Reform of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989

What's new

New Road Vehicle Standards Legislation to move to next stage

On 16 May 2018 the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, announced that the Road Vehicle Standards Bills will be debated in the House of Representatives in coming weeks, following a report by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee recommending that the Bills be passed.

The Government will make refinements to the Rules to respond to feedback from Registered Automotive Workshops 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 importation of suitable used vehicles for the purposes of verifiable 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.

The refinements are available here.

Road Vehicle Standards Bills introduced to Parliament

On 7 February 2018, the Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, introduced the Road Vehicle Standards package of Bills into the House of Representatives. The Bills, and Explanatory Memorandum for each of the Bills, are available on the Parliament of Australia website:

7 February 2018, Media Release: Government moves to improve vehicle safety and better protect the community

Draft Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) has been released

The Australian Government released a draft Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS)DOCX: 213 KB PDF: 1054 KB ReadSpeaker outlining how it proposes to recover the costs of administering the proposed Road Vehicle Standards Act and related legislation for the information and consideration of all stakeholders. The draft CRIS outlines two cost recovery charging arrangements and proposed charges.

Submissions on the draft CRIS closed on 16 February 2018. The outcomes of this consultation process will inform the government's final decision on the fees and charges to apply under the proposed Road Vehicle Standards Act. The final fees and charges will be set out in subsidiary legislation, which cannot be made until after Parliament has passed the bills. Stakeholders should note that fees and charges will not change before 2019.

For questions regarding the CRIS, please email

Exposure Draft of the Road Vehicle Standards package of legislation

On 13 December 2017, the Government released exposure drafts of the Bills, which have since been introduced into Parliament. At that time, the Government also released an exposure draft of the Road Vehicle Standards Rules PDF: 891 KB ReadSpeaker (which will be made as regulations under the Road Vehicles Standards Act). The draft Rules will assist in the understanding of the overall legislative package.

This legislative package has been developed following extensive consultation with the motor vehicle industry, consumers and the wider community over the last four years.

This legislative framework is designed to deliver an updated and modernised system to regulate motor vehicles, in the interests of the automotive sector and consumers. The framework is designed to be flexible and adaptable, as continuing advances in technology are likely to bring substantial change to the automotive sector.

While the major strategic elements of the legislative package have been determined, there remains scope to finalise issues of detail. Since the release of the draft legislation in December 2017, the Government has been working with  the automotive sector and other stakeholders to finalise the detail.

The legislation was introduced into Parliament on 7 February 2018. The reforms will commence 12 months after the legislation receives Royal Assent.

The Road Vehicle Standards (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill provides a further 12-month transitional period after commencement to allow businesses to adapt to the new arrangements. During this transitional period some aspects of the current Motor Vehicle Standards Act will continue, particularly for full volume approval holders, Registered Automotive Workshops (RAWs) and Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles (SEVs).

Information Sheets have been prepared on each of the key changes.

The Australian Government welcomes stakeholder feedback through this process.

What are the reforms?

The Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (the Act) controls the safety, environmental and anti-theft performance of all vehicles entering the Australian market for the first time—both new and used.

The reform of the Act will reduce regulatory compliance costs to business by around $68 million a year and provide the Australian public with greater choice and confidence in the vehicle market. The reforms will improve access to specialist and enthusiast vehicles and ensure that Australia's vehicle fleet continues to offer world-leading standards in community and environmental safety.

Information sheets


2018 Public Consultation on the new Road Vehicle Standards legislation

The draft legislation was released for public information and comment on 13 December 2017. The Government conducted a formal consultation period, asking for written submissions to be provided by 16 February.

The Road Vehicle Standards Rules support the Bills and contain the detailed requirements and processes of the new legislation.

The exposure draft Rules are provided for the information of industry stakeholders, state and territory governments and the wider community.

The Rules consultation process closed on 16 February 2018. The Government is currently considering the submissions that were received.

All submissions received, excluding any confidential submissions, are included at the 2018 Public Consultations Submissions page.

As part of the consultation process, in late January and early February 2018 the Department held information sessions in major cities around Australia to brief industry and the community on the details of the Bills and draft Rules. The slide presentation used in the information sessions can be accessed here: Road Vehicle Standards Consultation Presentation PDF: 1673 KB ReadSpeaker.

Earlier consultations on MVSA between 2013–2017

Previous to the recent announcement, the Australian Government conducted a number of consultation sessions with key stakeholders to assist with the current package of legislation.

Further information

This webpage will be updated with additional information on the reforms to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 as it is made available.

Related links


Last Updated: 18 May, 2018