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Wednesday, 30 March 2022
Page: 440


Senator McKENZIE (VictoriaMinister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (09:33): I table the explanatory memorandum relating to the bill and move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

The Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018, and its subordinate legislation, introduced improved and simplified regulatory arrangements for importing and providing road vehicles for the first time in Australia.

The new arrangements deliver on the Australian Government's commitment to apply nationally consistent vehicle safety, environmental performance and security standards while also meeting consumer expectations that they may purchase a broad variety of road vehicles.

Each week around 24,000 road vehicles are being entered on the Register of Approved Vehicles so that they can be provided to the Australian market under the new regulatory arrangements. Consumers can purchase nearly 400 unique makes of road vehicles under these arrangements, and their choices continue to grow as more manufacturers and importers are approved to provide their vehicles under the new legislation.

This bill does not make material changes to the new legislative requirements for importing and providing road vehicles, which received bipartisan support in late 2018 and have already been adopted by large segments of industry.

Instead, this bill extends the transitional period for vehicle manufacturers and importers to fully conform to the new regulatory obligations from 12 to 24 months.

The Australian Government recognised early that many businesses would require a transitional period during which they would provide road vehicles under certain provisions of the old legislation while aligning themselves to the new regulatory requirements. The Government provided a 12-month period for this purpose in the Road Vehicle Standards (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2018.

This period commenced when the new legislation was fully implemented on 1 July 2021.

During the transitional period to date, almost all road vehicle manufacturers and importers have had to manage the severe impacts of the COVID pandemic on road vehicle inventories and global supply chains.

The Australian Government has determined that a 12-month extension of the transitional period is necessary and sufficient to assist businesses that have not already transitioned to the new legislation.

The bill does not exempt any road vehicle manufacturer or importer from the requirement to transition to the new legislation in order to continue providing road vehicles to Australian consumers. The bill preserves the Government's intent that the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 will provide the legislative basis for ensuring fair competition across Australia's automotive industry and consumer access to a variety of high quality and affordable road vehicles.

The bill maintains the provisions of the new legislation, and the vehicle type approval opt-in arrangements that ceased in late 2021 are not being re-opened. Road vehicle providers that have already transitioned to the new regulatory framework will be able to continue providing their vehicles using approvals granted to them under the new legislation.

To sum up, the bill essentially provides additional time to transition to the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 to those businesses that need it without disrupting the commercial arrangements of road vehicle providers that have already transitioned to the new legislation. The bill delivers on the Government's objective to provide a fair, responsive and flexible legislative framework to support Australia's automobile industry for the benefit of industry participants and consumers.

Clear guidance will be provided to industry and the general public to ensure awareness of the extended transitional period, and information will be made available to support businesses to transition to the new legislation.

Debate adjourned.