19 Dec 2018

ACETA Solves the Compliance Issue & $100K Other Reasons to Join


ACETA Solves the Compliance Issue & $100K Other Reasons to Join

by Jason Allen.

If you’ve been keeping up with the issue of electrical and product compliance for Australian technology importers [Pts 1, 2, 3], you’ll know that the most complimentary way to describe it is ‘complicated’. Our peak body, ACETA, have found a way to cut through the red tape and save our businesses valuable money and time, but you need to join to reap the rewards.

The problems with the labyrinth of compliance all comes down to the Australian Constitution and the roles of the States. Safety is the State’s responsibility, which is why we have State police forces. It’s also why we have state-based electrical safety requirements, which don’t always line up across borders.

This is why it’s so hard to determine what level of certification the gear you’re bringing into the country needs, and whether or not you need to pay for what can be extremely expensive NATA testing.


All of this adds up to big out-of-pocket expenses for product testing, and big overheads for compliance administration. Larger organisations have dedicated compliance staff, which they need to sift through the raft of standards and decide what’s relevant and necessary.

And here’s the genius in what ACETA have achieved. Through a lot of groundwork, solid legal advice, and talks with government, it has been determined that standards can (and are) set by peak bodies that can be deemed the benchmark reference in a court of law over a state-set standard.

Therefore ACETA can choose which existing standards are the best and most appropriate for our industry, definitively classify the risk categories of all of the types of goods that are imported, and collate that information as a reference for their members, saving companies potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in ongoing costs.

If, God forbid, an entertainment technology product was implicated in a serious injury or death, a magistrate or coroner could refer to a standard to determine whether the product was compliant, and if the importer was doing the right thing.

Standards set by industry peak bodies, such as The Australian Medical Association, are often the first referred to in such cases, and as long as they are robust and stand scrutiny, can overrule any inconsistencies at the state level. ACETA has compiled all the relevant standards into one simple document, along with risk category definitions, which will provide members with an efficient, authoritative source that makes it easy to comply with Australian law and keep the industry safe.

“To an importer, the cost savings could be significant,” said ACETA President Frank Hinton.

“We have records of people NATA testing low-risk items that don’t require it, at $20,000 per test. I know at least one business that could have saved $100,000 with this document. If you understand your risk priorities, you can easily save six figures.”

With Version One of the document already with members, ACETA continues to work, with Version Two adding more product categories, likely due before Christmas. Version Three is slated in the New Year, covering RF issues.

In the future, if ACETA membership is widely adopted, it could become possible for ACETA to manage compliance on behalf of its members, further reducing their overheads.

While compliance savings are by far the largest potential saving for ACETA members, there are significant gains to be found in other ACETA discounts and services. ACETA has an agreement in place for members to receive a significantly discounted rate with a Foreign Currency Exchange Broker, allowing companies to avoid hefty bank fees.

“One of our members predicts a saving of $20,000 in the year ahead” confirmed Frank, “and they’re quite a small company.”

ACETA has negotiated a similar arrangement with an Australian clothing manufacturer, allowing members to get wholesale rates for small production runs, making high-quality custom uniforms or promotional giveaways economically realistic for smaller companies.

“Everyone needs to make some clothes from time to time,” illustrated Frank. “We had frustrated members making uniforms in China, and they’d get one good shipment and one bad. Another member went to an Australian company, but ended up with product from Bangladesh.

“As an Australian peak body, we want our trade to stay in Australia, so we’ve come to an agreement with a competitive Australian company that uses Australian materials and has won an ethical standards award.”

With some purchasers now biasing to ACETA members in public tenders, and companies adding their membership as a sign of excellence and point of difference on their quotes, it’s never been a better time to join. Simply go to or call (03) 9254 1033.


From the December 2018 – January 2019 edition of CX Magazine, Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Print version delivered to your door or read online for free
© CX Media


Catch up on the issue of compliance from CX:
Part One – Compliance for Australian Entertainment Products (Aug 2018)
Part Two – EMC: Electromagnetic Compatibility (Sept 2018)
Part Three – Electrical Safety (Oct 2018)


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