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The Australian Government regulates the manufacture, importation and first supply to the market of road vehicles to ensure an acceptable level of safety, emission control and anti-theft protection across the Australian vehicle fleet.
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts administers these arrangements under the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 and the Road Vehicle Standards Rules 2019 (which together are known as the RVS legislation).
The Department is also responsible for regulating and enforcing the framework for the recall of road vehicles (including cars, motorbikes, caravans and trailers) and approved road vehicle components that are unsafe or do not comply with applicable standards.
The Department’s role
The Department is responsible for the administration of the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018, including:
- setting nationally consistent performance-based standards that road vehicles must comply within Australia
- providing consumers in Australia with a choice of road vehicles that:
- meet safety and environmental expectations of the community
- use energy conservation technology and anti‑theft technology
- are able to make use of technological advancements
- giving effect to Australia’s international obligations to harmonise road vehicle standards.
You can find more information about the implementation of road vehicle standards legislation on the Department’s website.
In accordance with Australian Consumer Law, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is responsible for:
- Vehicles that are not road vehicles but are classified as consumer goods, e.g. golf carts, miniature motor bikes, motorised mobility devices, quad bikes.
- Vehicle accessories (i.e. after-market parts that are not intended to be integrated into the road vehicle) that are consumer goods, e.g. child car restraints, portable ramps, recovery straps and bike carriers.
- Caravans and campers where the safety issue is not related to the vehicle itself but with human occupation, e.g. caravan fridges and stoves.
The ACCC also administers the compulsory Takata airbag recall.
Signed Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and the ACCC
On 17 March 2023, the department and the ACCC signed a renewed memorandum of understanding in relation to their roles. This replaced the initial memorandum of understanding from 1 July 2021.