National Alignment of Vehicle Modification Legislation
(Northern Territory Pre-Election Commitment)
22 August 2020
We have forwarded the email below, to all Northern Territory political parties who are registered with Australia Electoral Commission (NT), for the Northern Territory election on 22 August 2020:
Northern Territory 2020 Pre-Election Request
Change Vehicle Modification Standards
Dear Northern Territory Political Parties et el,
On behalf of the aftermarket modified motoring community, we are dissatisfied that every state and territory government have different legislation, standards, processes, and regulations regarding modifications for in-service motor vehicles, which in turn are different to federal Australian Design Rules (ADRs).
It has taken over 10 years for state governments to jointly develop the National Code of Practice (NCOP) for vehicle modifications, and even after this amount of time, no two states have the same modification and certification standards and processes. Some states such as Queensland have increased bureaucracy levels further by introducing a Queensland Code of Practice (QCOP), which sits on top of NCOP and ADRs.
It is unacceptable that vehicles which have undertaken modifications in one state jurisdiction, and have passed testing and engineering certification requirements by Australian qualified auto-mechanical engineers and approved persons or signatories, cannot be sold or transferred into other state jurisdictions, without having to be fully engineered and re-certified in the new state.
Australia no longer has a new vehicle manufacturing industry, and misaligned legislation / standards / processes across state borders does nothing to help the aftermarket industry and general consumers. Australian Recreational Motorists Association would like to see a national motoring cooperative established federally (representing all motoring communities / genres) stating their requirements to industry, who use their aftermarket associations / engineering affiliations to filter the requirements and document how they could be implemented using safe / practical / affordable processes, leading to a mutually agreed set of modification standards, which are then ratified as federal government legislation, for automatic implementation across all state and territories. This way, we have a nation-wide, consumer driven, industry validated process to support the Australian aftermarket industry.
The Australian Recreational Motorists Association believes in a philosophy of Safe, Practical and Affordable approach to vehicle modifications, where they should be:
• Safe for both on-road and off-road use, and other road users;
• Practical testing and certification procedures are not mandated where facilities are not available across the state, or the low volume of modifications, or minimal risk, out-weights the requirement for overly excessive testing; and
• Affordable testing and certification procedures are not cost prohibitive to the general public.
There are also many unreasonable restrictions in state modification legislations, which are overly more so than in the ADRs. Some vehicles can be modified under the federal Second Stage Manufacturing (SSM) process and have much more flexibility in engineering, however these same types of modifications cannot be applied to vehicles which are currently registered in Northern Territory, as the NCOP / VSB-14 modification standards are more restrictive than new vehicle standards.
Disparate vehicle standards are disruptive to the Australian general population, motoring industry, motoring communities and generates an unnecessary level of bureaucracy, with many people losing faith in the necessity of state and territory governments.
Prior to both 2019 Federal and NSW state elections, we achieved majority of political party support at both federal and state level to harmonise vehicle standards nationally. Written letters from each party are available for review at https://www.timetoalign.org.au.
The motoring community would also like to see an overhaul of the special interest vehicle concession scheme, to review the qualification age and remove the restrictions imposed on when a vehicle registered under the scheme can be used. With the loss of new vehicle manufacturing, development and investment needs to be refocused into the aftermarket industry so they can continue to support the Australian recreational and motoring communities, including our historical groups. For example, New South Wales and some other jurisdictions currently enjoy 60 – 90 days of general road use each year for special interest vehicle registration, outside of organised club events.
Therefore, we request your political party provides a pre-election commitment prior to the Northern Territory election, to:
• Acknowledge disparity in vehicle modification standards and processes across all state and territory jurisdictions;
• Position the National Code of Practice (NCOP) as reference guides for un-certified / un-engineered vehicle modifications;
• Introduce an engineering and certification program where Australian and Northern Territory Chartered Professional Engineers (CPE) are empowered, responsible, and able to freely undertake vehicle modifications based on sound Australian Standards and engineering principles (similar to schemes in NSW and SA), using the Australian Design Rules (ADRs);
• Allow all Second Stage Manufacturing (SSM) modifications approved under federal ADRs to be automatically approved and accepted under state modification standards for current in-service vehicles (same modifications for same vehicles);
• Recognise interstate modifications for registration transfers, or currently registered Northern Territory vehicles, were the modifications are undertaken by a CPE from interstate, and an appropriate engineering report is provided;
• Commit to regular reviews of restrictive regulations, standards and red tape, where clear modification and certification details are already provided within the Australian Design Rules, equivalent international standards, or where there is lack of evidence to prove modifications are unsafe;
• Coordinate a meeting between the Transport Minister and Northern Territory motoring community with the focus to review and overhaul the special interest vehicle concession scheme and the restrictions placed vehicle usage;
• Provide 90 days of general road use each year for special interest vehicle registration, outside of organised club events and maintenance;
• Work with motoring community and industry groups to generate education programs to cover safe modifications and driving in non-standard conditions, such as sand driving, towing caravans, undertaking vehicle recoveries;
• Engage other Council of Australian Governments (COAG) representatives and seek to harmonise vehicle standards and regulations where possible, through the Australian Motor Vehicle Certification Board (AMVCB);
• Agree to transfer responsibility of vehicle modifications regulations and standards to the Commonwealth (or a national regulator), on the condition that:
o Moving to a Federal model does not negatively reduce, restrict, or prohibit those currently provided by the territory, and committed above; and
o It is agreed by Northern Territory motoring community and industry representatives.
Australian Recreational Motorists Association