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Building Linkages

NMI Strategic Plan

2014 – 2018
Front Cover:
The double helix symbolises the
measurement support in genetic
testing that NMI is providing across
a range of sectors including health,
food, agriculture, environment and

Our Vision
Measurement policy, science and regulation underpinning
the economy and well-being of Australia.

Our Mission
To lead and facilitate a measurement system that serves,
enhances and adapts to the productivity and growth of
Australian industries.

Measurement is essential to innovation and science, is measurement needs, able to address complex, multi-
often a precursor to investment, and supports Australia’s dimensional measurement challenges.
safety, security, prosperity and quality of life. Examples
NMI’s specialist in-house capabilities and extensive
of measurement are everywhere: in assuring the purity of
external linkages enable the efficient and effective delivery
food and water; environmental analyses; the passage of
of the range of measurements most needed within
time; lighting efficiency; pathology testing; the use of
Australia’s economy and society. NMI’s measurement
electricity and gas; manufacturing; engineering and
expertise is applied in areas including law enforcement,
construction; chemical safety; agricultural production.
manufacturing, food, agriculture, and environmental
Almost every country has a peak body that ensures that analyses. Our stakeholders participate in every part of the
accurate, nationally and internationally recognised economy, including retail, mining and resources, banking
measurements can be made. In Australia that organisation and transport & communications.
is the National Measurement Institute (NMI).
NMI is a division of the Department of Industry and
Operating under the National Measurement Act 1960 (Cth), Science and contributes to the Department's objectives.
NMI was formed in 2004 by the merger of three bodies
covering the chemical, physical and legal aspects of Departmental vision:
measurement. NMI is now a one-stop shop for Australia’s
‘Enabling growth and productivity
for globally competitive industries’

Department Objectives NMI's Contribution 2014 – 2018

Growing Business Leading a measurement system that serves, enhances and adapts to the productivity
Investment & Improving & growth of Australian industries
Business Capability
Promoting investment in measurement to enhance productivity and foster innovation

Supporting trade and investment through the international recognition and acceptance
of measurements made in Australia

Supporting Science Translating research outputs into products, processes and services
& Commercialisation
Assisting in translating measurement skills & best practice into applications

Streamlining Regulation Providing a clear, unambiguous regulatory framework that delivers confidence
and fairness

Building a High Being an employer of choice that prioritises the safety of staff and inspires teams
Performing Organisation and individuals

Improving access to NMI’s capabilities and services for external users


Message from the CEO

In 2014 NMI celebrated ten years as a single organisation • greater engagement to maintain and enhance relevance
delivering the peak measurement infrastructure upon
• building new capabilities
which Australians rely. In fulfilling this role we respond to
Australia’s evolving measurement needs. We established • prioritising efforts
a national system of trade measurement and developed
new capabilities including nanoscale measurement and Organisationally, NMI will need to evolve to deliver our
DNA-based biological measurement and we ceased strategy. We are strengthening inter-disciplinary and
several activities that became routine or were delivered stakeholder-focused leadership and work programs and
by the private sector. Continuing this cycle of replacing our policy capabilities so that we can consistently assess
superseded capabilities with new is essential to our and contribute to issues. I am confident that the strategy’s
support for an innovative, prosperous and productive five themes, supported by this internal evolution, provide a
Australia. solid foundation for the provision of Australia’s measure-
ment needs well into the future.
Australia has strategic measurement needs that are met
by both NMI and private sector providers, and this mix is Part of this solid foundation is the Australian Government’s
evolving. Filling the ever-changing gap between Australia’s confidence that the governance arrangements best suit
needs and services available from the market is NMI’s key our national context. As we deliver on our strategy we
challenge. Future measurement needs are numerous and will consider the alignment of our varied functions with
diverse, and we work in a national and international those of other agencies and the capabilities of the private
environment of significant economic constraints. NMI sector. We will also support decision-making processes
cannot meet all these needs from its own resources; in and implement changes as necessary to deliver the best
addition to providing measurement services, scientific, outcome for Australia.
regulatory and policy advice we must also promote and
In undertaking all this, we will continue to uphold the
enable investment in measurement across key sectors of
values of the Australian Public Service, maintain our
the economy such as health and energy.
commitment to excellence, and invest in our staff to
In the current economic and social environment NMI must enhance the relevance of our measurement expertise. We
ensure that the regulations we administer impose minimal will continue to give work health and safety priority over all
burden on our stakeholders. We are supporting the other considerations.
Australian Government’s regulation reform agenda by
We have set ourselves challenging but achievable goals.
continually streamlining our regulations and their
Success will be denoted by the public awareness of the
administration. This involves a critical review and
significance of measurement, the value that the public
amendment of our regulatory framework that balances
places on our activities, and the trust that they have in our
risk against regulatory outcomes.
capabilities – in food testing, forensics, trade, nanoparticle
In this context, delivering integrated, inter-disciplinary measurement – to name but a few.
solutions to stakeholders is at the heart of our strategy for
I am confident that our strategy will deliver a dynamic and
the next four years and beyond.
flexible measurement infrastructure that underpins the
Our strategy comprises five key themes: economy and well-being of Australia.

