Mike Stevens | Oct 8, 2009

THE VICTORIAN STATE GOVERNMENT has today introduced regulations that will require new vehicles in Victoria to be fitted with electronic stability control (ESC) from January 2011.

The regulations, initially proposed in June, were later followed by the Federal Government's announcement that ESC will be mandatory on all new passenger vehicles in Australia from November 2011.

VACC Senior Manager for Government and Public Affairs, David Russell raised concerns today that Victoria's earlier date will affect sales across the state, with manufacturers potentially unable to adjust plans to suit one lone state.

“Like the Brumby Government, VACC supports any initiative to improve vehicle safety and to reduce the road toll,” Mr Russell said.

“However, VACC is concerned about the ‘go-it-alone’ strategy of the Brumby Government. We feel it will cause confusion, inconsistencies and loopholes. There are likely to be impacts on manufacturers, dealers and consumers.

Mr Russell acknowledged that Victorian Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas has made light commercial vehicles exempt, along with maintaining the ability to exempt certain other vehicles that meet exceptional standards, but said that VACC wants clarification on the regulatory details for the exemptions.

“Manufacturers will be affected because they plan models years in advanced. They are global operators and will not be able to amend their plans solely for the Victorian market and for a 10 month period. That means certain makes and models simply will not be available for sale in this state," Mr Russell said.

“If the manufacturers are disadvantaged: then so too are the dealers and associated retailers. Dealers have little say about the design of the product delivered to them for sale. New car dealers in Victoria are likely to be restricted if some makes and models are prohibited from sale in the State by the regulations.

Mr Russell said the laws will create confusion among consumers on what models are available, and stressed that the State Government should reconsider the timing of the new regulations.

Announcing the regulation today, Mr Pallas said that the Brumby Labor Government is intent on improving the state's road network, reducing road tolls and providing important safety benefits.

“The latest Australian research indicates that electronic stability control can reduce single-vehicle crashes by up to 29 per cent.

“Road safety experts the world over acknowledge ESC technology as the most significant vehicle safety innovation since seat belts. Regulating for ESC is yet another world-leading and bold move from Victoria, similar to the introduction of compulsory seat belts in the 1970s.”

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