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Australian Made? Maybe not…

Posted Tue, April 30th 2013 / / No comments

Australian Made? Maybe not…

Many companies love to tell you things like, "100% Australian owned and operated" and "100% Australian Made", but how true are these claims? There are some companies in Australia that dubiously claim to supply "Australian made blood alcohol test equipment" when nearly all of their product components are made in foreign countries. The question is, if the end product is only assembled in Australia, is it really Australian Made?

According to the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) 'made in' means that the product was made (not just packed) in the country claimed and at least 50 per cent of the cost to produce the product was incurred in that country.

For example

If ‘Made in Australia’ appears on your breathalyser packaging, this could mean only 51% of the cost of making the breathaliser was incurred in Australia. 

The Australian Consumer Law (and hence the ACCC) require that a product be ‘substantially transformed’ in Australia as well as meeting the 51% local cost criterion.

‘Substantial transformation’ is more than simply assembling parts made overseas and this is made clear in the ACCC guidelines. However it does not preclude the use of imported components. Many of the components used in electronic products are unfortunately no longer manufactured in Australia.

Whether or not a product is substantially transformed in Australia depends on the processes undertaken by the Australian manufacturer. Processes which might contribute to substantial transformation might include:

• fabrication processes: casting, moulding, extrusion, machining, cutting to size, forming to shape, notching, piercing, hardening
• surface treatment: porcelain enamelling, powder coating, painting, plating, anodising, metallising
• insulating processes: application of electrical insulating materials by dipping, extrusion, encapsulation, powder filling and sealing, foam in situ thermal insulation, bonding sound or thermal insulation
• welding, bonding and sealing: electric arc or resistance welding, oxy welding, soldering, ultrasonic and fusion welding, stapling, staking, crimping, stitching, adhesive bonding, sealing, encapsulation.

Processes such as inspection, testing, simple assembly and packaging do not constitute substantial transformation.

Click here for a copy of the ACCC guidelines on country of origin claims for electrical products.


Ensure you ask your supplier to tell you the real country of origin of your breathalyser product and whether it has been substantially transformed in Australia. Penalties apply for the supplier If you are mislead or they make false claims.

(Published with thanks to Lisa Crowe, Administration and Compliance Manager, Australian Made Campaign Ltd)




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