Motorsport and motoring enthusiasts
This chapter explores the role of motorsport and motoring enthusiasts to
the Australian automotive industry and examines specific barriers to the
expansion of these activities.
Importance of motorsport and motoring enthusiasts
Motorsport and motoring enthusiast activities are a significant and
growing part of the Australian automotive industry and the economy more broadly.
Motorsport is deeply embedded in Australian culture and it adds to community
cohesion and development. The Confederation of Australia Motorsport (CAMS)
submitted that motorsport is the fourth most watched sport in Australia behind
Australian Rules football, horse racing and rugby league.
In 2013, motorsport in Australia generated $2.7 billion in direct
industry output, $1.2 billion in value add, and over 16,000 jobs. Each
participant spends, on average, around $60,000 on motorsport vehicle purchases
and modifications, and a further $13,000 a year participating.
Motoring enthusiasts are also strong supporters of the automotive aftermarket
and the products and services it provides. According to the Motoring Advisory
Australia continues to create people that possess the passion
and enthusiasm for automotive products. It is crucial that the automotive
market keeps a foot hold within the Australian economy by building on what we
do well now and looking forward to developing technologies of the future.
As a significant contributor to the economy, the motorsport and motoring
enthusiast activities provides an opportunity for further growth and
development. In particular, motorsport is an established platform for
innovation, creativity, design and niche manufacturing.
Challenges facing the expansion of this sector
The issues that affect the motorsport and motoring enthusiast sectors
cut across many parts of the automotive industry, including infrastructure, manufacturing,
retailing and regulation. There are also considerable linkages between these
sectors and the automotive aftermarket which can work together to retain skills
and jobs in Australia.
Investment in motorsport
In many respects, there is the potential for Australia to become a
motorsport leader in the Asia-Pacific region given the experience and talent
that exists here.
One of the major constraints to the expansion of the motorsport industry
is access to facilities. The Confederation of Australia Motorsport (CAMS) faces
difficulty getting access to tracks as around 95 per cent are owned
by private operators and it costs $10,000 to get a track to do a come‑and‑try‑day.
According to Mr Eugene Arocca, Chief Executive of CAMS:
We really suffer immeasurably from a lack of infrastructure.
And the flow on benefits from having accessible infrastructure are
...if you build more tracks, you get more participation and
when you get more participation, you get more economic activity...What we really
do need is a knock‑your‑socks‑off track with a fantastic
industry park next to it, and you will have everyone from car manufacturers to
overseas participants wanting to use that area or use that experience.
CAMS has proposed a Motorsport Centre of Excellence (the Centre) to
develop and train new and emerging driving and engineering talent. The Centre
would ideally be based at one of the major existing permanent race track
facilities and offer high quality training and development opportunities to
expand the number of junior participants. It could also provide courses in the
management of motor sport events and training for officials and participants.
With an established track record, the Centre could also be used to offer
motorsport education, training and innovations to international visitors.
Mr Arocca highlighted the parallel between this proposal and the Silverstone
Right next to the Silverstone track in the United Kingdom is
a fantastic, innovative engineering and motorsport development park...We invite
the committee to look at the opportunities that might exist in Australia in a
regional area where we could create a track, build into that an industry
element which would be supported by the aftermarket industry, the automotive
industry and the motorsport industry.
The committee recognises the important role that motorsport plays in the
broader automotive industry and supports, in principle, the industry's efforts
to increase participation by developing more facilities and a Motorsport Centre
Importation of specialist and
The Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme (SEVS) enables the
importation of makes and models, both new and used, into Australia providing
they have not already been sold domestically as new cars in full volume. SEVS
has been operating for over a decade and, according to the Auto Services Group:
..for the most part, has successfully enabled enthusiasts to
access rare and unusual vehicles through networks operating outside the
Diversity is the cornerstone of the enthusiast community and a
well-functioning SEVS is an important mechanism for achieving this diversity.
Vehicles imported through SEVS must be made compliant with Australian
Design Rules relevant to the year of manufacture. This work is completed by a
Registered Automotive Workshop (RAW). Due to restrictions on the vehicle
eligibility of SEVS as well as limits on the number of vehicles each RAW can
comply each year, the total number of vehicles imported through SEVS represents
less than one per cent of new vehicle sales.
There are concerns about the long term viability of SEVS and the
businesses that import vehicles through this scheme. Auto Services Group
Of the approximately 800 models currently listed on the SEVS eligibility
register, less than 25 per cent of them are being regularly imported for sale
in Australia. Lack of supply and the expense and time‑consuming testing
procedures required to comply new models are the most common complaints from
the importing industry. Compounding the problem, new vehicle distributors have
become more adept at putting certain models onto the market in a manner that
prevents them from becoming eligible for import via SEVS.
The Motoring Advisory Council (MAC) and the Auto Services Group
submitted that SEVS cannot be sustained in its current form.
