Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien yesterday announced an overhaul of the vehicle roadworthiness system, describing it as a “red-tape blitz” that could save taxpayers up to $73 million a year.
The Victorian Government has instructed VicRoads to examine its proposed changes, which include removing roadworthy certificate inspections for vehicles less than three and five years old, and developing a shorter safety test to reduce the costs involved.
O’Brien said the changes would result in “significant savings in time, convenience and money” for vehicle owners changing over vehicles.
“Most companies and fleet operators change over their vehicles regularly and there will be significant savings for them if they don’t have to get a roadworthiness certificate every time there’s a change of ownership,” O’Brien said.
“If you have a newer car, which has been regularly serviced, it’s unlikely there would be any need to check many of the items which are standard for a roadworthiness test.
“This would reduce the time required for a roadworthy, which should lead to a reduction in the cost, which is currently around $150.
“Buyers or sellers of newer cars will still be able to choose to have a broader safety inspection done if they wish.”
But VACC executive director David Purchase – frustrated not to have been consulted about the proposed policy change before it was announced – dismissed the changes to the roadworthy certificate system.
“This is nonsense on so many different levels,” Purchase said.
“From a consumer point of view, the roadworthy is an official procedure carried out by a Licensed Vehicle Tester (LVT). Car buyers and sellers support the current process because knowing a vehicle has been checked by a LVT prior to purchase and sold with a roadworthy certificate provides peace of mind for all parties.”
He said the proposed changes threatened to create a situation where there were more unsafe vehicles on the road.
“Vehicles currently sold with a roadworthy certificate are deemed safe vehicles,” Purchase said.
“Apart from VACC’s voluntary check of a vehicle’s critical safety features during a service, the roadworthy inspection on transfer is one of the few opportunities to check the condition of the vehicle. Without it, more unsafe vehicles will be driven on Victoria’s roads.”
O’Brien said the government would not change its requirement for inspections of items like tyres or brakes, insisting accident statistics showed they were the most likely cause of defect-related crashes.
But he said the government believed the roadworthy test could be retargeted to provide savings for all vehicle owners without impacting on road safety.
“Despite the difference between the roadworthiness testing regimes across Australia, there is little evidence to suggest there is any significant difference in defect-related crash rates between states,” O'Brien said.
VicRoads will consult the community by putting out a discussion paper outlining the main arguments and options, calling on recommendations from industry and the public.
The roadworthiness review is one of several initiatives to be implemented by VicRoads in the coming months as part of the government’s pledge to reduce red tape by 25 per cent.