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Road Vehicle Standards laws

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About the RVS legislation

Road vehicle regulation in Australia started a new era on 1 July 2021 when the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation and its regulatory framework was fully implemented.

The Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) has replaced the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA). The operational aspects of the RVSA are contained in the Road Vehicle Standards Rules 2019 (the Rules). The RVSA, the Rules and other related legislation are collectively referred to as the RVS legislation.

The RVS framework represents the biggest legislative overhaul of road vehicle regulation in more than 30 years and sets nationally consistent standards suited to the 21st century.

A transitional period began on 1 July 2021, with some MVSA approvals continuing to remain in force to ensure a smooth transition to the new regulatory framework. The transitional period has been extended until 30 June 2023. This extension supports segments of the industry that have been affected by the COVID pandemic and global supply chain issues, which has prevented them from transitioning to the new regulatory framework.

Please watch our RVS video on how to import a road vehicle:

What is the Register of Approved Vehicles

Central to the RVS legislation is the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV), a publicly searchable database of vehicles that have met the requirements of the RVS legislation and been approved to be provided to the Australian market. The RAV has replaced the need for physical compliance (ID) plates to be fitted to vehicles.

Under the RVS legislation, all road vehicles – cars, trucks, trailers, caravans and so on – must be entered on the RAV before they can be provided to the market for the first time in Australia.

Entry on the RAV is almost always a prerequisite for being able to register a vehicle for road use.

The RAV has two approval pathways—vehicle type approval or concessional RAV entry approval. Manufacturers, suppliers and importers need to decide which pathway is appropriate for each vehicle type.

What is a vehicle type approval?

Vehicle type approval is the pathway to allowing an unlimited number of vehicles of a particular type to be imported and/or entered on the RAV. It identifies the applicable national road vehicle standards for a road vehicle type and specifies the documents required to confirm compliance with them. This option is generally used for commercial quantities of road vehicles.

What is a concessional RAV entry approval?

Concessional RAV entry approval is the pathway for importing and/or entering road vehicles on the RAV one-by-one on behalf of an approval holder. For example, specialist and enthusiast vehicles. A separate application is required for each road vehicle.

Visit importing a road vehicle into Australia for more information.

How do I apply for an approval under the RVS legislation?

All applications under the RVS legislation are submitted through ROVER, our online applications and approvals portal.

The first step is to create a ROVER account. Find out more at ROVER resources.

What else has changed?

The RVS legislation introduced new tools to support the entry of road vehicles on the RAV, including:

  • Authorised vehicle verifiers  provide independent vehicle inspection and verification services.
  • Model Reports contain work instructions to allow road vehicles or their variants to be manufactured or modified by a registered automotive workshop (RAW) so they comply with applicable national road vehicle standards.
  • Component type approvals have replaced component registration numbers (CRNs) and sub-assembly registration numbers (SARNs) as a way to demonstrate compliance with applicable national road vehicle standards.
  • Facilities that test road vehicles or road vehicle components for compliance with national road vehicle standards now have to apply for a testing facility approval before their test results can be used as supporting information for other RVS approval applications.
  • A framework for the voluntary and compulsory recall of road vehicles and approved road vehicle components has been introduced.
  • The Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles (SEVs) Register has updated eligibility criteria to meet demand more effectively. Vehicle models and vehicle variants not offered in Australia may be eligible to be assessed.

Where can I find more information?

Guidance materials providing further information on the RVS application processes and links to other useful resources can be accessed at Guides and resources, including ROVER how-to videos and videos on various RVS topics.

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