Reform of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989

What's new

Reduced Vehicle Import Restrictions Cost Benefit Analysis

As part of the 2014 Review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (the Act), the Australian Government engaged Castalia Strategic Advisors to evaluate the cost and benefits relating to the potential relaxation of the current personal vehicle import policy settings.

The report primarily focusses on economic opportunities for consumers to personally import vehicles from the UK or Japan—as both countries have comparable vehicle standards to Australia.

  • Reduced Vehicle Import Restrictions Cost Benefit Analysis PDF: 360 KB ReadSpeaker

Register of Approved Vehicles and Certification of Light Trailers

The reforms to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA) that were announced by the Australian Government on 10 February 2016, include changes to simplify importation and certification arrangements for road vehicles, to improve efficiency and remove unnecessary red tape for businesses. Under the proposed new law there will no longer be a requirement for a physical MVSA “identification plate” on vehicles. The identification plate contains compliance information and a certification statement from the manufacturer and is distinct from the number (or registration) plate. Instead of an identification plate, each approved road vehicle's compliance information (refer to Attachment A to the consultation paper) will be entered on a Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV), an online database, publicly searchable (one VIN at a time) for vehicles approved for use on Australian roads.

The following documents include:

  1. A consultation paper including Attachments A, B and C concerning details of the operation of the RAV (including submission of Vehicle Identification Numbers) and the ongoing use of physical trailer plates; and
  2. An information paper concerning proposed certification arrangements for light trailer industry.

The Australian Government welcomes any comments/feedback on the detail of the RAV submission and is seeking volunteers for early testing for RAV submission process. Detail is included in the attached consultation paper. Please direct your feedback to by COB Friday, 23 June 2017.

Following the announcement of the reforms the Australian Government has conducted a number of consultation sessions with key stakeholders.

The sessions have been used to brief representatives of industry and the community on the details of the reform package. Stakeholder groups briefed have included:

  • Consumer groups and non-regulated industry representatives (15 March 2016);
  • Vehicle manufacturers (22 March 2016);
  • Registered Automotive Workshops and New Low Volume manufacturers (31 March 2016);
  • Caravan manufacturers (14 April 2016); and
  • Trailer Manufacturers 28 April 2016.

The Australian Government also conducted consultations in September and October 2016 on the proposed thresholds for the specialist and enthusiast vehicle criteria. The thresholds proposed by can be found in the fact sheet Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Eligibility Thresholds PDF: 192 KB ReadSpeaker

The Australian Government is currently considering the feedback received on these thresholds.

What are the reforms?

The Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (the Act) controls the safety, environmental and anti-theft performance of all vehicles entering the Australian market for the first time—both new and used.

The reform of the Act will reduce regulatory compliance costs to business by more than $70 million a year and provide the Australian public with greater choice and competition in the vehicle market. The reforms will improve access to specialist and enthusiast vehicles, allow for the personal importation of new vehicles, and ensure that Australia's vehicle fleet continues to offer world-leading standards in community and environmental safety.

For further information on the reforms, please refer to the Info Sheets below.

Info sheets

Other key documents


Legislation is currently being drafted for introduction into Parliament.The reforms will commence 12 months after the passage of legislation, with a transition period to enable businesses to adapt to new arrangements. The personal new vehicle imports scheme will commence in 2018.

The Australian Government will amend the Customs Tariff Act 1995 to remove the $12 000 special duty on imported used vehicles from 2018.

Further information

This webpage will be updated with additional information on the reforms to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 as it is made available.


Last Updated: 30 May, 2017