Industry waits for Standards Bill details

Canberra pledges no used vehicle import lift in Road Vehicle Standards Bill

Industry waits for Standards Bill details
Parliament is set to discuss the new bill in coming weeks


The Bill that will replace Australia’s Motor Vehicle Standards Act will be debated in parliament in coming weeks, and industry groups are keen to see the detail of the regulations that will form part of it.

Urban infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher says the changes proposed in the Road Vehicle Standards Bill will help improve vehicle safety and expand consumer choice while reducing red tape.

But there will be limits to the amount of choice buyers are able to exercise, with Fletcher saying the government had ruled out any increase in the general importation of used vehicles – continuing a position it has held since 2014.

"This position… is based on potential safety concerns and difficulty in ascertaining the vehicle's provenance," Fletcher says.

The move comes after the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee recommends the Bill be passed, following a series of consultation workshops held around the country in January and February that reached over 340 stakeholders.

Feedback given during this process has led the government to consider making minor changes to the parameters defining a specialist or enthusiast vehicle – such as simplifying the power to weight performance threshold and providing more eligible vehicle variants.

It will also consider calls to permit low-volume imports of suitable used vehicles for the purposes of conversion to a campervan or mobile home, and the extent of customisation and modification allowable before a vehicle is provided to the market.

In a report, the committee says it notes public concerns expressed by some submitters about the regulatory framework for concessional vehicle imports, which it sayswould be set out in delegated legislation.

"However, it appreciates that the government is working to refine the details of the Rules and subsequent technical and administrative arrangements provided for by the bills, and will continue to consult with stakeholders throughout this process," it says.

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) policy and government relations manager Greg Forbes says he is also keen to see the detail of the new regulations that will come alongside the bill when it is introduced.

Forbes said earlier this year  that some of the changes proposed under the law changes would create gaps in existing legislation coverage, making them unworkable for people in the industry.

He tells ATN the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (DIRDAC) is currently consulting with industry about what will be needed in future regulations.

"We are pleased the government has recognised that the allowable customisation and modification of vehicles before they are provided to market is an important issue, and we look forward to working with DIRDAC in coming up with a workable solution," he says.

"We would have some concern about the arrangements for importation of left hand drive heavy vehicles, but we are keen to discuss the details of what is proposed."


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