• targeted market approach to sectors of the economy Dr Peter Fisk

Chief Executive and Chief Metrologist
• increasing policy influence
March 2015


National measurement infrastructure and practices stakeholders, particularly in solving multi-faceted,
everywhere are being challenged by rapid scientific and complex issues. Trusted, fit-for-purpose measurement
economic development, technological innovation, and can help improve productivity by maximizing production
new and unexpected applications of knowledge and line efficiency, reducing waste, pollution and energy use.
technologies. New measurement needs emerge while Measurement can assist in understanding biological
others decline or become accepted practice by industry. processes and contribute to better decision making on
These broader changes occur alongside contemporary potentially contentious economic activities. NMI will meet
domestic economic and policy imperatives such as the these challenges by providing relevant services and
emphasis on minimal and efficient regulation with solutions as well as by using our measurement expertise
significantly reduced cost burden. to inform contemporary government policy and provide
integrated, inter-disciplinary measurement responses.
Global approaches to measurement are essential for
trans-national trade and serve as a technical basis for By coordinating and fully utilising NMI’s in-house
solving major scientific, social and economic challenges. knowledge, expertise and strengths across measurement
Inter-governmental treaties that provide agreed disciplines, NMI will maximise the benefits it delivers to
frameworks for scientific and legal measurement Australia.
facilitate the realisation of outcomes from international
The following sections summarise our strategy and its
engagement on measurement.
implementation, providing a roadmap for delivering the
NMI recognises the need for new and innovative measurement needs of today and anticipating the
approaches to offer value-added services to our measurement needs of tomorrow.

Scientific/Technological Economic Growth

Developments Global measurement
New developments allow linkages support national
greater precision and economies and trans-
create new possibilities national trade.
for health, the environment
and energy.

Informing Government Knowledge Economy

Measurement informs Knowledge-based services
policy, improves economic facilitate innovation and
performance and supports provide solutions for society.
effective regulation that
underpins the integrity of trade
with reduced cost burden.


NMI will implement five strategies to deliver greater benefits from
measurement to the Australian economy.

Increase services to
sectors of the economy
including energy, health,
environment and food


Review activities and realign Contribute to government
priorities in response to policy and agenda;
available resourcing and simplify and consolidate
other challenges
Measurement policy, regulation
science and regulation
underpinning the
economy and well-
being of Australia


Increase engagement in Develop skills in project
order to promote greater management & collaboration
investment in and work in a more
measurement multi-disciplinary way

Market Approach
Focus on priority sectors of the economy where investment in measurement
can benefit industry, trade and government

Actions Goals during 2014 – 2018 Desired Outcomes

Energy sector: • Develop new calibration and testing services NMI will provide greater benefits from
Extend the range for electricity grids (e.g. fast transients, on-site measurement and has commenced
and delivery of high-current calibrations) engagement with key partners and
measurement in customers. NMI supports the
• Establish and promote the capability to
energy and economy and society:
calibrate natural gas meters used in pipelines
and the transport industry • with new measurements that will
increase transparency and trust
• Support natural gas export industry with
reference gas mixtures and flow calibration • with standards and regulations that
services and underpin the development of a facilitate functioning of the economy
high-flow, high-pressure calibration facility.
• by ensuring the energy and resources
industries have access to measurement
Environmental • Increase water and air testing (market infrastructure that aligns with industry
sector: uptake, method development) to support policies such as the Energy White Paper
Extend support for extraction of unconventional gas • by providing measurement activities
the measurement related to health.
• Broaden the scale of activity in emerging
of environmental
contaminants including persistent organic
pollutants to support regulatory frameworks
and consumer confidence.

