Every state and territory government across Australia has separate vehicle modification legislation, which in turn, differs from the Australian Design Rules (ADR) for new vehicles. However, fully qualified and approved auto-mechanical engineers are allowed to certify modifications in accordance with the ADRs on brand new vehicles prior to them being first registered, using the federal Second Stage Manufacturing (SSM) scheme, yet undertaking the same types of modifications to the exact same type of vehicle after is has been registered by a state authority, will most likely be prohibited by the vehicle modification legislation of that state, rendering such modifications as illegal.

We see no logical reason why modifications which are approved under the federal SSM scheme, cannot be installed and certified on the exact same type of vehicles once they have been first registered. Many Australian’s who purchase vehicles for recreational or touring purposes, don’t have the money up front to pay for all the modifications needed over the lifetime of their vehicle, however they should have the freedom to undertake certified modifications at any time during the life of their vehicle, when their circumstances change, and they have the funds or the need to modify their vehicles.

ARMA has established a Vehicle Standards Working Group, with the vision to:

  • Represent the recreational motoring community’s vehicle modification requirements to state, territory and federal governments;
  • Provide technical input / guidance to Technical Advisory Councils (TAC) at each level of state, territory and federal government;
  • Enable legislative change based on safe, practical and affordable vehicle modification requirements and standards; and
  • Harmonise vehicle modification standards and reduce red tape for vehicle owners and engineers as much as possible.

The scope of the Vehicle Standards Working Group is to:

  • Manage the “Time To Align” campaign in order to achieve political party commitments prior to state, territory and federal elections;
  • To work with state, territory, and federal government agencies in order to improve vehicle standards and reduce red tape where practical;
  • Work with automotive industry partners to identify opportunities to collaborate on vehicle standards issues and improvements together;
  • Create Technical Advisory Councils (TAC) to work with each state, territory and federal transport agency and community stakeholders;
  • Work to harmonise vehicle modification standards across jurisdictions where possible;
  • Identify opportunities and work with police agencies in order to bring modified vehicle owners / clubs closer together;
  • Work with councils, police and local governments on guidance, remedial activities and legislation in regards to anti-hooning issues; and
  • Work with vehicle manufacturers and aftermarket industry partners to showcase modified vehicles in collaborative opportunities.

There is a lot to do here and there are many stakeholder groups across Australia. We have had significant success through the Time To Align campaign with political parties leading in to the elections over the last several years, and as we start to reach majority commitment from the parties and elected governments, we will need to gather as national community groups and peak bodies, in order to set the standards which meet the needs of our members and the communities we represent.