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Compliance and enforcement under the RVSA

About compliance and enforcement under the RVSA

The department is responsible for supporting the safety, environmental and anti-theft performance of all road vehicles being provided to the Australian market for the first time. To achieve this outcome, the department's Vehicle Safety Operations (VSO) branch takes a risk-based approach to the management of compliance with the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA), the Road Vehicle Standards Rules 2019 (RVSR), and the Australian Design Rules (ADRs).

The RVSA has been introduced to reflect Australia's current automotive landscape, which has substantially changed since the prior legislation the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA), was introduced and significantly influences how vehicles are now being imported and provided for the first time to the Australian market.

At a high-level, the RVSA supports voluntary compliance by linking current industry practices to clear, relevant and objective legislative criteria for importing and providing road vehicles to the Australian market.

A risk-based approach to the management of compliance aims to deliver better regulatory outcomes, while minimising the regulatory burden on low-risk regulated areas or entities.

The implementation of an effective risk-based approach results in, but is not limited to:

  • a flexible, yet consistent approach to the monitoring and management of compliance
  • the efficient and effective allocation of resources proportionate to the identified risk
  • direction of the ‘cost’ of compliance and enforcement activities to higher-risk areas or entities
  • lower-risk entities being subject to a lighter touch compliance approach (not no touch), with any intervention designed to provide an incentive to voluntarily comply with obligations
  • higher-risk entities being subject to greater regulatory scrutiny and intervention
  • proportionate responses to non-compliance
  • flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances – this is where VSO regulatory strategies, compliance activities and responses are adjusted to reflect changing priorities resulting from new or evolving risks, changes in stakeholder expectations, or the behaviour and motivations of regulated entities.

Our compliance approach

Our compliance approach and model document can be found at the below link. The document provides information on how we will conduct our compliance and enforcement work over the 12-month transitional period, following commencement of the RVSA on 1 July 2021.

The compliance model does the following things:

  • reflects our approach to regulating, particularly in the transitional 12-month period
  • sets out an escalating compliance response to escalating risk and non-compliant behaviours
  • shows the relationship between non-compliant behaviour and the likely corresponding VSO regulatory response
  • guides our compliance activities and enforcement responses while supporting industry as it adjusts to new legislation
  • allows flexibility in addressing non-compliance issues and risks as they arise, and
  • complements our current regulatory posture.

Our compliance approach and model DOCX: 273 KB PDF: 646 KB

Compliance and enforcement strategy

With the commencement of the RVSA and a new suite of legislative rules and instruments, we have developed a manageable Compliance and Enforcement Strategy for the next 2 years. This new strategy replaces the old Compliance and Enforcement Strategy from 2017, which was developed for use under the MVSA. The old 2017 strategy document is retained below for reference purposes.

Our new strategy, which is strongly linked to our compliance approach and model document, sets out our compliance and enforcement focus areas for the next 2 years and provides all regulated entities with important information on what to expect regarding our regulatory effort in those defined focus areas.

Inspection, monitoring and investigations

Under the RVSA and RVSR we have a range of new compliance and enforcement powers and functions.

These new powers and functions can be used to assist us in making decisions on applications, monitoring compliance with the legislation and effectively responding to non-compliance.

If you apply for an approval, or hold an approval related to the RVSA or RVSR you may have interactions with our inspectors and/or delegated officers.

This guidance document helps you to understand how we will exercise our new powers and functions in line with our compliance approach and model, our current compliance and enforcement strategy and the objectives of the RVSA. It outlines what powers and functions we have, how we may exercise them, and your related rights and obligations.

Reporting a vehicle safety or non-compliance issue

If you think your vehicle, or a vehicle or component you come across, is non-compliant or has a safety issue related to its design or manufacture you can report it.

Find out how to raise your concerns on our reporting a vehicle safety or non-compliance issue page.