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Yesterday’s announcement of a new Road Vehicle Standards Bill, is a welcomed move to standardise the processes relating to personal car importation.

The Turnbull government’s new Bill, to be implemented by 2019, will introduce reforms to modernise and strengthen the laws governing road vehicles when first supplied to the Australian market.

It is thought that this Bill will help clarify vehicle recall arrangements; accelerate harmonisation of vehicles with international standards; and provide more choice through streamlining and consolidating the regulatory pathways through which non-standard vehicles are imported.

“After further detailed work on implementation arrangements, the Turnbull Government has decided not to proceed with one element of changes proposed earlier, which would have allowed personal importation of new motor vehicles from the United Kingdom and Japan,” the statement from the government said.

“Weighing these issues up against the modest benefits of the personal import arrangements—including price reductions estimated to be less than 2 per cent across the market—the Government has concluded that the benefits do not justify the cost and complexity of this particular change.”

The Chief Executive of the FCAI, Tony Weber, described this as a win both for consumers and for the industry.

“The industry has long held the view that personal imports are not in the interest of consumers, nor of the 236,000 people who are either directly or indirectly employed in the Australian motor industry,” Mr Weber said.

“Australia already has one of the most competitive motor vehicle markets in the world, delivering world quality vehicles and outstanding value for the consumer.

In its Bill the government has determined the following key criteria will be considered when thinking about vehicles:

6 Key Eligibility Criteria

Performance: a new graduated threshold formula measured from 110 kilowatts per Tonne (kW/T) in 1992, increasing by 1 kW/T each year after.

Environmental Performance: an objective vehicle technology based on an alternate power source to internal combustion or a micro-car subcategory for low power (low emissions) vehicles.

Mobility: originally manufactured or fitted from the factory with substantive specialist mobility features to assist people with disabilities.

Rarity: total worldwide production of the vehicle ‘Make’ is less than 3000 units per year; or total worldwide production of the vehicle ‘Model’ is less than 1000 units per year; or total worldwide production of the vehicle ‘Variant’ is less than 100 vehicles per year. Left-hand drive vehicles imported under the rarity criterion will not require conversion to right-hand drive but will need state or territory agreement for use on their roads.

Left-hand drive: originally manufactured as a left-hand drive vehicle and not available as an originally manufactured right hand drive vehicle in another world market. These vehicles will require conversion to right hand drive for safety reasons.

Campervans and Motorhomes: originally manufactured as a campervan or motorhome.