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Thursday, 5 April 1973
Page: 1122

Mr NICHOLLS (BONYTHON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Transport. I understand that in the United States the Federal Government controls motor vehicle safety standards and that compliance with those standards by the automotive industry, both local and foreign, is mandatory. I ask: To what extent is the Australian car owner protected with similar safety standards?

Mr CHARLES JONES (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Transport) - It is perfectly true that the United States of America has what is known as a Highways Safety Act which was first introduced in that country in 1966. Since 1967 all motor vehicles in the United States which are involved in interstate commerce have had to comply with the mandatory safety measures which are laid down and which today are known as the Federal motor vehicle safety standards. These standards became operative in 1967. From time to time the American administration has updated the standards. In Australia a similar set of design rules has been introduced. These rules were endorsed by the Australian Transport Advisory Council at a meeting held in February 1967 and became operative, I think, in 1970. At present I believe that there are some 22 design rules which manufacturers have to comply with. Whilst the national Parliament has not the power to direct the States what to do on this matter, at least by meetings such as those of ATAC agreement can be reached on standards that can be written into the requirements for the manufacture of motor vehicles. Through the co-operation of the States and the Commonwealth, including its Territories, I have said we have today 22 design rules which set out to improve the safety standards of motor vehicles. This is a subject which has been worked on continually by State Ministers and by Federal departments in an endeavour to upgrade the general safety standards of motor vehicles. I refer to the design of the dashboard, the driving position, steering wheels and that sort of thing. Progress is being made on this matter.

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