The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement

The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) was agreed in 1996 and came into force on 1 May 1998.

The TTMRA is a non-treaty agreement between the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments and the Government of New Zealand, under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.

The TTMRA builds on, and is a natural extension of, the 1992 Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the Commonwealth Government and the State and Territory Governments. The Commonwealth legislation implementing the domestic MRA, the Mutual Recognition Act 1992, entered into force in 1993. At the time of signing the domestic MRA, the parties agreed to examine the potential benefits of participation by New Zealand in a scheme covering mutual recognition principles.

Under the TTMRA, with a few exceptions:

  • a good that may be legally sold in Australia may be sold in New Zealand, and a good that may be legally sold in New Zealand may be sold in Australia. This is regardless of differences in standards or other sale-related regulatory requirements between Australia and New Zealand; and
  • a person registered to practise an occupation in Australia is entitled to practise an equivalent occupation in New Zealand, and vice versa, without the need for further testing or examination.

The TTMRA incorporates a Temporary Exemption mechanism giving participating jurisdictions the right to ban unilaterally, for 12 months, the sale of goods in their jurisdiction for health, safety or environmental reasons. Before the Temporary Exemption expires, the COAG Council responsible for the affected good is required to determine whether a particular standard should apply to the good, and if so, the appropriate standard.