Health sector: • Provide industry with quality benchmarks

Support the quality for pathology testing
of pathology services,
• Develop effective and practical test protocols
accuracy of medical
for medical measuring devices
measuring devices, and
effectiveness of new • Integrate best measurement practice into
medical technologies new medical technologies such as genetic
tests and nanomedicines.

Extend sector focus • Develop and implement food sector strategy

• Establish focus teams to scope measurement
needs in other economic sectors.

Analysing chemicals in
the environment
NMI has supported Australian industry actions regarding
environmental sustainability by responding to major oil
spill incidents, assessing historical industrial
contamination, and monitoring water quality during all
phases of the water cycle. The resources industry benefits
from a customer focussed analytical supplier, the
community benefits from a clean environment and the
regulators are assured that the results of testing are
accurate and come from an independent source.

Policy Influence
Strengthen measurement input into policy development

Actions Goals during 2014 – 2018 Desired Outcomes

Proactively identify • Align NMI priorities with government and NMI will promote the positive returns
opportunities to departmental objectives and externalities from increased
contribute expertise investment in measurement. NMI will
• Reduce regulatory burden
to government's endeavour to ensure that contemporary
policy agenda • Enhance policy contributions in key areas policy challenges are informed by
including energy, health, environment and measurement science and applications
food in areas including health, energy,
environment, transport, infrastructure
• Review international engagement to ensure
and food. Where trading partners’ policy
it meets industry objectives.
considerations determine a need for
regulation based on measurement,
NMI can assist with determining the
Simplify and • Engage with industry, advisory and
minimum levels needed for
consolidate consultative groups on regulatory framework
effectiveness. Measurement will
• Complete deregulation review and support a stronger, more productive and
implement changes. diverse economy with more innovation,
investment and jobs:
• Industry Policy: measurement can
assist industry productivity, growth,
trade and competitiveness
• Deregulation: measurement regulation
will only be applied and maintained
where it is necessary and where a net
benefit can be demonstrated. NMI will
administer regulations with common
sense, empathy and respect.

National Trade Measurement –

reducing costs to industry
On 1 July 2010, a new national system of trade
measurement was established under NMI’s administration.
Prior to 2010 trade measurement was administered by
States and Territories, meaning that Australian businesses
had to deal with up to eight different regulatory systems.

NMI brought Australia’s trade measurement regimes

together by creating one consistent and reliable national
system that better meets the needs of Australian business
and supports the international reputation of our exported

Greater Engagement
An effective market approach requires greater engagement to promote investment
in measurement

Actions Goals during 2014 – 2018 Desired Outcomes

Proactively enhance • Continue and expand engagement program NMI will engage with key issues
stakeholder to anticipate and respond to changing facing Australian industry, trade and
engagement and its stakeholder needs government, and promote investment
effectiveness in multi-disciplinary measurement
• Establish a broader NMI-wide business
development function and associated support. NMI will:
marketing • provide integrated advice and solve
• Set up advisory groups in particular sectors. complex measurement problems
Wind down or change membership of advisory requiring multiple measurement
groups when need is no longer present or has disciplines and multiple measurement
changed results
• Use integrated capabilities when we engage • effectively address today’s
with external stakeholders measurement needs and technologies,
and anticipate tomorrow’s challenges,
• Identify key external partners – both national so that measurement services align
and international – to develop coordinated with stakeholders’ needs
approaches and harness potential.
• increase customer satisfaction,
retention, and referrals, and reduce the
cost of doing business
• provide independent, clear advice to
align NMI services and activities with
industry needs.

Australian Illicit Drug Intelligence

Program (AIDIP)
In 2004 the government funded the Australian Federal
Police (AFP) to develop an illicit drug intelligence program.
NMI worked with AFP on the program and within three
years achieved such success that the project was
converted into core AFP business. Strategic intelligence
through chemistry has led to the disruption of drug
trafficking and the AIDIP is now one of the strongest
programs of its kind in the world, with NMI regarded as
a centre of excellence for illicit drug profiling.

