Nine years ago, the Queensland recreational motoring community tried to change the vehicle modification standards for lifted 4WD vehicles, to allow modifications based on variable limits in order to calculate each of the wheel, suspension and body block components, rather than the current NCOP / QCOP fixed limits, through Queensland E-Petition 1975 (2012). Unfortunately, the petition was unsuccessful, which lead to nine years of engagement with Department of Transport and Main Roads bureaucrats, and lobbying ministers and political parties to get these, and other modification issues addressed… We all remember Operation Lift in 2018.
We are now pleased to advise that after much engagement, particularly with our national Time To Align campaign over the last three years, Queensland Labor have just made the biggest commitment to the recreational motoring community and aftermarket industry, during their state conference held at the Brisbane Exhibition Center over the 5-6 June 2021 weekend.
With the assistance of Jane Cartwright from Ford Rangerettes Official and The Hon Mark Bailey MP, two key motions were submitted and passed at the ALP State Conference, in order to be added to the Queensland Labor State Platform, which is the underlying policy document which the Labor party uses to focus government activities and initiatives; this does not mean the motions are automatically adopted across government departments, but they form the basis for discussion and engagement.
The first motion means Queensland Labor now recognises incorporated motoring clubs and associations as an essential element in the wider Queensland community with the activities they undertake as volunteer / not-for-profit groups, and a commitment to ensure they are properly engaged and consulted when developing / reviewing any regulatory areas which affect their communities.
|Title of Motion:
Recognise Incorporated Motoring Club / Association Activities and Beneﬁts to Society
Labor believes the recognition, engagement and promotion of incorporated motoring clubs and associations is essential to building a better culture of motoring and trade skills across younger members of the community and supports a strong automotive aftermarket industry. Labor commits to maximising opportunities for the participation of incorporated motoring clubs and associations in the development and review of regulatory areas which directly affect their communities and the aftermarket industry.
Preamble / Explanative Text:
Incorporated motoring clubs run community events, raise funds for charities, engage in environmental programs, coordinate many social activities, share knowledge and experience, and are a leading example within the community. For example, 4WD Queensland Association has been cleaning up Fraser Island (K’gari) for over 20 years removing tons of ocean-spread rubbish, are a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) providing specialist training, and have also established / signed a formal collaborative deed with QPWS, in order to develop and co-operate ventures that assist QPWS with management objectives and provide the opportunity for 4WD Queensland Association to develop a range of environmental management projects between Queensland 4WD Clubs and QPWS regional bases – adopt-a-track and clean-up activities to name a few.
The second motion re-affirms Queensland Labor’s pre-election commitment they gave ARMA prior to the 2020 state election, to re-focus the MOCC to allow the motoring community to identify vehicle modification issues which exist in our state NCOP / QCOP regulations, and look at the best option available to align issues between states, but more importantly, we now have a party commitment / process where the motoring community, automotive aftermarket industry and engineering associations, can create alternate testing criteria, where testing facilities are not readily available to all Queenslanders.
For example, the testing currently mandated by TMR / NCOP for ESC based modifications (vehicle lifts) can only be undertaken in Victoria at a cost of $15K per test – this does not guarantee a pass, and the cost of testing is out of reach of the general motoring community. This motion allows discussion around the development of an alternate testing process / criteria, which can be undertaken by the majority of Queenslanders at a reasonable fee, while still providing a level of certainty around vehicle safety and ESC functionality. It also allows discussion on International standards to be used by engineers, which may not be ADR or UNECE aligned… i.e. like the US FMVSS standards.
Wider Availability of Recreational Vehicle Testing Services
Labor re-affirms its election commitment to re-focus the Motoring Organisations and Car Club (MOCC) forum and carry out a review of the current Queensland vehicle modification standards with a view to ensure best alignment with other Australian jurisdictions, and a view to provide safe, practical and affordable modification standards and testing criteria / certification, which can be developed through the Queensland motoring community, automotive aftermarket industry and mechanical engineers, using Federal Australian Design Rules, published Australian Standards and equivalent Internationally recognised design, test and certification standards.
Preamble / Explanative Text:
There is a National Code of Practice (NCOP) and Queensland Code of Practice (QCOP) which stipulate design, engineer and testing criteria for modiﬁcations to recreational vehicles, however, some of the mandated testing facilities for recreational vehicles, are not available in Queensland, they are diﬀerent to those of other states / territories, or they are extensively cost prohibitive, this pushes the reasonable price for recreational modiﬁcations out of reach of the general public.
The Australian automotive aftermarket industry and mechanical engineers require the ability to generate alternate vehicle testing criteria, which provides conﬁdence in the safe use of modiﬁed vehicles for on-road and oﬀ-road use. The testing criteria needs to be easily implemented and operated without excessive cost of equipment to the testing companies, and ﬂow-on testing and certiﬁcation pricing to the general public. Any alternate testing criteria will also need to take into account the ease of access to locations, roads, closed tracks and dedicated facilities, which will be able to cater for the proposed testing to be undertaken.
These are exciting times ahead, Queensland Labor’s commitment goes a long way to start the discussions on many of the issues the majority of our Queensland motoring communities face, it will be good to finally address some of the bureaucratic red tape and stranglehold.