Skip Ribbon Commands
Australian Government: National Measurement InstituteAustralian Government: National Measurement Institute
National Measurement Institute

Measurement Legislation

The Commonwealth has a constitutional head of power for 'weights and measures'. This is set out in section 51 (xv) of the Constitution. The Commonwealth also assumes a broader leadership and coordinating role to ensure that our national measurement standards across the physical, chemical and biological spectrums conform to international standards.

The National Measurement Act 1960 establishes a national system of units and standards of measurement and provides for the uniform use of those units and standards throughout Australia to ensure traceability of measurement. The Act establishes a framework for the regulation of measuring instruments used for trade and provides for a system of verification of utility meters used for trade. The National Measurement Act was amended in 2004 to establish NMI and a statutory officer, the Chief Metrologist, with functions and powers relating to units and standards of measurement and to pattern approval.

The National Measurement Regulations 1999 provide further detail for the application of the National Measurement Act.

The National Measurement Guidelines 2016 govern the way in which Australian legal units of measurement may be combined to produce an Australian legal unit of measurement, and how they may be combined with prefixes to produce Australian legal units of measurement.

The National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009, which were enacted to assist in the establishment of a Commonwealth system of trade measurement, specify requirements for:

  • measuring instruments used for trade
  • testing, verifying and reverifying measuring instruments in use for trade
  • transactions by measurement
  • packaging
  • licensing of businesses that verify trade measuring instruments (these are known as servicing licensees)
  • licensing of public weighbridges