Light trailers

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Background

The regulation of road vehicles is an important part of the Australian Government's ability to ensure Australians are provided with safe, secure and environmentally-friendly vehicles.

The Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) is replacing the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA) and is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (the department).

The detail of how the new regulatory framework will operate is contained in subsidiary legislation, the Road Vehicle Standards Rules 2019 (the Rules). The RVSA and other related legislation is referred to collectively as the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation.

Light trailer manufacturers and importers will need to prepare for important legislative changes that will govern the way they operate in the future.

What is changing for the light trailer industry?

Under the RVS legislation, manufacturers and importers of light trailers, including caravans, with an aggregate trailer mass (ATM) of 4.5 tonnes or less will need to seek an approval (a vehicle type approval or concessional Register of Approved Vehicles entry approval) before providing these light trailer vehicle types to the Australian market.

Under the MVSA, trailer manufacturers have been able to self-certify a trailer as compliant with the guidance contained in the Vehicle Standards Bulletin 1 (VSB1—Building Small Trailers). The declaration of this compliance is on the identification plate affixed to the trailer, with no notification to the department required.

Under the RVS legislation, light trailer manufacturers supplying more than 4 vehicles to the Australian market in a 12-month period will need to obtain a vehicle type approval for that type of light trailer.

Every road vehicle, including trailers, will need to have certain vehicle and compliance information listed on an online database known as the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) before they may be provided to consumers for the first time in Australia.

There are two approval pathways to cater for different types of light trailer manufacturers and importers:

  • type approval, and
  • concessional RAV entry approval.

The two pathways have different eligibility criteria to be granted an approval and conditions of approval, if granted.

The vehicle standards for light trailers remain the applicable Australian Design Rules (ADRs).

VSB 1 provides easy-to-read information about the ADR requirements for most common light trailers, summarising the most common ways to demonstrate compliance. Some manufacturers may need to refer directly to the ADRs to confirm compliance.

Vehicle type approvals

A vehicle type approval covers a make of light trailer and a trailer category, which may include any number of models that meet the definition of a light trailer with a vehicle category code of TA, TB or TC.

A vehicle type approval application will require a declaration by the applicant that light trailers provided under the approval, if granted, will comply (or substantially comply) with the applicable national road vehicle standards.

Concessional arrangements (4 trailers or less in a 12-month period)

Manufacturers or importers may apply for a concessional RAV entry approval for 4 light trailers or less in a 12-month period. These vehicles will be entered onto the RAV, on behalf of an approval holder, on a vehicle by vehicle basis.

Applications for concessional RAV entry approval will include a signed declaration that the light trailer complies (or will comply) with the applicable national road vehicle standards at the time the vehicle is entered onto the RAV.

Eligibility requirements for a vehicle type approval

The Secretary (who is authorised under RVS legislation to, amongst other things, grant or refuse to grant a vehicle type approval) needs to be satisfied that the applicant:

  • has the required information to demonstrate that the road vehicle complies with the applicable national road vehicle standards (in rare cases, non-compliance will be permitted provided that the non-compliance is only in minor and inconsequential respects or the vehicle complies to an extent that makes it suitable for use on a public road in Australia e.g., glider trailers with respect to rear overhang), AND
  • has control or has access to information about the design, componentry and manufacturing process of the road vehicle type, including changes that may impact compliance with the applicable national road vehicle standards, AND
  • can ensure the design, componentry and manufacturing process will consistently produce the type of road vehicle, AND
  • can arrange for the Secretary or an inspector to inspect the premises where the road vehicle or componentry for the road vehicle is manufactured, AND
  • can access and provide original and subsequent versions of supporting information, AND
  • can ensure the supporting information for the approval is kept up-to-date, AND
  • will comply with each of the standard and specified conditions that the vehicle type approval will be subject to.

Transitional arrangements

The commencement date of the RVS legislation will be a date to be fixed by Proclamation, but no later than 1 July 2021. Please keep checking our Road Vehicle Standards legislation implementation webpage for updates.

When the RVS legislation commences, there will be a 12-month transitional period where some MVSA arrangements may continue in parallel to the RVSA.

How do I apply?

The department uses an online IT service, ROVER, which integrates all RVS legislation activities and approvals.

To apply for a vehicle type approval under the RVS legislation, you must create an account in ROVER and complete an online application form providing all of the required information, documents and declaration so that your application can be assessed.

Complying with your responsibilities

The department monitors and enforces compliance with the RVS legislation.

The department aims to encourage voluntary compliance, and undertakes informed risk-based compliance activities to confirm compliance with the RVS legislation.

More information

More detailed information will be available soon in the Guide to vehicle type approvals for light trailers.

If you have an enquiry, please contact us:

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Last Updated: 27 November, 2020