The National Measurement Institute (NMI) employs trade measurement inspectors throughout Australia to:
- inform, monitor and consult with businesses about their trade measurement obligations
- ensure all measuring instruments used for trade are verified and used correctly
- check pre-packaged articles for correct packer identification, measurement markings and accurate measure
- monitor the activities of servicing licensees and public weighbridge licensees
- check public weighbridges for their conditions and accuracy
- investigate complaints
- take appropriate enforcement action where there have been breaches of the laws.
Inspectors can visit a place of business at any reasonable time of day and do not have to give notice of entry. We base the frequency of our visits on our risk assessment of your operations.
Our inspectors have the power to:
- enter and search a building, place or vehicle apparently used for business, but not residential premises unless the inspector has a warrant or the person in control of the residence consents
- record details of the building, place, vehicle, packages or measuring instruments by filming, photographing or making sketches and notes
- test packages by examining or measuring which may require breaking them open
- test and verify measuring instruments
- check if servicing licensees verification marks have been properly applied and the instrument’s details have been provided to NMI
- examine a packer’s, importer’s, possessor’s or seller’s records, and take copies of documents when necessary
- seize documents, records, packages or measuring instruments
- translate records or documents into English where needed
- ask questions and require answers
- require facilities and assistance
- issue non-compliance notices.
In exercising their powers, trade measurement inspectors must:
- identify themselves and produce their identity card on request
- tell the person in control of the premises or vehicle that they are authorised to enter business premises or inspect a business vehicle
- when entering residential premises with a warrant, provide a copy of the warrant to the controller of the premises
- when entering residential premises without a warrant, seek consent from the person in control of the premises and inform them that they can refuse consent
- provide a copy of any seized document or record that can be readily copied, to the controller if requested
- provide a receipt for anything seized.
A controller is a person who apparently is in control of business premises, residential premises or a business vehicle during an NMI inspection.
The controller can:
- observe any tests of pre-packaged articles or measuring instruments, but only so long as the controller is not hindering the conduct of the test
- observe the search of the premises and inspection of the business vehicle, but only so long as they are not hindering the search or inspection
- request a copy of any seized item that can be readily copied at the time of the seizure
- ask the inspector to leave residential premises during the search, when the search has been obtained by consent of the controller.
The controller of a business premises or vehicle must provide the inspector, or any person assisting the inspector, with assistance and reasonable access to all facilities.
Specifically, the controller must:
- answer any questions by an inspector
- produce any record or document requested by an inspector
- provide details written in English of records or documents that were not written in English.
The only exception is when the controller may be incriminated or exposed to a penalty listed in the National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009.
Enforcing trade measurement laws
NMI has a range of enforcement options for offences under trade measurement legislation.
These options include:
- a verbal warning
- a notice of non-compliance at the end of an inspection—this notice may include remedial actions that have to be carried out by the packer, importer, possessor or seller
- a written warning
- an infringement notice with associated fine
- an enforceable undertaking
- an injunction