As a trusted partner of the Australian Government, Standards Australia engages with countries in the Pacific. This supports Australia’s foreign policy objectives for a secure and prosperous region.
Support over the years has involved sharing standards developments processes and knowledge with our counterparts in the Pacific. Often this included providing in-person training and facilitating trade-enabling activities. The valuable work is in collaboration with countries across the Pacific, including those which have established standards bodies, as well as those in the early stages of setup.
During the pandemic, Standards Australia has continued to engage with the region virtually, maintaining regional relationships and memberships with bodies such as the Pacific Area Standards Congress and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
Through supporting greater use of standards in the Pacific region, communities will have safer, more reliable goods and services, increased trade opportunities and a more sustainable built environment.
The value of standards
Standards are guiding documents that promote a net benefit to the Australian community, meaning the value or a benefit to the Australian community exceeds the cost imposed on suppliers, users and other parties in the community.
As there are relatively few standards bodies in the Pacific, there is limited capacity and technical expertise for the development and application of standards. Standards Australia can offer experience and expertise, and with a similar climate to our neighbouring nations, our standards can be a good starting point for the region’s standards development process.
Pacific Quality Infrastructure Initiative
As part of Standards Australia’s ongoing support, in September 2021 SA met with the National Measurement Institute (NMIA) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIFS) to officially kick off the Pacific Quality Infrastructure (PQI) Initiative.1
Lead by PIFS, the initiative focuses on strengthening quality infrastructure in the Pacific. Improved quality infrastructure will support improved quality of goods and services in the region and facilitate market access across a range of industry sectors. With a staged approach to address the various pillars of quality infrastructure, the PQI Initiative project will initially focus on standardisation, quality promotion, metrology and testing.
This initiative sees Standards Australia work in collaboration with all Forum Island Countries to provide the following activities from 2021 to 2022:
- A planning workshop to set the course for the programme
- Needs assessment to benchmark current standards activities
- Capacity building workshops on key topics of standards development
- Mentoring programme with Standards Australia staff
- Establishment of a Regional Standards Committee
‘As a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia has a long-standing history of engagement with our Pacific neighbours. Standards Australia is pleased to be reinforcing this collaboration under the PQI Initiative,’ said Adrian O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer at Standards Australia.
‘Standards are essential in supporting and enhancing both national and regional safety and quality. We commend the Pacific Islands Forum for reigniting this important work and for partnering not just with Standards Australia but other members of the Australian Technical Infrastructure Alliance,’ Mr O’Connell concluded.
The PQI Initiative will also deliver training in measurement and testing techniques and facilitate access to internationally recognised calibration and testing services. These activities will lead into two additional years of implementation, with an anticipated completion in 2023.
‘The PQI Initiative leverages the Pacific region’s strengths in collaborating as small island economies to address common challenges. Despite our distance from other regions, the Pacific Islands collectively have an abundance of unique products and services to offer the world, and this initiative will help facilitate access to global markets,’ said Mr Zarak Khan, Director of Programmes and Initiatives at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).
‘We are pleased to have strong endorsement from all Forum Islands Ministers, as well as a robust group of partners including Standards Australia and the National Measurement Institute, Australia, to help us achieve our goals of people-centred development,’ added Mr Khan.
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