Proposed changes to Australia’s Motor Vehicles Standard Act could see select groups of cars not otherwise allowed into the country freed up for importation.
Under the proposed plans outlined in an Exposure Draft ahead of an official presentation to parliament in 2018 rare hypercars, specialised mobility vehicles, and more electric vehicles could make their way to Australia.
If passed the changes would constitute the broadest revision to the Motor Vehicles Standard act in more than 30 years.
The proposal has been tabled to "provide a modern, strong regulatory platform for vehicle standards that will better protect the community, provide more choice for specialist and enthusiast vehicles and be responsive to emerging technologies."
Consumers would be offered greater freedom in importing specialist vehicles that have been previously restricted by outdated regulations, and the automotive industry would be given clear guidelines for emerging technologies.
The changes would also ensure the wider community is better protected through tougher recall processes as well as having a tighter focus on misleading retail incentives and warranty provisions.
At the top end of town, vehicles such as the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder and McLaren P1 will be allowed to be imported to Australia and remain in their original left-hand drive configuration. Similarly, boutique track-day machines such as the Ariel Atom and BAC Mono could also be cleared for use locally.
The rules allow vehicles to be imported if there is less than 100 of the specific variant produced globally, or it is part of a model family with fewer than 1000 vehicles produced annually or it is from a vehicle manufacturer with an annual output of less than 3000 vehicles.
Beyond cashed-up enthusiasts, the proposal also opens up the importation of specialist mobility vehicles, such as those specifically designed for wheelchair access or suited to elderly drivers. Japanese car makers such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda produce a number of applicable vehicles owing to Japan's ageing population.
At the centre of the proposal, the Minister for Urban Infrastructure - which is currently held by the Federal Member for Bradfield, Paul Fletcher - will develop new national road vehicle standards that include a Register of Approved Vehicles where manufacturers apply for homologation, as well as a Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles that are cleared for importation. Both will be bound by a new framework that defines offences and civil penalties for those that don't comply.
Under the National Vehicle Standards, the proposal has outlined five key areas; making the vehicle safe to use; control the emission outputs of gas, particles and noise; security against theft; provide for security markings; and promote the saving of energy.
"This legislative package is the most important set of changes to the Australian Government’s regulation of motor vehicles in almost three decades," Minister Bradfield said in a statement.
"So it is important we take the time to consult on the details with interested stakeholders – including the automotive sector and consumers – before the Bills are debated in the Parliament."
Stakeholders have been encouraged to provide feedback to the proposed changes by mid-February 2018.