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Recreational Vehicle Retailers/Dealers and the RVSA

On July 1, 2021, the 24-month transition period began for the Road Vehicle Standards Act (RVSA) 2018 to replace the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.   The RVSA better reflects the significant changes in global and domestic vehicle markets and improvements in vehicle technologies over the last few decades.  The RVSA also provides industry businesses with a level playing field, creates a barrier to entry for newcomers and startups, improves the safety and compliance of recreational vehicles being manufactured and imported, and importantly arms federal government regulators with greater enforcement powers to assist in stamping out non-compliant and unsafe recreational vehicles making it onto Australian roads.

Under the RVSA, every recreational vehicle whether imported or manufactured in Australia will need to be recorded on the online Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV).   A recreational vehicle can be entered on the RAV at any time up until the manufacturer/importer declares full compliance to the conditions of the approval and before the vehicle is provided to the market for the first time. 

The Department’s Guidance Note outlines the conditions that will consider a road vehicle to have been provided to a consumer for the first time.  These conditions are the following:

  • the vehicle has been correctly entered on the RAV, and
  • a contract of sale has been entered into by the consumer and an OEM or dealership.

Furthermore, for any vehicle which is manufactured outside Australia, the vehicle must be in Australia before being added to the RAV – unless the approval allows otherwise.

The Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) is in effect a birth certificate of the recreational vehicle.  This does not require amending during the life of the vehicle.

So how will this affect Recreational Vehicle Retailers/Dealers?

All recreational vehicles whether imported or manufactured in Australia on display for sale that have not yet been provided (sold or not under contract) to the market must NOT be altered or have had any aftermarket accessories fitted as they must reflect the information of that on the RAV.  Aftermarket accessories can be added to the recreational vehicle only after the vehicle has been provided (sold or is under contract) to the market.

Vehicles entered on the RAV must be consistent with the relevant approval conditions.  Under the RVSA, it is an offence to modify a vehicle (e.g. dealer-fitted options) that will invalidate the approval conditions once it is entered on the RAV and before it is provided to the market.

This means that aftermarket accessories continue to be treated as they currently are as long as this occurs after a vehicle is provided to the market.

The requirement to maintain ADR compliance of the vehicle is unchanged – If you add or alter a recreational vehicle through the addition of an aftermarket accessory you must ensure compliance to any relevant ADR’s that apply.

This covers but is not limited to:

  • Vehicle dimensions;
  • Vehicle ratings and masses; and
  • Obscuring of ADR-related vehicle lamps and/or reflectors.