A key challenge for the Australian automotive industry is to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of a nationally consistent system of technical regulations for vehicle design, which are closely aligned, wherever appropriate with leading international standards. Through this means it is sought to facilitate the rapid introduction of the latest safety devices and technological advances into the Australian market, while also contributing to the industry’s cost competitiveness in domestic and export markets.

The FCAI works closely with the Australian Government to ensure that standards for vehicle design, through the Australian Design Rules (ADRs), provide effective regulation of safety and emissions performance.

The Australian Government is a signatory to a key international agreement, administered by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which provides a framework for the international harmonisation of technical standards for vehicle design.  The FCAI seeks to work with the Australian Government and through its own international connections to ensure that the interests of Australian industry are represented in the development of new regulations under this agreement.

ADRs are national standards for vehicle safety, anti-theft and emissions. The ADRs are generally performance based and cover issues such as occupant protection, structures, lighting, noise, engine exhaust emissions, braking and a range of miscellaneous items. For more information, visit the ADR pages of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website.

Harmonisation with international regulations

The FCAI supports the Australian Government's policy to harmonise the ADRs with international regulations. As noted by OICA, the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, harmonisation of vehicle regulations is important to the global automotive industry.

Harmonisation offers savings in technical resources that can then be applied elsewhere to produce better, safer, cleaner vehicles leading to lower costs and wider choices for all consumers. Harmonization doesn’t mean always having identical requirements, because the needs of different countries can often vary – but it does mean at least eliminating unnecessary differences and bringing regulations closer together. In this way, where possible and practical, a single vehicle specification can be built to satisfy many markets.

More information on the worldwide harmonisation of vehicle regulations is available on the OICA website

Motor Vehicle Standards Act Review

The Australian Government announced in early 2014 that it would review the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. The Act is the Australian legislation that provides the regulatory framework to control the importation and first supply of road vehicles in Australia. The Act provides a national system of vehicle design and performance standards relating to safety, environment (pollutant emissions) and anti-theft technologies - the Australian Design Rules (ADRs).

The FCAI position on the Review is available on the 2014 Motor Vehicle Standards Act Review page of this website.