I have been dealing with the Australian Legislative System with regard to motor vehicles for over 30years, specifically in relation to certification and homologation of vehicles under the Australian Design Rules. I still sit on the Technical Committee of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries on behalf of several major new vehicle manufacturers as a consultant.
In business I’ve come up against many problems, which people have had with respect to the importation of used vehicles, and offer the following advice.
The current arrangements are very clear and easy to follow.
The most important aspect is to not buy a car on impulse and to make absolutely certain that the vehicle you want to buy can firstly, be imported and secondly, used on public roads. It is an offence under the Motor Vehicles Standard Act to illegally import a vehicle.
It is not difficult to import a vehicle, which was manufactured prior to 1 January 1989. Any vehicle later than this would need to meet specific criteria with regard to it’s compliance with Australian Design Rules and may require specialised testing and approval.
Modified cars, replica cars, hot rods, specials and/or any re-manufactured vehicle would be considered to be individually constructed and their date of manufacture would be considered to be the date at which it was completed in its current form. For example, a 1934 Ford sedan fitted with a modern V8 engine, Jaguar rear end , disc brakes etc. and constructed in 2005 is NOT a 1934 Ford. It is an individually constructed vehicle and would be subjected to those restrictions and/or regulations in force in 2005.
Before proceeding with any import, do your homework. Don’t rely totally on information from anyone selling a car, especially if they are not residents of Australia. Contact the Imports section of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Services and Local Government. Full details are provided on their website at; http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/vehicle_regulation/bulletin/importing_vehicles/general/index.aspx
This is an excellent guide to importing a vehicle and is explained in very simple terms. It also has useful links and the import documents can be downloaded from this site as well.
You will also need to make certain that the vehicle can be registered and advice should be sought from the NSW RTA. Also have an import agent sort out the detail for Customs clearance. All contact details are on the Department of Infrastructure website.
Remember, it’s your car and your responsibility. Do not falsify documents and make sure that you are clear on the detail provided by the authorities in regard to bringing the car into Australia. The authorities will be extremely helpful if you are honest in your dealings and provide everything they need to assist you.
John Lindsay - CMC Delegate MG Car Club Sydney