Standards Australia
Legislation updates Public comment

Shape the future of Standards Australia

Standards Australia (SA) is working towards making its content more accessible to stakeholders and users, and is seeking input on how it distributes content. As part of this process it has released a Distribution and Licensing Policy Discussion Paper that is open for review.

SA entered into a new distribution agreement with Techstreet recently, after a ruling that SAI Global would no longer have exclusive distribution rights. This has opened the possibility of users accessing standards in new ways, and potential changes to pricing. SA is now opening the conversation with stakeholders about the next steps.

Standards Australia General Manager Strategy and Engagement, Adam Stingemore, says Standards Australia is looking to achieve much better access to Australian and International standards through delivery channel, format, and the ability for third parties to use content to make standards more useful to end users.

In the paper, SA sets three broad objectives:

  • Achieving greater reach for its content, ensuring relevance to those affected by it
  • Increasing awareness and use of standards in industry, government and by the broader Australian community
  • Establishing an operating model that ensures SA’s long-term financial sustainability.

“Having come to the end of a 15-year period of exclusive distribution rights, the Board, informed by the views of many different stakeholder groups, has a firm view that distribution and innovation in the delivery of standards content should not rest with a sole party, including SA,” the paper reads.

“To achieve its objectives, SA intends to operate in a multi-channel, multi-segment model, where a number of different distributors are licensed to distribute SA’s content. Practically, this model would see SA partnering with a number of organisations who have the ability to help deliver its content to those who need it, through traditional (hard copy and PDF) products and in new and innovative ways. In this model, SA will also be engaged in direct distribution of its content, including through innovative products.”

Stingemore says SA is looking at opening up different ways for content to be licensed.

“We’re doing this across every sector and different sectors have different information needs. At the moment we are consulting on what this model would look like in the detail, with submissions open until the end of July,” he says.

The paper also recognises issues around the pricing of standards.

“Many facets of our daily lives are affected by standards,” the paper notes. “Standards govern multiple aspects of society, including the buildings in which we live and work … It is essential for many in the course of their work that they have access to standards, and many consumers also wish to understand standards more fully.

“SA will explore ways for users to more easily access these standards other than the purchase of traditional single user PDF or the existing subscription based model. This must be balanced against recognising and recovering the cost and time of developing and distributing standards in order to maintain financial sustainability.”

Stingemore says Standards Australia knows that from users that there are many different ways people want to connect with content, from the existing hard copy and PDF documents to standards embedded in programs and apps.

“We are looking to deliver this change with partners who know their industries and who know how technology can help,” he says.

A special point is dedicated to apprentices and others in the early part of their career who need to access standards.

“It is anticipated that a very low proportion of junior trades people, apprentices or students have access to the standards which they would benefit from. Providing discounts to these potential users may increase penetration, supporting SA’s objectives of reach and relevance.”

Standards Australia is running consultations around Australia to help determine the path ahead.

The discussion paper is available for download here, and submissions can be made until July 29.

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