Vehicle type approval opt-in arrangements

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Opted-in vehicle type approval holders

On 1 July 2021, the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) replaced the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA).

Until 31 December 2021, eligible holders of some approvals under the MVSA could transition to a RVSA vehicle type approval via an opt-in process.

Eligible MVSA approval holders could have their existing approval taken to be a road vehicle type approval, in force for 5 years, without providing supporting documentation at the time they applied.

The RVSA is supported by the Road Vehicle Standards Rules 2019 (the Rules). Together with other related legislation, they are referred to as the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation.

The department is administering the RVS legislation.

How do I know my opt-in application was approved?

Opted-in vehicle type approval holders received a letter of advice with an approval number, date of effect and expiry date.

An opted-in vehicle type approval is valid for 5 years, unless revoked earlier. The letter of advice also included the standard conditions applying to a vehicle type approval, as well as the conditions that applied under the MVSA approval that remain in force.

If a condition of the MVSA approval is inconsistent with a new condition of the vehicle type approval under the Rules, the new condition applies.

If you hold an opted-in road vehicle type approval, you cannot supply vehicles covered by that approval to the market under the MVSA (i.e. by fitting an Identification Plate).

Opted-in vehicle type approval holders' obligations

Vehicle type approval holders under the RVS legislation, including those who opted-in, are expected to comply with conditions ensuring that:

  • at the time their vehicle(s) were entered on the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV), they complied with the applicable national road vehicle standards in force at the time
  • a conformity of production system has been implemented
  • errors in information entered on the RAV are notified to the department
  • when requested by the department, they allow access or make suitable arrangements to provide information or inspections to ensure ongoing compliance with their approval
  • all records of the original and subsequent versions of the supporting information for the approval are kept up to date while the approval is in force, and for 7 years after it expires, or it is revoked.

If you fail to keep your approval up to date and comply with the applicable national road vehicle standards, the department may suspend your approval.

Should this happen, you would be unable to add vehicles to the RAV while your approval is suspended, and therefore unable to provide road vehicles of the type covered in your approval to the Australian market.

Complying with your responsibilities

The department monitors and enforces compliance with the RVS legislation under the RVSA (applying penalties) and the Rules (obligations of an approval holder).

We encourage voluntary compliance, and undertake informed risk-based compliance activities to confirm compliance with the RVS legislation.

These compliance activities may involve:

  • asking you to provide information in writing to assess whether you are complying with the RVS legislation
  • appointed inspectors physically entering premises to confirm compliance with the RVS legislation (monitoring powers).

What if I don't comply?

Under the RVS legislation, offences and civil penalty provisions apply when you (individual or company):

  • breach a condition of your approval
  • breach an obligation to provide records after an approval ceases to be in force
  • provides a false or misleading declaration
  • provides false or misleading information.

If the department identifies non-compliance, our response will be proportionate to the risk being managed. Our response may include issuing infringement notices, applying for civil penalty orders or injunctions, or entering into enforceable undertakings.

If a condition of the MVSA approval is inconsistent with a new condition of the vehicle type approval under the Rules, then the new condition applies.

IMPORTANT: If the department suspends your vehicle type approval, you will not be able to enter your road vehicles on to the RAV. You will need to vary your approval, providing eligibility documentation and, if applicable, compliance information.

IMPORTANT: The department did not collect information about Australian Design Rule (ADR) 61/03 before you opted-in or once your vehicle type approval commenced. However, you will need to submit compliance information for ADR 61/03 the first time you request to vary your vehicle type approval.

Action may be taken if ADR 61/03 is not complied with.

Varying an opted-in vehicle type approval for the first time

Approval holders may need to vary an opted-in vehicle type approval for a range of reasons, including to:

  • demonstrate compliance with a new or revised Australian Design Rule (ADR)
  • add or remove variants of the road vehicle type an approval covers
  • add or remove facilities involved in the design, componentry and manufacture of road vehicles covered by the approval
  • update Quality Management System (QMS) documents, and/or
  • in some cases, provide evidence and change information about their extent of compliance with individual applicable ADRs.

When you apply to vary your opted-in approval for the first time you will also be required to provide additional information to complete your vehicle type approval in ROVER including providing road vehicle descriptors (RVDs) for all vehicles covered by the approval.

For some approval holders, their first application to vary an opted-in vehicle type approval will also be their first experience with making declarations and providing supporting information and documents according to the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation.

The Guide to varying an opted-in approval for the first time explains why ROVER requires applicants to provide certain types of information and gives practical guidance on how to use the ROVER system when applying.

Important: We strongly advise you do not apply to vary your opted-in approval without reading the guide carefully. To ensure a smooth process, you may be advised to enter your vehicle variants in batches. If you do not follow the sequence of application actions recommended in the guide you may have to restart your application.

Please read the guide in conjunction with the Guide to varying approvals in ROVER, which explains the broad requirements for varying approvals under the RVS legislation.