REGNET SOLUTIONS: AUSTRALIA RESEARCH NOTES

Last Updated: 30 January 2020

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Overview

Which agencies are charged with regulating the safe construction of vehicles in Australia?

Communications spectrum / EMC / Cyber security of vehicles

Regulation at State level

What are the different types of regulatory documents in Australia?

What is Australia’s Type Approval process?

Does Australia regulate Autonomous Vehicles? What is the current state of AV regulations?

Emissions for M, N, and O Category Vehicles – How do Australia’s emissions standards compare to Euro Standards?

What is the current status of Electric Vehicles and Fuel Cell Vehicles? Are there incentives or compliance timelines to move to EVs?



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RegNet Solutions, LLC does not provide legal or engineering advice. This material has been provided for informational purposes, and it is not intended to provide, nor should it be relied on for, legal or engineering advice.



Overview

This document has been designed to help our regulatory compliance customers navigate Australia’s regulations. RegNet Focus includes coverage of Australia’s emissions, and vehicle safety regulations.



Agencies charged with regulating the safe construction of vehicles in Australia

The primary regulator is the Department of Infrastructure, Cities and Regional Development. This Department regulates the national safety rules for vehicles (including emissions.) at a Federal level. Such regulation is currently carried out under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989 make it an offence to import, sell or present new or used imported vehicles to the Australian market for the first time unless they meet the National Standards, except in circumstances where an exemption has been granted by the Administrator of Vehicle Standards. The Australian Design Rules (ADRs) for motor vehicles and trailers are the National Standards and a standard vehicle is one that complies with all of the applicable ADRs. The ADRs are designed to make vehicles safe to use, to control vehicle emissions, to secure vehicles against theft and to promote the saving of energy New legislation to deal with road vehicles and road vehicle components and to set national standards in the form of the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 and the Road Vehicle Standards Rules 2019 has been passed by Parliament. Implementation of this Act has been delayed by the Road Vehicle Standards Legislation Amendment Act 2019 to a date no later than 1 July 2021. For now the current valid regime is the Motor Vehicle Standards Act and Regulations made thereunder are the relevant legislation.



Communications spectrum / EMC / Cyber security of vehicles

The communications spectrum is regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in the current form under the Radio Communications (Intelligent Transport Systems) Class License 2017. ACMA regulates EMC under the Radiocommunications Act 1992, the Radiocommunications Labelling (Electromagnetic Compatibility) Notice 2017 and the Electromagnetic Standards. The Department for Home Affairs leads the development of Australia’s national cyber security policy. A number of other agencies at a federal and state level have input into this policy and also separate roles relating to their specific remit. These include the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). The issue of cyber security and vehicle to vehicle communication is currently under consideration, partly in connection with a program of trials of autonomous vehicles (see below). The Australian Government is also working on a number of policies which will impact the safety and success of automated vehicles, including cyber security, communications technology and innovation. This work is being coordinated by the Office of Future Transport Technology.



Regulation at State level

The Australian, state and territory governments jointly maintain a federal system for regulating road vehicles. The system establishes national design and performance standards for vehicles (the ADRs). The ADRs are designed to make vehicles safe to use, to control vehicle emissions, to secure vehicles against theft and to promote the saving of energy. The Australian Government maintains jurisdiction over road vehicles up to the point of first supply to the Australian market. Once a vehicle has been supplied to the market, it is “In-service”. State and territory governments are responsible for continued regulation after this point (e.g., vehicle registration, roadworthiness, the approval of modifications to vehicles in-service).



Different types of regulatory documents in Australia

Acts

Primary legislation passed by Federal Parliament or State Parliament.

Legislative Instruments

Secondary legislation passed either under delegated powers or after parliamentary scrutiny by committee. Regulations are one example of a legislative instrument.

Notices

Subordinate legislation/bye-laws passed by government department under delegated powers

Determinations

Subordinate legislation/bye-laws passed by government department under delegated powers

Orders

Subordinate legislation/bye-laws passed by government departments under delegated powers. The ADR are one example of such orders.



Type Approval process

The certification system for new vehicles is based on type approval, wherein a vehicle design representing a make-model (the “type” of vehicle) undergoes tests to demonstrate compliance with the applicable ADRs. If the test vehicle(s) complies then all others of the same design, or type, will also comply, provided the production processes are properly controlled. The manufacturer is responsible for ensuring compliance with the ADRs. The Australian certification process allows the vehicle manufacturer (“the Licensee”) to conduct the various ADR tests. The tests may be conducted in a place convenient to the manufacturer provided they are done correctly. In order to demonstrate compliance with all the applicable ADRs, several test vehicles may be required, particularly for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. Once the tests are successfully completed, the manufacturer may seek approval to fit identification plates to the vehicles by submitting an application for approval. The manufacturer must support its application with a summary of the evidence to show that all tests were done correctly and that the vehicle complies with the applicable ADRs.



Does Australia regulate Autonomous Vehicles? What is the current state of AV regulations?

Australian governments are working together to make sure automated vehicles can be legally and safely used when they are available for purchase in Australia. This is underpinned by a Smart City program as well as consideration of the legal and technological adjustments necessary to support the use of autonomous vehicles. There is a program of trials of autonomous vehicles supported by legislation in course across the States and Territories. These have progressed from a simple off-road trial to trials of the full “driverless taxi” model in some states.

Certain features of automated vehicles such as lane-keep assist and assisted parking are already permitted. However, the enactment of such legislation is incremental and to date there is a requirement to have a licensed human operator of a vehicle.

Governments and industry both in Australia and overseas have adopted Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) International Standard J3016 as a common language for describing the capabilities of an automated vehicle.

Australia’s transport ministers have agreed to a phased reform program to enable Level 3 of J3016 ‘conditionally automated’ vehicles to operate safely and legally on roads by 2020. As yet, no such legislation has been passed at a Federal level. Road use law may currently prohibit the operation of vehicles in this way, except as part of a trial.



M, N, and O Category Vehicles – Meeting EU Standards

The current minimum standard for new light vehicles in Australia is ADR 79/04, which is based on the Euro 5 standards. The current minimum standard for new heavy vehicles is ADR 80/03, which is based on the Euro V standards, with equivalent US or Japanese standards accepted as alternatives. The Australian Government's Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions is currently undertaking a review to consider whether Australia should adopt the Euro 6 standards for light vehicles and Euro VI standards for heavy vehicles.



What is the current status of Electric Vehicles and Fuel Cell Vehicles? Are there incentives or compliance timelines to move to EVs?

A study in August 2019 found that the Australian EV share of new sales is predicted to reach 8 per cent by 2025 and 27 per cent by 2030. Arguments that the Governments of Australia should support the sale of EVs by subsidies have proved controversial.