The National Measurement Institute (NMI), a division of the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, administers the National Measurement Act 1960 and associated regulations to ensure that, for trade purposes:
- measuring instruments are fit for purpose
- measurements are made correctly
- representations about measurements are accurate.
To help businesses comply with their legal obligations, NMI’s trade measurement inspectors:
- test measuring instruments, inspect packaged goods and review business practices
- provide advice on meeting compliance obligations
- take enforcement action when necessary.
Inspectors usually wear branded clothing and show an ID card to the business owner/operator at the commencement of an audit. However, inspectors can also make incognito ‘trial purchases’ to assess whether businesses are, for example, correctly operating scales and allowing for the weight of packaging during over-the-counter transactions.
NMI takes a risk-based approach when targeting compliance activities and determining the appropriate and proportionate regulatory response where non-compliance is identified.
We measure risk in terms of the harm and likelihood of regulatory non-compliance. Some of the factors used to determine harm include:
- impact on confidence in the measurement system
- extent of financial detriment to consumers or industry
- impact on maintaining a level playing field for business competition
- ability of consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.