The Senate passed the Bill on 27 Nov 2018, together with a package of supporting Bills that enable a smooth transition to the new Act, that will come into effect 12-months after Royal Assent. The new Road Vehicle Standards Act will change the way in which vehicles are approved for use on Australian roads. Under the current system people demonstrate that a vehicle complies with safety standards using the physical attachment of a compliance plate, but this legislation replaces that system by creating a register of approved vehicles that comply with Australian standards.
There will be two ways for a vehicle to make its way onto this register. The first, known as the type approval pathway, is for new vehicles being imported into this nation for sale. The vast majority of vehicles will enter the list via this route. The second, known as the concessional pathway, is aimed at a limited range of new and used vehicles which can be granted concessions on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. This pathway will apply to specialist and enthusiast vehicles, classic and vintage vehicles, and vehicles that have a special purpose that could not be fulfilled if they had to comply with Australian standards. This latter category might apply, for example, to emergency vehicles and cranes. The legislation creates the specialist and enthusiast vehicle register to ensure that motor enthusiasts seeking to import unusual vehicles can do so without breaching Australian vehicle standards.
A new feature of the system is that consumers will be able to search the online register of approved vehicles using their vehicle identification number, VIN, to confirm that vehicles they want to buy comply with the rules. The new legislation will also require manufacturers to introduce a secure identification-marking requirement for all new vehicles. This provision is designed to provide a deterrent to vehicle theft and rebirthing.
The package also gives the minister for transport the ability to issue a recall notice on any road vehicle or road vehicle component and lays out the framework for voluntary recalls.