Update: NSW GVM Upgrade changes withdrawn… temporarily.
Further to the story previously published on 30 April, 2020 on RV Daily titled NSW changes GVM upgrade rules, literally overnight, Transport for NSW has now withdrawn the GVM upgrade changes outlined in Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme (VSCCS) Notice 17.
The original RV Daily article was prompted when a reader sent in a copy of ‘VSCCS Notice 17 – Conditions to increase axle mass ratings above the vehicle manufacturer’s ratings’, to our sister site, Unsealed 4X4, dated 20 April, 2020.
According to the 4×4 aftermarket industry, VSCCS Notice 17 suggested that there was a change to the rules that limited post-registration GVM upgrades in NSW to the vehicle’s axle mass rating. Under the industry interpretation of VSCCS Notice 17, in the case of a Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series already registered in NSW, for example, GVM upgrades of 4000kg or more would no longer be permitted; the maximum permitted would be 3650kg.
Furthermore, the industry, through the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), said VSCCS Notice 17 was issued without any industry consultation.
On 4 May, 2020, Transport for NSW responded to Unsealed 4X4’s enquiries on the matter, stating that VSCCS Notice 17 was nothing more than a clarification of existing requirements listed in Vehicle Standards Bulletins VSB14 and VSB6 pertaining to post-registration GVM Upgrades.
A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said: “Vehicle safety is vital to reduce the NSW road toll and make driving safer on our roads. The regulation around axle mass ratings has been in place since 2006. Axle loads can only be modified in specific situations and when approved by a qualified licensed certifier.
“The recent clarification issued by Transport for NSW seeks to ensure service providers are aware of the requirements. Transport for NSW will continue to work with licenced certifiers of the Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme to ensure vehicles adhere to safety requirements.”
The AAAA saw matters differently, stating that VSCCS Notice 17 was much more than a ‘clarification’. According to the AAAA, “VSB 14 is a National Code and Notice 17 is a new NSW interpretation of VSB 14”.
The AAAA went on to say Notice 17 also introduced a new condition regarding the installation of products “suitable for Australian Conditions”, which it claimed to be “an odd statement and an unqualified one”.
Of great concern to the AAAA was how Transport for NSW introduced VSCCS Notice 17 without consulting the industry, greatly affecting the companies that manufacture, supply and fit GVM upgrade kits to post-registration vehicles in NSW, as well as their customers.
The AAAA convened an online Forum on 6 May, 2020 to address the matter, after which Transport for NSW agreed to temporarily withdraw VSCCS Notice 17.
Transport for NSW distributed the following message to stakeholders on 7 May, 2020:
Transport for NSW wishes to advise that VSCCS Notice 17 will be temporarily withdrawn.
A sub-working group made up of stakeholders from the vehicle standards working group will be engaged to develop additional guidance material.
Certifiers are still required to comply with the registration regulations, including VSB6 and VSB14.
Following this process, Transport for NSW will then re-publish VSCCS Notice 17 with the additional guidance materials developed in consultation with the sub-working group.
The withdrawal on VSCCS Notice 17 will no doubt allay the fears of NSW four-wheel drivers who have already fitted a GVM upgrade to their post-registered vehicles.
*Note: VSCCS Notice 17 did not apply to vehicles produced by Second Stage Manufacturers (i.e. vehicles fitted with a GVM upgrade by a second stage vehicle manufacturer prior to first registration). It only pertained to already-registered vehicles in NSW.