Low ATM trailers

The department has released VSB 1 (Revision 6)—Trailers with an Aggregate Trailer Mass of 4.5 Tonnes or less which relates to the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RSVA).

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What has changed for the trailer industry?

Under the RVS legislation, manufacturers and importers of trailers with an aggregate trailer mass (ATM)* of 4.5 tonnes or less (low ATM trailers) will need an approval before they can provide a trailer type to the Australian market.

For example, caravans, dog trailers and pig trailers.

Under the MVSA, trailer manufacturers and importers could self-certify that a trailer complies with Vehicle Standards Bulletin 1 (Version 5) (VSB1—Building Small Trailers).

This certification was included on the trailer's identification plate—but it wasn't necessary to notify the government. This has changed.

Every road vehicle—including trailers—will need to have vehicle and compliance information listed on the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) online database.

Only then can they be provided to Australian consumers for the first time.

* ATM = the trailer's total mass when carrying the maximum load recommended by the manufacturer.

The vehicle standards for trailers will still be the applicable Australian Design Rules (ADRs).

The Vehicle Standards Bulletin 1 has been updated to Revision 6 and has easy-to-read information about the ADR requirements for most trailers and the most used ways to show they comply.

Some manufacturers may need to refer directly to the ADRs to confirm they comply.

Two pathways are available:

  • concessional RAV entry approval, and
  • vehicle type approval.

These pathways have different eligibility criteria and approval conditions, if an approval is granted.

Concessional RAV entry approvals

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

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

Vehicle type approvals

Under the RVS legislation, trailer manufacturers and importers providing more than 4 low ATM trailers to the Australian market in a 12-month period will have to get a vehicle type approval for their trailer type.

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

A vehicle type approval application must include a declaration that trailers provided under the approval, if granted, will comply (or substantially comply) with the relevant national road vehicle standards.

Eligibility requirements for a vehicle type approval

To be able to grant a vehicle type approval, the government must be satisfied the applicant:

  • has the required information demonstrating the road vehicle complies with the applicable national road vehicle standards (in rare cases, non-compliance will be permitted if 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—eg, glider trailers with a longer 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.

Vehicle type approval applicants must keep their supporting information and all relevant documents up to date to satisfy eligibility criteria.

For example, an appropriate quality management system (QMS) to demonstrate full control of the design, componentry and manufacturing process. More information on QMS is available in Appendices 2 and 3 of the Guide to vehicle type approvals for low ATM trailers (4.5t ATM or less).

How do I apply?

Our online IT portal, ROVER, integrates all RVS legislation activities and approvals.

To apply for an approval, you must first set up an account in ROVER and fill out an online application form. This includes all of the required information, documents and declaration so your application can be assessed.

Complying with your responsibilities

The department monitors and enforces compliance with the RVS legislation. The department encourages voluntary compliance, and undertakes informed risk-based compliance activities to confirm compliance with the RVS legislation.