The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, said the changes to parallel laws would give consumers more choice in three main ways:

1. Personal import of new motor vehicles

“With around 30,000 vehicles a year expected to be personally imported, most Australians will continue to purchase vehicles directly imported by manufacturers and sold through their existing Dealer networks,” Mr Fletcher said.

”These new arrangements, however, will offer consumers greater choice. If a manufacturer chooses not to sell a particular model in Australia, a consumer may now have an option to source this model overseas.”

2. Improvements to existing schemes for specialist and non-standard vehicles

“The changes will improve the existing arrangements for importing exotic, rare, classic, collectable and special purpose vehicles.

“Today, individuals can import a car or motorcycle under concessional arrangements if it was manufactured before 1 January 1989. Keeping this fixed date would have steadily reduced the scope for importing genuine classic cars into the future. The new rule will allow a vehicle which is at least 25 years old to be imported under these arrangements.

“For newer vehicles, the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles will be revamped, and limits on the number of vehicles that can be imported by each Registered Automotive Workshop will be removed.”

In line with the Australian Government’s deregulation agenda, the changes will also simplify the pathways for importing non-standard vehicles used for special purposes, such as mining equipment, exhibition vehicles and vehicles not permitted for general road use.

3. Removal of $12,000 special duty on imported used vehicles

The Government will amend the Customs Tariff Act 1995 to remove the $12,000 special duty on imported used vehicles from 2018.

“Although this duty is not often applied, it is on the statute books, costing more to administer than it raises – and is seen by consumers as a hurdle to importing secondhand cars even in the specific circumstances where such imports are permitted. By removing this duty we will provide more options for Australian consumers,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Industry will enjoy lower regulatory compliance costs, as these changes to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act will align Australian rules more closely with international vehicle standards. This will reduce regulatory costs for manufacturers while maintaining high standards for vehicle safety and environmental performance.”

The changes will also simplify the importation and certification arrangements for vehicles, to improve efficiency and remove unnecessary red tape for businesses.

Under the new law there will no longer be a requirement to physically affix an identification plate to vehicles. Instead the vehicle’s details will be entered on a new Register of Approved Vehicles – an online, publicly searchable database of new and used vehicles approved for use in Australia. Mr Fletcher said this measure would save manufacturers an estimated $18 million per year.

Legislation to implement the changes will be introduced into Parliament later this year.

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