Consultation Begins on Exposure Draft Road Vehicle Standards Bills

14 December 2017

The Federal Government yesterday released a reform package, including bills designed to replace the existing Motor Vehicle Standards Act. The reform package will includes making the importation of used cars significantly less expensive and expanding existing motor vehicle recall obligations.

The Motor Vehicle Standards Act controls the safety, environmental and anti-theft performance of all vehicles entering the Australian market for the first time–both new and used.

The new bills – called the Road Vehicle Standards Bills – are set to come into effect from 2019 if passed as legislation.

The Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Mr Paul Fletcher, announced that the reforms represent the most important set of changes to the regulation of motor vehicles in near 30 years since the Motor Vehicle Standards Act was first introduced.

Among other things, the reforms are designed to:

  1. harmonise Australia’s vehicle standards with existing global standards;
  2. improve consumer access to imported specialist and high performance enthusiast vehicles;
  3. simplify the process for importing vehicles through the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS) and improve the quality assurance of those vehicles;
  4. streamline the supply of mainstream new vehicles;
  5. enhance the compliance and enforcement powers of the Government department overseeing the regulation of motor vehicles; and
  6. clarify suppliers’ recall responsibilities for all vehicles.

In particular, in relation to recalls, the new legislation will provide for both compulsory recalls of road vehicles for significant safety issues or standards non-compliance, or voluntary recalls. These reforms will mirror and extend the safety recall provisions in the Australian Consumer Law so that they also apply to vehicles not covered by the ACL, such as trucks, buses and large trailers.

As part of the reform package, the Federal Government has also amended the Customs Tariff Act to remove the $12,000 special duty on imported used vehicles, effective from 2018.

The Federal Government will introduce the Road Vehicle Standards Bill into Parliament in early 2018. Until then, industry stakeholder feedback on the exposure draft bills is welcome, and any submissions as part of an official consultation process in respect of the Road Vehicle Standard Rules (which accompany the bills) is open until 16 February 2018.

The full exposure draft and the accompanying information sheets can be viewed by clicking here.

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