suggests cutting out the middle man, SAI Global, and making standards free. Any action, such as this, that makes it easier to comply can only benefit businesses.

Visit the SIA website to read more.