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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Standard time is used throughout Australia, it was introduced in the 1890s when all colonies adopted it. Before the switch to standard times, each local municipality was free to determine its own local time, called local mean time. Australia has three standard time zones from GMT: western (UTC+08), central (UTC+09:30) and eastern (UTC+10).[1] Most Australian external territories also observe different time zones.

The proper names of Australia's time zones vary. In international contexts they are often called Australian Western Standard Time (AWST), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), and Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). In domestic contexts the leading "Australian" is often dropped.

Western Australia uses Western Standard Time, South Australia and the Northern Territory use Central Standard Time. All other states and the Australian Capital Territory use Eastern Standard Time.

New South Wales (NSW), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Victoria (Vic), South Australia (SA), and Tasmania observe daylight saving time every year. Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory do not observe daylight saving.

Though the states and territories have power to legislate time variations, the standard time within each is set in relation to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), as determined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures and maintained under section 8AA of the National Measurement Act 1960 of the Commonwealth.


Time zones

Australian time zones during standard time

The standardization of time in Australia began in 1892, when surveyors from the Australian colonies gathered in Melbourne for the Intercolonial Conference of Surveyors. The delegates accepted the recommendation of the 1884 International Meridian Conference to adopt Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the basis for standard time, and in line with common practice in other parts of the world, devised a system of time zones with offsets in multiples of one hour from GMT. The colonies enacted legislation to this effect, which took effect in February 1895. Western Australia led GMT by 8 hours, South Australia by 9 hours, and Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania by 10 hours. The three time zones became known as Western, Central and Eastern Standard Time.

In May 1899, South Australia advanced Central Standard Time by thirty minutes. Attempts in 1986 and 1994 to revert or to add another thirty minutes failed[citation needed].

When the Northern Territory separated from South Australia, it retained Central Standard Time; likewise, when the Australian Capital Territory was created, it retained Eastern Standard Time.

Since then, the only major change has been the adoption of Central Standard Time in Broken Hill, New South Wales, and the use of GMT+10:30 on Lord Howe Island.

State legislation

In Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, the start and end dates of daylight-saving time are officially determined by proclamation, declaration or regulation made by the state governor or responsible minister. Such instruments may be valid for only the current year and so this section generally only refers to the legislation. In New South Wales and Western Australia, the start and end dates, if any, are fixed by legislation.

Western Standard Time (AWST) - UTC+8 hours

Central Standard Time (ACST)- UTC+9:30 hours

Eastern Standard Time (AEST) - UTC+10 hours


The town of Broken Hill (specified as Yancowinna County), in far-western New South Wales, follows South Australian time.

Residents of towns on the Eyre Highway (including Eucla, Caiguna, Madura, Mundrabilla and Border Village) in the south-east corner of Western Australia near the South Australian border do not follow official Western Australian time. Instead, they use what is unofficially known as Central Western Standard Time, which is halfway between Western and Central time--UTC+8:45. The area maintained its fixed offset from UTC when daylight-saving time was introduced in South Australia. During Western Australia's trial of daylight-saving time from 2006-2009 the Central Western area also set its clocks ahead an hour during local summer. The total population of the area is estimated at just 200.[12]

The Indian Pacific train has its own time zone - a so-called "train time" when travelling between Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta which was UTC+9 hours during November 2005 when daylight-saving time was observed in the east. This was because of the 2 1/2 hour difference in times between South Australia and Western Australia.

Some island resorts in north Queensland unofficially adopt daylight-saving time for their activities and events.

External territories

Australia's many external territories follow their own time zones.

Territory Standard DST
Heard and McDonald Islands UTC+05 no DST
Cocos (Keeling) Islands UTC+6:30 no DST
Christmas Island CXT UTC+07 no DST
Lord Howe Island UTC+10:30 half an hour
Norfolk Island NFT UTC+11:30 no DST
Australian Antarctic Territory - Mawson UTC+06 no DST
Australian Antarctic Territory - Davis UTC+07 no DST
Australian Antarctic Territory - Casey UTC+08 no DST

Daylight saving time

Australian time zones during daylight-saving time (from southern spring to southern autumn)

The choice to use daylight saving time (DST) or not is a matter for the individual states and territories. However during World War I and World War II all states and territories observed the practice of daylight saving. In 1968 Tasmania became the first state since the war to practise daylight saving.

New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia observe DST every year. This has resulted in three time zones becoming five during the daylight-saving period. South Australia time becomes UTC+10:30, called Central Summer Time (CST) or Central Daylight Time (CDT), possibly with "Australia" prefixed (ACST or ACDT). The time in the southeastern states become UTC+11, using "Eastern" in the time zone name rather than "Central", with the abbreviations being EST, EDT, AEST, or AEDT.

Officially, the change to and from DST takes place at 2:00 am local standard time (which is 3:00 am DST) on the appropriate Sunday.

Of the states that observe DST, most began on the last Sunday in October, and ended on the last Sunday in March, until 2008. Tasmania, owing to its further southern latitude) began DST earlier, on the first Sunday in October, and ended on the first Sunday of April.

On 12 April 2007, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory agreed to common starting and finishing dates for DST. From the 2008/09 period, the start of DST in these states and in South Australia commences on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April.[13]

Queensland (AEST), Northern Territory (ACST) and Western Australia (AWST) do not observe DST.

