Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation

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

The new legislation will commence on 1 July 2021. Corresponding changes to NSW Road Transport legislation will be timed to align with the Australian Government changes. 

From that day, a 12-month transitional period will begin, during which transitional arrangements will be in place that allow some approval holders to continue operating under existing approvals. 

What’s changing?

The new RVS legislation will change the way vehicle manufacturers apply for approvals to import vehicles into Australia. This includes the introduction of Authorised Vehicle Verifiers for Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS) vehicles, replacing the current Commonwealth Road Vehicle Certification System with the new Road Vehicle Regulator (ROVER) system and providing a new pathway for component approvals.

Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV)

One of the most significant changes will be that new vehicles will be required to be entered on the new Register of Approved Vehicles (the ‘RAV’) rather than having a vehicle identification (compliance) plate attached. This is intended to streamline the supply of new vehicles to market. All the information that was previously contained on the identification plate will now be on the RAV. The vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN) will be used to search for the corresponding RAV entry.

The RAV will be a publicly searchable online database of vehicles approved for use on Australian roads, which will replace the need for identification plates on vehicles.

Register of Approved Vehicless search - showing old and new
Register of Approved Vehicles Search - showing old and new

For more information about the RAV please see the Australian Government's Road Vehicle Standards Register of Approved Vehicles Guide.

What this means for dealers

There should be no significant impact to dealers with the introduction of the new RVSA.

From 1 July 2021, dealer vehicle inspectors may be presented with a vehicle without an identification (compliance) 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, and in the majority of cases, 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 Australian Government’s advice about Importing 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, as is the current situation, not all will be allowed to be registered in NSW. VSI No. 4 will be updated to reflect these changes.

No compliance date - exceptions

Please note that some older vehicles, such as pre-Australian Design Rules (ADR) vehicles and vehicles not designed for road use, never had identification plates. Also, there are no foreseeable impacts 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

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

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