FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Filter by

Date

Syndication

Tag cloud

Road Vehicle Standards Legislation Amendment Bill 2019


The Australian Government introduced the Road Vehicle Standards Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (the Bill) into the Senate on 4 July 2019. The Bill seeks to amend both the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (the Road Vehicle Standards Act) and Road Vehicle Standards (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2018 (the Consequential and Transitional Provisions Act) to allow for further time before the substantive provisions of the new road vehicles legislative scheme, as set out in the Road Vehicle Standards Act, comes into effect. The Explanatory Memorandum notes that the Bill will allow for a smoother transition for both industry and government to the new regime.

The industry peak body, Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), has reportedly welcomed the intended implementation delay. HVIA had reportedly expressed concerns ‘about the amount of work required by both industry and government to implement the legislation within the allocated timeline’.

Background

The Road Vehicle Standards Act and associated legislation (including the Consequential and Transitional Provisions Act)  received Royal Assent on 10 December 2018, with the commencement of its substantive provisions to occur one year after that (a detailed analysis of the Road Vehicle Standards Bill 2018 and associated Bills as introduced into Parliament is set out in the relevant Parliamentary Library Bills Digest). The purpose of the Road Vehicle Standards Act is to create a new framework to regulate the importation and supply to market of road vehicles as well as the provision of some road vehicle components. It also provides the power to recall non-compliant vehicles. This new legislative scheme will replace the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (Motor Vehicle Standards Act). The new legislative framework was introduced after numerous reviews to determine if the then nearly three decades old Motor Vehicle Standards Act was still operating effectively, given the changes that have occurred over its lifetime (such as technological changes and the rise in the number of road vehicles).

The key elements of the Road Vehicle Standards Act are:

  • enabling national road vehicle standards to be set for both road vehicles and their components, including environmental, safety and anti-theft standards (only vehicles meeting these standards will be allowed to be imported into Australia, except for some limited exceptions)
  • creating a new register, called the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV), onto which, generally, road vehicles must be entered before they enter the Australian market (this will be the main entry pathway for vehicles) and
  • establishing a framework for recalling unsafe and/or noncompliant road vehicles or components.

The Bill does not make any changes to these reforms.  

Provisions of the Bill

The Bill will commence the day after receiving Royal Assent.

Substantive provisions

Items 1–7 of Schedule 1 to the Bill amend the commencement information table in subsection 2(1) of the Road Vehicle Standards Act. These items  change commencement dates of sections in the Road Vehicle Standards Act from 12 months after the Road Vehicle Standards Act received Royal Assent (i.e. 10 December 2019) to a single day to be fixed by Proclamation or 1 July 2021 if the provisions have not commenced before then. This change in commencement date applies to the following sections:

Item number of Schedule 1 to the Bill

Section(s) of the Road Vehicle Standards Act to be amended

Topic of sections

1

15–18

Entry of vehicles on to the RAV and creation of related offences and civil penalty provisions

2

22

Importation of vehicles into Australia, including creation of an offence and civil penalty provision if importation occurs without approval

3

24

Creation of offence and civil penalty provision if vehicle provided for first time in Australia is not on the RAV

4

26

Creation of offence and civil penalty provision for unpermitted premarket modifications after the vehicle is entered on the RAV

5

29

Creation of offence and civil penalty provision for breach of a condition of approval in relation to export or destruction of a road vehicle

6

38–47

Recalls of road vehicles and components

7

75–78

Miscellaneous matters including requirements relating authority to take delivery of imported vehicles, application of the Australian consumer law and how the Road Vehicle Standards Act interacts with state and territory laws

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This means that, rather than coming into effect on 10 December 2019, the above sections and thus the full operation of the new Road Vehicle Standards legislative scheme, could be delayed from coming into effect until 1 July 2021 (although the commencement date could be earlier if so fixed by Proclamation). In his second reading speech, Senator Duniam outlined the Government’s policy rationale for this delay in commencement:

Full commencement will be postponed until a date that will be agreed with industry stakeholders, but no later than 1 July 2021.

The Bill will provide more time for the Government, and for manufacturers, importers and in-service regulators of vehicles to prepare to transition to the new arrangements under the Road Vehicle Standards legislation, which replaces the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

The Road Vehicle Standards legislation is the most important and extensive set of changes to the Government's regulation of road vehicles in almost three decades. The reforms affect every aspect of existing practice. More time is needed for all affected parties to ensure the smooth implementation of the reforms and avoid needless disadvantage to Australian businesses in transitioning to the new legislative arrangements.

Item 9 of Schedule 1 amends Subitem 1(1) of Schedule 1 of the Consequential and Transitional Provisions Act to allow the transitional arrangements for road vehicle standards in this Schedule to continue to the day before section 15 of the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 commences. The transitional arrangements are currently scheduled to conclude in December 2019, which will likely be before the new legislative regime actually commences. Schedule 1 of the Consequential and Transitional Provisions Act, which is already in effect, provides that the road vehicle standards in force under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act are taken to be in force under section 12 of the Road Vehicle Standards Act.

Tags: transport
Top