Auto Services Group proposed a number of actions which could potentially
improve the sustainability of the scheme:
increase the number of vehicles each Registered Automotive
Workshop can comply in any 12‑month period;
variants not sold in Australia should be considered for
eligibility (providing it meets SEVS criteria), even if the model is already
sold here in full volume;
the current pre‑1989 rule is changed to a 25‑year
rule with a rolling date;
vehicle manufacturers have 6 months, instead of the current 18
months, from overseas release to commence an Australian delivery of new models,
or these models become eligible for importation through SEVS;
testing procedures for eligible models be drastically reduced to
cut red tape—compliance requirements to be determined by age and country of
first sale rather than model‑by‑model;
SEVS criteria revised and refined to reflect current trends and
changing societal expectations;
SEVS eligibility determined by an industry‑panel rather
than a Minister's delegate having sole authority; and
all SEVS‑complied vehicles inspected by a third‑party
body (with the cost borne by the importer) prior to registration to ensure the
integrity of the system, rather than the current practice of random audits by
A review of SEVS was proposed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive
Industries in its response to the Review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act
1989 with an aim to develop appropriate entry criteria to meet the
intention of SEVS.
Given that the committee does not support the relaxation of parallel
vehicle imports, it considers that there is a case for SEVS to be independently
The committee recommends that the government undertake an independent
review of the Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme (SEVS) to ensure that:
the scheme is meeting its stated objectives;
the eligibility criteria for importation are appropriate; and,
the compliance and monitoring processes do not undermine the
integrity of the scheme.
National harmonisation of vehicle
A number of stakeholders were concerned that differences between
jurisdictions in relation to the regulation and enforcement of vehicle
standards were frustrating for motoring enthusiasts and detrimental to parts of
the automotive manufacturing industry. For example, the MAC contended that:
With sensible reform, the unrealised potential of the
aftermarket and motor sport industries is simply staggering. The full growth
potential both domestically and internationally within niche markets can be
unlocked with sensible nationally consistent regulatory reform.
Regulatory restrictions on the ability of motoring enthusiasts to modify
vehicles are limiting the potential of the industry significantly. State based
inconsistency and enforcement around modifications creates layers of confusing
red tape and paperwork.
Issues also arise with the legality of modifications when enthusiasts
travel interstate where there are different regulations. The MAC's view is
It is lunacy that an Australian vehicle owner can drive a
legally certified vehicle in their home state, but then be deemed defective in
These cross border issues are exacerbated when inspections of, and
judgements about, vehicles are generally undertaken by people with insufficient
training with respect to rules surrounding vehicle modifications.
Mr Peter Styles, Chairman of the MAC, described the situation faced by many
At the moment, the state based inconsistencies and the layers
of regulations created in every state are too hard for the community and the
industry to bear...you pass from one state into the next, and your control
measures and your guidance change. They are the same ADRs but are interpreted
differently by the states. How can business deliver products and models that
are economically viable when they cannot even sell to the neighbouring state or
the person driving the vehicle may not be able to drive it into the next state?
Mr Styles went on to provide an example of a Sydney‑based company
that manufactures a muffler system that enables the user to vary the noise
associated with the exhaust. The technology was subsequently banned by
regulators in some states despite similar technology being allowed on certain
The MAC offered a regulatory and compliance solution to improve national
consistency based on existing frameworks.
The National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and
Modification (VSB14) is considered by the MAC to be a 'fair, effective,
transparent and easy to follow mechanism for determining the requirements of
vehicle modification'. As it is only a model law, however, states have chosen
to put their own layers of regulation on top or not apply it at all. The MAC believes
that if VSB14 was adopted consistently by all states and territories, there
would be significant compliance cost savings.
The Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme (VSCCS) is used in
New South Wales and allows a licensed certifier to assess vehicles and
modifications in specific licence categories.
The MAC contended that the VSCCS model reduces the regulatory code from state
and territory road authorities and enables governments to reallocate and
strengthen compliance operations.
The MAC considered that harmonising regulations through incorporating
VSB14 into the National Road Safety Strategy and the Motor Vehicle Standards
Act, and adopting a measured approach to certification nationally, based on the
VSCCS, would reduce compliance costs and deliver significant efficiencies and
effectiveness in the enforcement sphere. In addition, it is proposed that this
approach be applied to personal imports with modifications, thus offering
further opportunities to cut unnecessary red tape burdens.
In summarising the benefits of harmonisation, the MAC contended that:
For state and territory governments, this presents an
opportunity to realign resources by implementing better systems that harmonise
with personal imports an engineer certified modifications to assure regular
checks for vehicle safety occur.
More broadly, Mr Robert Bryden outlined how relaxing regulations could
benefit the wider industry:
Encouraging the growth of the aftermarket industry in
Australia will occur with the removal of ADR [Australian Design Rules]
impediments and also through the adoption of inexpensive Certification
procedures and National Regulation, removing the anti‑industry discretion
used by Registration Authorities and Police in some jurisdictions.
The committee recognises that there may be potential benefits from
harmonising vehicle modification regulations between states and adopting a
national approach to compliance and enforcement by people who are appropriately
qualified. Recognising that these are predominantly state issues, however, it
is probably an issue more appropriately pursued through the Council of
The committee recommends that the government, through the Council of
Australian Governments, pursue reform options to harmonise vehicle modification
regulations and adopt a consistent national approach to compliance and
enforcement with vehicle regulations. A critical part of this work will be the
harmonisation of emerging federal, state and territory legislation and
regulations designed to deal with the arrival of autonomous vehicles and
Senator Chris Ketter
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page