Trade Measurement

The Australian trade measurement laws, the National Measurement Act 1960 and the National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009 apply to your business if you sell goods by measurement, or you manufacture, pack, import or sell pre-packaged goods. Trade measurement covers both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions.

National Measurement Institute (NMI)

Since 1 July 2010, the National Measurement Institute (a federal government agency) has been responsible for trade measurement in Australia.

Businesses can voluntarily adopt the Australian Quantity System (AQS) measuring system or continue with the Uniform Trade Measurement Legislation (UTML). Learn about the difference between the AQS and the UTML

The NMI provides factsheets and information relevant to businesses trading in:

For more information about your specific trade-measurement questions, you can contact the West Australian office of the NMI on 9368 8400, or use the national hotline 1300 686 664, or refer to the NMI website contact page

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NMI inspectors

NMI's inspectors can visit a place of business 'at any reasonable time of day' in response to a complaint or enquiry, or as part of a trade measurement compliance inspection program.

Refer to NMI's The Role of the Trade Measurement Inspector brochure to learn more about your rights and responsibilities when dealing with inspectors.

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Trade measurement laboratories

NMI's Trade Measurement Laboratories provide calibration and certification testing services. They have NATA-approved laboratories across Australia and their Perth laboratory can provide quality measurement testing services in:

  • volume
  • mass
  • area
  • density
  • length.

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Trade measurement responsibilities for small businesses

Measuring instruments must be:

  • approved by the NMI for trade use
  • verified for accuracy by a servicing licensee
  • regularly maintained for accuracy
  • kept clean and in good working order
  • verified before use
  • indicating at zero before use
  • suitable for the intended purpose
  • used in the correct manner
  • verified after each repair or metrological adjustment.

Business owners and staff must:

  • ensure compliance with the trade measurement rules;
  • adhere to labeling requirements about measurement marking and packer identification;
  • carry out checks to make sure that prepackaged goods meet the legal requirements for the correct measurement;
  • take responsibility for the accuracy of the measurements on packages you import, produce or sell;
  • make sure everyone in the business complies with the rules;
  • be able to demonstrate that internal quality control systems are in place;
  • make sure suppliers are aware of the trade measurement requirements and comply with them; and
  • assist trade measurement inspectors in answering questions and providing advice if requested.

Set up business systems to:

  • check that the packing of products comply with measurement requirements;
  • ensure correct measurements are being made in your business;
  • check goods before they are distributed for sale;
  • achieve compliance with the national trade measurement laws; and
  • check that goods being resold comply with trade measurement requirements before they are made available for sale.

If a customer is present during the measuring process, you should place the measuring instrument in a position where they can see the process.

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