The ACCC currently has powers under Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to mandate recalls for vehicles that pose a safety risk or do not meet safety standards.
An ACCC spokesman says the new legislation “mirrors the safety recall provisions in the ACL, allowing for the voluntary and compulsory recall of road vehicles for significant safety issues or non-compliance”.
Recalls so far issued for non-compliance have all been voluntary and usually affect cheap Chinese imports and Australian company Braaap.
“The new legislation provides additional clarity for vehicle recalls by extending coverage to non-compliance with technical standards and commercial vehicles that may not covered by the ACL, such as trucks, buses and large trailers,” the ACCC says.
The draft Bills do not make any changes to the standards for motorcycles – which are contained in the Australian Design Rules.
The Government says the Bills are designed to maintain and improve vehicle safety while expanding consumer choice and reducing red tape.
This legislation will replace the existing Motor Vehicle Standards Act which has been in place for nearly 30 years and was written at a time when much of today’s vehicle technology was not available.
The new legislation would come into effect from 2019.
The Government claims the reforms would save businesses more than $68 million a year in regulatory compliance costs.
They also say the Bills will increase consumer choice through “expanding and improving the pathways for importing specialist and enthusiast vehicles—including performance, low emissions, and mobility access vehicles”.
The Bills will be introduced and debated in the Parliament in the new year, and stakeholders will be asked to provide their feedback on the exposure drafts of the Bills and the Rules by mid-February 2018.
Australia’s peak motor industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, (FCAI), welcomes the Bills.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber says the Bills provide a framework to ensure Australians have access to world quality vehicles with the latest safety and environmental features.
“This legislation would ensure our vehicles are fit for purpose, built for our market conditions, and underpinned by established consumer support mechanisms,” he says.
“Our industry has always welcomed competition because that’s what delivers value for the consumer. This proposed legislation provides a robust structure which also safeguards the interests of the consumer.”