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Vehicle standards

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Changes apply from 1 July

To ensure vehicles on our roads are safe, secure and environmentally-friendly, the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation establishes a new regulatory framework for road vehicle importers and manufacturers.

About the RVS legislation

A new era for road vehicle regulation in Australia started on 1 July 2021 when the RVS legislation and its regulatory framework was fully implemented.

The Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) replaces 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 over 30 years and sets nationally consistent standards suited to the 21st century.

A 12-month transitional period began on 1 July 2021, where some MVSA approvals will continue to remain in force to ensure a smooth transition to the new regulatory framework.

Please watch our RVS video for a brief overview of the RVS legislation:

Register of Approved Vehicles

A key change under the RVS legislation is the introduction of 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 replaces the need for the physical compliance (ID) plates currently 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. During the transitional period, some vehicles can continue to be provided to the market under existing MVSA approvals.

The RAV has two approval pathways – vehicle type approval or concessional RAV entry approval – and manufacturers and suppliers need to decide which one is appropriate for each vehicle type.

Importing or manufacturing a number of road vehicles?

A vehicle type approval identifies the applicable national road vehicle standards for a road vehicle type and specifies the documents required to confirm compliance with them.

Importing or manufacturing road vehicles on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis?

Under the concessional RAV entry approval pathway, vehicles will be entered on the RAV on behalf of an approval holder on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. For example, specialist and enthusiast vehicles.

More information about importing a road vehicle into Australia is available on the importing a road vehicle into Australia page.

Approval pathways to the RAV

The diagram below provides further information about the two approval pathways to the RAV:

diagram showing the approval pathways for entry on the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV)

How to apply for an RVS approval

The Road Vehicle Regulator (ROVER) system integrates all applications and approvals under the RVS legislation.

On ROVER, you can create an account, verify your identity and apply for an RVS approval.

Find out more on the ROVER resources webpage.

Guides and resources

The department has published guidance materials that provide further information on the application processes under the RVS legislation. These guides and links to other useful resources can be accessed on the Guides and resources page.

What else is new?

  • Authorised vehicle verifiers provide independent vehicle inspection and verification services.
  • Model Reports contain work instructions to allow road vehicles or variants of a road vehicle to be manufactured or modified by a registered automotive workshop (RAW) so that they comply with applicable national road vehicle standards.
  • Component type approvals replace Component Registration Number (CRN) and Sub-Assembly Registration Number (SARN) registrations as an option for demonstrating compliance with applicable national road vehicle standards.
  • Facilities that test road vehicles or road vehicle components for compliance with national road vehicle standards will 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 has been established for the voluntary and compulsory recall of road vehicles and approved road vehicle components.
  • The Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles (SEVs) Register has updated eligibility criteria to meet specialist and enthusiast demand more effectively. For example, instead of only assessing vehicle models, vehicle variants not offered in Australia may be eligible.

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