Yes, they're not much fun, and I'm yet to meet someone who tells me they have a lovely home with an amazing Meterbox . However, without them your house is pretty much useless accept for shelter.
Which brings me to the point here, when do I have to upgrade it? Well, there's lot's of reasons as to why. Porcelain fuses, chipboard backing, even boxes that open vertically instead of horizontal. But that's only a Energex country in South East QLD for an example. Ergon, which is Western Queensland, has a totally different set of rules, which also vary from Northern NSW etc.
So, in short, every area has different rules. Crazy, yes, but it's the guidelines we have to work with.
Below is an example of a perfect, just-been-upgraded box, complete with the spinning meters still on top lol. If your box looks like this, you will be fine everywhere. If it does not, well, please make sure you have it in writing that it is up to standard and won't be your responsibility if it needs to be upgraded. You can be charged whatever the installer wants to add on to your price, and there's not a thing you can do about it as it's "sight unseen". Crazy, yes, but it's what we have to work with.