State/Territory Start of DST End of DST
Western Australia N/A N/A
South Australia first Sunday in October first Sunday in April
Northern Territory N/A N/A
Queensland N/A N/A
New South Wales first Sunday in October first Sunday in April
Australian Capital Territory first Sunday in October first Sunday in April
Victoria first Sunday in October first Sunday in April[14]
Tasmania first Sunday in October first Sunday in April

Debate over daylight-saving time - Trials and Referenda

Public opinion on daylight-saving time in Queensland is divided. People and businesses in the Queensland-New South Wales border area complain of the inconvenience caused by the difference in time at the border. Queensland and the Northern Territory have not adopted daylight saving because the seasonal differences in daylight become less pronounced as one moves closer to the equator. Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie claimed that daylight-saving time in Queensland would increase the rate of skin cancer in the state, a claim for which there is no evidence according to the Queensland Cancer Fund.[15]

Western Australia has had a particularly involved debate over daylight-saving time, with the issue being put to a plebiscite four times: in 1975, 1984, 1992, and 2009. All were defeated. Voters returned a "no" vote of 54.57% in 2009, the highest in all four plebiscites. Each referendum followed a trial period during which the state observed daylight saving time. The first three followed a one-year trial, while the 2006 Western Australian Daylight Saving Bill (No. 2) 2006 instituted a daylight-saving trial beginning on 3 December 2006 and lasting for three years.[16]

Special events

In 2000, all eastern jurisdictions that normally observe daylight-saving time — New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania — started daylight-saving time early, due to the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. These jurisdictions changed on 27 August 2000. South Australia did not change until the regular time, which that year was on 29 October.

In 2006, all states that followed daylight-saving time (the above listed states plus South Australia) delayed the return to their respective Standard Times by a week, due to the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Daylight-saving time ended on 2 April 2006.

Accuracy and standards

Although Australia has maintained a version of the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) atomic time scale since the 1990s, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) remained the formal basis for the standard times of all states until 2005. In November 2004, the state and territory attorneys-general endorsed a proposal from the Australian National Measurement Institute to adopt UTC as the standard of all Australian standard times, thereby eliminating the effects of slight variations in the Earth's rotation rate that are inherent to mean solar time. All states have adopted the UTC standard, commencing from 1 September 2005.

Rules relating to time

In most cases the time when something needs to be done is clear: standard times or the daylight-saving times set under state laws will operate.

The rule is that if something needs to be done by a particular time, it is for the person who is required to perform that act to have it completed by that time. For example, if a person making an offer (the "offeror") to, say, sell something and specifies a time by which this offer must be accepted, the person accepting the offer must convey that acceptance to the offeror where the offeror is located and at the time specified by the offeror, where the offeror is located. This has significance when the local time of the two parties is different.

As a general rule, the person required to perform an act (e.g. pay some money) must make sure that the act is performed by that time. If he cannot perform that act by that time because, say, the office where the money needs to be paid is closed because of a weekend or public holiday, then that person must perform that act before the office closes. This applies especially to government offices, which are open only during specified times.

It is also common to specify in contracts that if the time when an act needs to be performed falls on a weekend or a public holiday, then that act needs to be performed on the next business day, or sometimes on a business day before the weekend or public holiday. This provision is also the case in federal law under the Acts Interpretation Act (Cth.).

National times

However, there are situations where a nation-wide time operates. In the case of business activities a national time, in effect, operates. For example, a prospectus for the issue of shares in a company would usually set out the closing time for offers at some location (eg Sydney) as the time when offers must be received, irrespective of the source of the offer. Similarly, tenders usually set out the time at a particular location by which they must be received to be considered. Another example is the Australian Stock Exchange which, in effect, operates on AEST.

On the other hand, Commonwealth legislation yields to state-regulated standard times in many diverse situations. It yields, for example, in setting normal working times of Commonwealth employees, recognition of public holidays, etc. Significantly, it also relies on local time for federal elections, so that polling times in Western Australia close, in effect, two hours after those in the eastern states. Similarly, documents to be filed in a Federal Court may be filed based on local time; with the effect that if there was a failure to lodge a document on time in an eastern state, the document may still be lodged (within two hours) in Western Australia.

See also


  1. ^ Official government website[1]
  2. ^$FILE/Standard%20Time%20Act%202005.PDF
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Standard Time Act 1987 No 149)))
  8. ^
  9. ^$FILE/72-8297a012.pdf
  10. ^;cond=;doc_id=4%2B%2B1895%2BGS1%2FEN%2B20071102000000;histon=;prompt=;rec=;term=
  11. ^;cond=ALL;doc_id=77%2B%2B2007%2BAT%40EN%2B20090415050000;histon=;prompt=;rec=;term=
  12. ^ Border sign
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Daylight saving cancer claim disputed" (in English). The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 2006-10-24. Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  16. ^$File/Bill175-1B.pdf


External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

The cyan shade indicates states of Australia using GMT+10:00

Australian Eastern Standard Time


Australian Eastern Standard Time

  1. The timezone used in eastern Australia of GMT+10:00 comprised of 4 states. Queensland is the only state to remain constant through daylight savings time while the others transition to GMT+11:00.

See also

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