NATA celebrates World Metrology Day with ‘Why a second matters’ campaign

Media Releases May 18, 2023
NATA team

19th May, Sydney – The Rolling Stones were right, time really is on our side. Many of the things we take for granted every day perform without fail, because of our ability to measure time; from making mobile phone calls on the move, to the GPS tracking in our cars.

The technology keeping satellites in the sky and ensuring trades on our stock market are made accurately, are all thanks to efficient time keeping and the wider deployment of metrology, the science of measurement.

This World Metrology Day, the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), together with the National Measurement Institute (NMI) have released a campaign demonstrating ‘Why a second matters’. View here

It’s not just NATA that thinks this is important, the recent Federal Budget included a $63.9m allocation for NMI to continue operations essential for the economy and to reform Australia’s measurement legislation.

All Australians rely on measurement every day, whether at the supermarket, at the petrol station, or when making every second count. And NATA’s role is to make sure that the experts at NMI can ensure accurate measurements, including timekeeping using atomic clocks, while adhering to international standards.

The ‘Why a second matters’ video will run across our digital and social channels from 19th May.

Jennifer Evans, NATA CEO, said: “Metrology is vital to our growth and productivity, from ensuring we get a litre at the pumps, to ensuring the food we eat is safe. This World Metrology Day we’re celebrating the hidden role that organisations like NMI play in our lives. Measurement is integral to our economic success, as part of our hidden technical infrastructure in Australia, which explains why the Federal Government committed almost $64m in funding to NMI to expand the work it’s doing and modernise Australia’s measurement laws.”

NMI is one of NATA’s longest standing members, having recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of accreditation of its Port Melbourne laboratories.

Dr Michael Wouters, Leader, Standards in Time and Frequency at National Measurement Institute said: “A second matters because it is the definitive unit of time. It’s a feature of modern technological society that we need to start keeping time much more accurately and precisely. For mobile phone calls on the move, you need very good synchronisation between the base stations, so your call isn’t dropped when it’s handed over. For that to work properly, you have to have those base stations synchronised to a millionth of a second.

“Time & Frequency metrology is a very specialised field, with only three other experts in Australia. There’s no one else we can talk to if we want to discuss technical problems. The process NATA has for assessing our technical competence brings in experts from outside to look at what we do and to give us the assurance we’re doing it right. Accreditation is the assurance that what we claim is true,” Dr Wouters added.

NATA’s accreditation services have been servicing the best interests of Australians for more than 75 years, providing assurance of the competence of testing, calibration and inspection services that touch our daily lives. Described as one of “Australia’s best kept secrets,” NATA is the world’s oldest accreditation body and a not-for-profit helping deliver confidence and assurance for domestic and international products and services.