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Making sure you get correct weight

10 July 2018

Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Zed Seselja today launched the National Measurement Institute’s (NMI) annual plan to ensure Australian consumers and businesses have ‘correct weight’ (and volume, length and number) whenever they buy or sell goods by measurement.

As the national regulator of trade measurement, NMI’s 2018-19 National Compliance Plan outlines a program of compliance activities across the economy, covering both wholesale and retail sales.

These include visits to 8000 businesses, testing 10,000 measuring instruments, inspecting 60,000 lines of packaged goods, and making 1000 ‘secret shopper’ trial purchases.

The areas that NMI will be giving special attention as part of its compliance program in 2018-19 include:

  • A two-week ‘blitz’ of the major supermarket chains. This concentrated national audit program will focus on trading practices and the accuracy of equipment.
  • A review of sales of grain and grain products, from the farm gate through to the shop front. This will include a focus on the methods used to determine how farmers are paid based on quality measurements such as protein and moisture content.
  • Checks to ensure that the declared weight of pre-packaged frozen seafood does not include any ice or glaze. This inspection program will cover the whole distribution chain, including packers, importers, wholesalers and retailers.
  • Auditing systems at manufacturers and importers to help prevent any non-compliant products entering the supply chain before they reach the ultimate consumer.
  • A focus on the accuracy of fuel dispensers.

The Plan also outlines the work NMI’s national network of trade measurement inspectors undertakes on behalf of other Commonwealth agencies, including:

  • Tobacco Plain Packaging compliance investigations for the Department of Health
  • Country of Origin Food Labelling market surveillance for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Assistant Minister Seselja said there were some basic principles that businesses should follow to ensure they are giving their customers correct measure.

“If you’re using a measuring instrument such as a scale to determine a price, you need to ensure that instrument is an approved type and accurate at all times,” Senator Seselja said.

“You must ensure that any packaged goods you’re selling contain the amount stated on the label”.

Senator Seselja noted there were penalties for businesses that breach the law.

“While we recognise that most businesses want to do the right thing and will usually quickly correct any errors, where we find severe or persistent offenders we can impose fines or initiate prosecutions,” Senator Seselja said.

For more information or to report a suspected breach of the rules, consumers and business should contact the national trade measurement hotline on 1300 686 664 or infotm@measurement.gov.au.

Media contacts

Minister Seselja's office 02 6277 3187

Department of Industry Innovation and Science Media 02 6213 6308