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Speech to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Canberra

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(Extract from speech by IIon. Ian Sinclair, M.P. Minister for Shipping and Trans:r; and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industl°ies in Canberra on Wednesday, 11th February, 1970)

"F om the recent clamour about motor vehicle design rules it might be thought th=.t these rules had been established by Governments in isolation from industry and were now being thrust down your protestin g throats."

"In fact throughout the development of the rules there was the closest collaboration between the Design Panel working out the rules and industry. Industry was given an opj ortunity to comment on every rule. There was even an industry representative on the Panel itself. Long lead times were attached to each rule to give the industry time to adjust production to the safety requirements.'°

The plain fact is that no one in the industry took the rules seriously until just before the first of them was to co.e into operation in January this year."

"Would it be uncharitable to think that manufacturers were banking on the Commonwealth and State Governments failing to agree so that the design rules would never in fact apply?

If so it was an unfortunate attitude to take. It would have been wiser to have looked at the safety purpose of the rules and expressed any concern you might have felt from the


"TI.e original initiative to introduce design rules came from State Ministers. The Commonwealth role has been to work out with these State Ministers the machinery to establish and police observance of design rules."


Our original idea was for the Commonwealth to examine text data and issue certificates to indicate that vehicles complied with the rules. But State ilinisters considered that as they had the responsibility for registering vehicles they should also have a responsibility in certifying that vehicles conformed to the safety design rules. As you all now know it was no easy task to work out machinery by which

industry could be assured of a high degree of uniformity in the rules themselves and in the interpretation and application of the rule:.

"The method of operation that has been devised is, I believe, a model of sensible co••••operation between Commonwealth and States in this important field. First we have set up the Safety Design Panel to advise Ministers on the rules that

should apply. On that Panel we now have not one but three members nominated by the automobile industry. The Panel draws up its draft rules and while the rules are still in draft the industry is given not 30 days as before, but 90 days to comment on thooe drafts.

"After the drafts have been finalised and agreed by Commonwealth and Stato Ministe 's they are turned over to the Austr,iian Motor Vehicle Certification Board to administer, interpret and enure compliance. The Board is under

Commonwealth ChairiLaansh`..p and has on it a representative from each State and Terr:tory. All States have agreed that they will accept -.peso Ce=rtificates as evidence of compliance with the rules. For convenience of operation a compliance

plate will be affixed to each vehicle. The compliance plate will be prima facie evic' er ce that the vehicle complies with the relevant design rulco''

The Board is in full or_ 1:ration. It is issuing certificates of compliance. It is meking interpretations of the Design Rules where interpretation;; are necessary. It is, in short,



operating very well indeed to provide the necessary lubrication in the mechanism of s fety design rules."

So important d=1 the commonwealth consider the operations of" the Certification Loard in its early stages that I asked the Head of my Dc j n : bmc t to act as the first Chairman. "

But some people in i:_ du _try still nod their heads wisely and then ask what ic e done about the new rules - some of which ap_: .ear to have f,:.L_r y radical features.

? The answer is that all Design Rules other than those that were introduced at the l: eg; nning of the year have been referred back to the De :? :1 Panel for comment and comparison with other rules operati'i ix other countries. The Panel has reported, our Departmer:ts 'have had a close look at the report, industry has given us is )wr y comments and criticisms of the rules and at the end of th month Ministers will consider again every rule to see to

1 1'; extent amendments need to

be made to meet the fears w-:i_.^..1.. industry has expressed.

"The situation with regard to Des ;n Rules for motor vehicles

is well under control. I kno?•- all Ministers concerned are very well aware of the probl 1s raised by industry and very well aware of the need to have consistency and uniformity in

application of the rules. We have gone a very long way to that end. An enormous effort has been put into meeting the

tight schedules needed to ensure that the first rules came

into operation on the first of January last.

"I assure industry that it has nothing to be fearful about.

I would go further and sa-IT to manufacturers that I believe they would gain much if instead of emphasising their opposition to Design Rules they now co-.operate in their formulation and place morn emphasis on engineering and selling

safety in the motor vehicles they market in Australia.

Zanber ra. - 7 1 1 th e February, 1 970