Product categories

HomeBans, standards & recallsWhat is the difference between Australian standards and mandatory standards?

What is the difference between Australian standards and mandatory standards?

Similar questions

  1. What is the difference between voluntary standards and mandatory standards?


There are two key differences between voluntary standards (including Australian and international) and mandatory standards:

  1. It is legal to supply products in Australia that do not meet voluntary Australian standards, while mandatory standards are law and there are penalties and consequences for supplying products that do not comply with them.
  2. While Australian voluntary standards may address a range of issues that are not safety related, mandatory safety standards should only address essential safety features.

Often, but not always, the requirements of a mandatory standard are based on an existing voluntary standard.

It is illegal to claim that a product meets either voluntary or mandatory standards when it does not.

Below are some other differences between these two standards.

Voluntary standards

  • Voluntary standards are developed by Standards Australia or other standards making body through a process of technical committee assessment, discussion and drafting.
  • Suppliers may choose to meet some, all or none of the requirements of voluntary standards.
  • Depending on how current they are, voluntary standards are likely to represent industry best practice with the safe design, supply and use of those products captured by the definitions in the standard.
  • Voluntary standards exist only for a relatively small number of consumer products.
  • Voluntary standards do not routinely become mandatory.
Mandatory standards
  • Mandatory standards are developed by the ACCC through a process of internal assessment, discussion and drafting in conjunction with public and industry consultation.
  • Suppliers are legally bound to comply with all the requirements of mandatory standards.
  • Mandatory standards establish a minimum set of safety requirements which all products captured by the definitions in the standard must meet to be legally supplied in Australia.
  • Mandatory standards exist for an even smaller number of consumer products when compared to voluntary standards.
  • While it may be the case in some instances, mandatory standards are not always based on Australian voluntary standards.

For more information, see the page on mandatory standards.

© Copyright ACCC 2016 Contact us | Site map | Glossary | New on site | Help | Privacy | Disclaimer & copyright | Accessibility | Login | Chinese language information page 中文信息