Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation

The Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) has replaced the existing Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA). The RVSA was introduced by the Federal Government to improve the safety, environmental and anti-theft performance of all road vehicles provided to the Australian market for the first time – both new and used.

The new legislation commenced on 1 July 2021. The corresponding changes to the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2017 (NSW) commenced at the same time.

From 1 July 2021, a transitional period began allowing certain industry segments time to adapt to the new requirements. This transitional period has been extended by 12 months until 30 June 2023 (and to 30 June 2024 for Special Purpose Vehicles excluding trailers).

Transport for NSW will be progressively updating content and materials (on this page and other places) and will continue to communicate with Industry regarding impacts and compliance.

Details regarding the Transitional Period Extension can be found on the Commonwealth website.

What’s changed?

The new RVS legislation has changed the way vehicle manufacturers apply for approvals to import vehicles into Australia. This includes the introduction of Authorised Vehicle Verifiers (AVVs), replacing the old RVSC system with the new ROVER system and providing a new pathway for component approvals.

Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV)

One of the most significant changes is that when vehicles are first supplied to the Australian Market they must be entered on the new Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) instead of having a vehicle identification (compliance) plate attached. All the information previously contained on the identification plate will now be on the RAV. You can search for a vehicle on the RAV, using its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

The RAV will be a publicly searchable online database of vehicles approved for use on all Australian roads, which will replace the need for identification plates on vehicles. However, vehicles supplied under the MVSA will continue to require their identification plates and will not be entered on the RAV.

Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation

For more information about the RAV please see the Australian Governments’ Road Vehicle Standards Register of Approved Vehicles Guide.

No compliance date - exceptions

Some older vehicles, such as pre-Australian Design Rules (ADR) vehicles and vehicles not designed for road use, never had identification plates. These changes do not impact on vehicles that previously were not fitted with, or vehicles that have lost, identification plates while in service.

More information

For more detail about the RVSA changes please visit the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA) website.

As further details become available about how the RVSA changes affect our NSW partners and suppliers, this page will be updated.

What this means for dealers

The introduction of the new RVSA should not significantly impact dealers.

From 1 July 2021, dealer vehicle inspectors may be presented with a vehicle without an identification plate. In these instances, the vehicle’s information will be contained on the RAV. The vehicle’s VIN is used to search for the RAV entry.

Under the new system, the compliance date of a vehicle will be the date of entry on the RAV. As per current policy, there are some vehicles where the build date must be used for the compliance date. Inspectors can access the information on the vehicle's build date from the RAV.

For more information on importing vehicles see the Federal Government’s advice about importing a road vehicles into Australia, and for registration of imported vehicles in NSW, see Transport for NSW’s Vehicle Standards Information Sheet (VSI) No. 4.

Please note that there are some changes to the types of vehicles that will be allowed to be imported into Australia but, not all will be allowed to be registered in NSW. VSI No. 4 has been updated to reflect these changes.

More information

Useful links and contact details are listed below:

For more about the RVSA changes visit the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA) website.

NSW motor dealers accredited under the Dealer Vehicle Registration Scheme (DVRS) can also access Dealer Online (DOL) notices.

What this means for light trailer manufacturers, fabricators and importers

Under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA), manufacturers and importers of light trailers with an Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) of 4.5 tonnes or less could self-certify that a trailer complies with the Commonwealth Vehicle Standards Bulletin VSB 1 Building Small Trailers (Revision 5), available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA) website.

Previously this certification was included on the trailer’s vehicle plate but not notified to DITRDCA.

This has changed.

Under the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA), light (low ATM) trailers must comply with VSB 1 (Revision 6) which is now available on the Vehicle Standards Bulletins page, available on the DITRDCA website.

Every road vehicle – including trailers – must have vehicle and compliance information listed on the Commonwealth’s Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) online database before it is provided to Australian consumers for the first time.

Although trailer information will be entered on the RAV, trailers will still have a vehicle plate containing some information, such as the ATM.

Compliance declaration

Under the MVSA, light trailer vehicle plates have the following compliance declarations:

This trailer was manufactured to comply with the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989’ (new trailers)


This trailer is an imported used trailer. It has been modified and assessed as complying with the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989’ (used imported trailers).

A trailer assessed under the MVSA will not be on the RAV.

Under the RVSA, these declarations will be removed from the vehicle plate and will instead be submitted to the Federal Government with their application. When the application is approved, the trailer’s details will be entered onto the RAV. The trailer’s RAV entry is an assurance that the trailer’s compliance declaration has been submitted and it complies with the applicable vehicle standards.

The RVSA introduces two approval pathways for trailers:

  1. Vehicle Type Approval - if you are providing (manufacturing or importing) more than 4 trailers to market in a 12-month period, you will have to get a vehicle type approval for the trailer type you provide. A vehicle type approval covers a make of trailer and a trailer category. This includes several models that meet the definition of a trailer with a vehicle category code of TA, TB or TC.
  2. Concessional RAV entry approval - if you are providing (building or importing) 4 or less trailers in a 12-month period, these vehicles will be entered onto the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) on behalf of an approval holder by the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA), vehicle by vehicle.

For both vehicle type and concessional RAV entry approval, you need to create an account on the DITRDCA online portal. When you create an account, you can apply for an approval by completing an online application form, which includes all the information, documents and declaration required by DITRDCA. Fees apply for the issue of an approval. These fees are set by DITRDCA.

Does the process for obtaining Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) change?

VINs are still required for all trailers. Existing arrangements will continue during the transitional period:

Manufacturing or importing over 500 trailers per year

Manufacturing or importing more than four and fewer than 500 trailers per year

Manufacturing four or less trailers per year

When do changes come into effect?

Applications for vehicle type or concessional RAV entry approval are now open on ROVER, the new Commonwealth system for all approvals and activities under RVSA. To smooth the transition, manufacturers or importers of low ATM trailers can continue to ‘self-certify’ under Vehicle Standards Bulletin 1 (Revision 5) or continue to provide trailers under your existing Identification Plate Approval (IPA) up to 30 June 2023. Under these arrangements, trailers are not added to RAV but must continue to be fitted with trailer plates as per ADR 61/02. An application for approval via ROVER is not required.

From 1 July 2023, all trailers provided to market must have an approval and be recorded on the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV). Trailers not on RAV after this date may not be eligible for registration.

Note: From 30 April 2022, the Commonwealth will stop accepting applications via the Vehicle Import System.

Second Stage Manufacturers

From 1 July 2023, vehicle information required to register a vehicle will be located on the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV).

Second Stage Manufacture (SSM) vehicles will have multiple entries on the RAV.

The vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is used to search for the vehicle and all entries against that vehicle will appear on the RAV.

SSM vehicles will generally include two-line items in their listings on the RAV. The first line item will be the type approval for the primary vehicle and the second will be the type approval for the second stage manufacture. When searching for vehicle in the RAV using a VIN, always use the most recent entry in the RAV.

More information

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts is managing the RVSA implementation, RAV, ROVER and approval processes.

Useful links and contact details are listed below:

Industry guidance

Road Vehicle Standards Act (RVSA)

How to guide


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