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New laws to improve vehicle safety and cut red tape

A new law is on the way which will help maintain and improve vehicle safety while expanding consumer choice and reducing red tape across Australia.

The proposed legislation, the Road Vehicle Standards Bills, will be debated in the House of Representatives in coming weeks, says Paul Fletcher, infrastructure and cities minister.

It follows a report by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee recommending that the Bills be passed.

Mr Fletcher says this legislative package is the most important set of changes to the Australian Government’s regulation of motor vehicles in almost three decades, replacing the existing Motor Vehicle Standards Act.

The Turnbull Government released exposure drafts of the legislation, including the supporting Rules, in December last year.

More than 340 stakeholders participated in consultation workshops around the country during January and February, and the Government received 85 formal submissions.

The government will make minor refinements to the Rules to respond to feedback during the consultation process, including:

  • the need for the Rules to more clearly define a vehicle variant and the extent of customisation and modification allowable before a vehicle is provided to the market
  • calls from the Registered Automotive Workshops to permit low volume imports of suitable used vehicles for the purposes of conversion to a campervan or mobile home
  • refinements to the parameters defining a specialist and enthusiast vehicle, such as simplifying the power to weight performance threshold, providing more eligible vehicle variants, and allowing for the continued importation of enthusiast left hand drive heavy vehicles.

“While these changes will provide additional choice to those wishing to purchase a specialist or enthusiast vehicle, we have ruled out any increase in the general importation of used vehicles,’’ Mr Fletcher said.

“This position, which was clearly stated in the Turnbull Government’s response to the recommendations of both the Productivity Commission in 2014 and the Harper Competition Review in 2015, is based on potential safety concerns and difficulty in ascertaining the vehicle’s provenance.’’

Details on the refinements to be made to the draft Rules following public consultation can be found at infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/mv_standards_act/

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