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NATA's position in the international arena

NATA's role is to provide accreditation to Australian organisations (conformity assessment bodies) that operate competently to agreed standards performing testing, measurement, examination, calibration and related activities. NATA accreditation provides assurance to the market that accredited organisations are worthy of confidence, and that the activities covered by accreditation can be accepted and need not be duplicated. Therefore, NATA accreditation provides the basis for the acceptance of products and services and supports the quality and competitiveness of Australian businesses and industry.

The international accreditation system strengthens international trade enabling Australian exports to be accepted world-wide and imports meeting Australian regulatory and technical specifications to be accepted in Australia. This infrastructure facilitates international acceptance of traded products and services.

The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC ) is the international organisation for accreditation bodies accrediting testing, calibration and medical (pathology) laboratories, inspection bodies, proficiency testing providers and reference materials producers.

One of the primary roles of ILAC is the maintenance of a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (ILAC MRA ) between member accreditation bodies, based on mutual evaluation and acceptance of each other’s accreditation systems. Signatory status to the ILAC MRA is based on a comprehensive peer review process confirming the accreditation body’s compliance with ISO/IEC17011 and relevant mandatory ILAC requirements, and its capability to deliver technically sound accreditation to its accredited conformity assessment bodies. The ILAC MRA therefore provides assurance of the capability of the operations of accredited conformity assessment bodies on a world-wide basis, which in turn underpins the mutual acceptance of reports and certificates that they issue.

NATA is one of around 100 accreditation bodies world-wide that are signatories to the ILAC MRA.

ILAC works in harmony with a number of Regional Cooperations, which in the Asia-Pacific region is the Asia-Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC ). ILAC also works closely with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF ), the international organisation for accreditation bodies accrediting certification bodies.

NATA is designated by the Commonwealth Government as Australia’s national compliance monitoring authority for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP).

NATA is also a Designating Authority for four of the six sectoral annexes to the European Community - Australian Government to Government MRA - electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), low voltage electrical equipment, machinery and pressure equipment. [Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is the Designating Authority for the other two annexes - medical devices and pharmaceuticals-GMP].

NATA actively participates in the work of ILAC, APLAC and the OECD GLP Working Group as it is essential that Australia has a strong voice in these international fora. Funding for this work is provided by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science through the Support for Industry Service Organisations (SISO) program.

Further information

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