Build Capability
Build multi-disciplinary skills and capabilities to produce
greater value to stakeholders

Actions Goals during 2014 – 2018 Desired Outcomes

Foster intra-and • Establish multidisciplinary teams to utilise We will continue to build and evolve
inter-organisational NMI-wide skills and include external parties capabilities to provide our stakeholders
engagement and where needed with the measurement services they will
collaboration need in the future.
• Promote collaboration and knowledge
sharing across the organization, and develop NMI is committed to:
supporting systems
• staff having a working knowledge of
• Grow project management skills to enhance skills beyond those needed for expertise
delivery of a suite of evolving services in their regulatory, technical or scientific
measurement areas
• Recruit for and develop existing multi-
disciplinary capabilities and soft skills of • increased information flow, improved
communications processes, employees doing their jobs
better, faster and less expensively, leading
to productivity increases and competitive
• equipping staff with business development
management and engagement skills
• planning, establishing project priorities,
and improving decision making, people
management skills and communication
skills with stakeholders.
Stakeholders will:
• have access to innovative, creative,
synergistic solutions and ideas that are
built on NMI’s diversity of experiences,
expertise and knowledge
• continue to regard NMI as a trusted
measurement partner

Enabling comparability of
genetic measurements
NMI's work in quantitative DNA measurement technologies
has provided the foundation to support the transition of
biomarker discoveries into validated genetic assays with
direct benefits for industry partners, researchers and
government stakeholders.

Applications of NMI's expertise in DNA measurement are

diverse, used to provide reference materials to detect toxic
algal blooms in water storages, validate diagnostic markers
for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, enable
implementation of the first test for gene doping detection in
NMI's Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory and prepare
verification standards for DNA measuring instruments.

Prioritise Effort
Review and re-prioritise our measurement science and services to maintain
on-going relevance and benefits to Australia

Actions Goals during 2014 – 2018 Desired Outcomes

Re-align current and • Establish external review panels, Technological changes together with
future capabilities systematically conduct reviews and stakeholder expectations and funding
with needs of implement findings pressures require us to review our
stakeholders and priorities and capabilities regularly.
• Identify, establish, and formalise networks
and partnerships in order to maximise the NMI will ensure that:
return from collaborations
• activities and measurement
• Respond to market and environmental capabilities are assessed for quality,
demands for new services benefit to Australia, potential impacts
and alternative delivery mechanisms
• Reflect the changing economy and manage
resources to meet new priorities. • our capacity to create and share
knowledge and develop solutions with
stakeholders is strengthened
• stakeholder input and consultation
contributes to prioritisation of activities
and helps maintain a focus on best
serving the various sectors of the

Measurement facilities for

Australia's future
Over the past ten years, the Australian Government has
invested in a suite of major new measurement facilities that
can meet Australia's needs.

With this support, NMI has moved all its chemical

analyses into modern state-of-the-art laboratories in Sydney,
Melbourne and Perth; established unique biotechnology and
nanotechnology capability at its Lindfield site; commissioned
a custom site at Londonderry for testing liquid hydrocarbon
flow and rolled out a nationwide presence to deliver
Australia's trade measurement system. NMI's facilities
position Australia to use and adapt leading-edge
measurement technologies for industry, regulation and


Strategic Action

• Energy sector: Extend the range and delivery of measurement in energy and resources

• Environmental sector: Extend support for the measurement of environmental


Market Approach
• Health sector: Support the quality of pathology services, accuracy of medical measuring
devices and effectiveness of new medical technologies

• Extend sector focus approach

• Proactively identify opportunities to contribute expertise to government's policy agenda

Policy Influence

• Simplify and consolidate measurement regulation

Greater Engagement • Proactively enhance stakeholder engagement and its effectiveness

Build Capability • Foster intra-and inter-organisational engagement and collaboration

Prioritise Effort • Re-align current and future capabilities with needs of stakeholders and customers

2014 – 15 2015 – 16 2016 – 17 2017 – 18

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Max Sig Sig Sig

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Max = maximum effort

BAU Max Sig Sig Sig = significant effort
BAU = business as usual

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