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Imported disability vehicles are now subject to updated rules ensuring that safety considerations are regulated to comply with Australian standards.  Changes have commenced to progressively roll out improvements as part of the new Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation.

ATSA pressed the need for the application of Australian Standards for all imported disability vehicles early in 2018 through several submissions, to the Inquiry into the Road Vehicle Standards Bill 2018 and related bills. The problem was that importers of modified disability vehicles wanted an exemption to “Australian Safety Standards”, yet local vehicle builders/modifiers were required to comply with existing local standards.

ATSA’s main recommendation was:

ATSA does not believe that the intention of the legislation is to trade off safety for profit and recommends that Australian Standards are applied to all imported disability vehicles to ensure only safe product is sold into the Australian market.

After several years of hard work and representation by ATSA, new legislation has now been implemented, requiring all disability vehicles purchased in recent times, and into the future, will need to be compliant with Australian Standards. This is a great win for all who use these vehicles, recognising the need for equality under the law and ensuring that the personal safety of assistive technology users is protected as being as important as all other consumers in the broader community.

Road Vehicles Standards Australia (RVSA) Implementation: Commencement of Testing Facility Approvals provisions commenced on 6 May 2020 that implement these changes.

Details can be found in the Interim arrangements guidance document, relating to specialist and enthusiast vehicles listed page 95, 96, 97, 98, 99.

The Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation is replacing the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA) as part of a phased transition over the coming months.

In order to facilitate a smooth transition to the commencement of the first phase of the RVS legislation, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (“the department”) conducted a targeted prototype trial in March of the testing facilities module of ROVER (the department’s new IT system that will support applications under the RVS legislation).

Following this successful prototype trial, the Deputy Prime Minister has made the necessary legislative instrument to enable the relevant provisions of the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation to commence – this instrument is available on the Federal Register of Legislation.

We are therefore pleased to confirm that applications for testing facility approvals under the RVS legislation opened from Wednesday 6 May 2020.

The aim is for a gradual progressive rollout, with further improvements slated for introduction in the coming months. 

It is important to note that, if a test facility has prepared test reports while registered in the department’s Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS), those reports will  continue to be used to demonstrate compliance with applicable standards provided that the test facility applies for, and is granted, a testing facility approval under the RVS legislation.

Test reports from testing facilities that have been approved under the new RVS legislation will not be required until component type approval applications open in the 3rd quarter of 2020 (anticipated commencement date).