The ‘Time to Align’ campaign that has been spearheaded by the 4WD Australia Association, has now received a vast majority of support across all registered federal political parties, with just three out of 47 refusing to commit to supporting an alignment of the states’ modification laws. All major parties have confirmed their commitment, and the vast majority of the smaller parties.
The ‘Time to Align’ campaign should not be anything new to those with four-wheel drives, as the 4WD Associations for the different states, and indeed the overarching 4WD Australia Association have had this campaign gaining momentum for some time. Essentially what the campaign aims to achieve, is an alignment of modification laws across Australia, as opposed to state-by-state rules and regulations.
As an example, the most often spoken about set of rules – Vehicle Standards Bulletin (VSB 14) – is the federal set of rules that were implemented for vehicle modifications. The states have mostly adopted these rules, however are still able to pick and choose how to interpret and apply them (which they have). Essentially something that may be legal and self-certifiable in New South Wales, is deemed illegal and dangerous in Queensland, and attract fines and treatment under the anti-hooning laws. There is further concern with vehicle owners travelling interstate for work or holidays being fined and defected in another state, which has happened in Queensland, despite the Minister for Main Roads unequivocally confirming that this would not happen. Thus, the push for federally-aligned modification laws and requirements is at the forefront for many four-wheel drive owners at the moment.
Where the greater concern begins, however, is that despite having a federal commitment that it is time to align, it does still boil down to the state governments getting on board. In the image below, you’ll see the current responses received by 4WD Australia Association. It would seem, based on the information to hand, that the Liberal governments currently in control of the state governments, are more than happy to align to a national standard, whereas the Labor governments refuse to respond. Indeed Miles Brennan of 4WD Australia Association has requested many times to meet with Mark Bailey (Minister for Main Roads in Queensland – Labor Government), however has been ignored or rebutted on every attempt.
Something for the governments of each state to remember, is that there has never been more four-wheel drives in driveways across Australia. The Time to Align commitment is not being sought from the government to enable 4X4s to be running around the streets with six-inch lifts and 40-inch tyres. Instead it is about bringing all states in line together, with practical and safe modifications able to be undertaken by all owners, the mums and dads of Australia. Simply being able to raise your four-wheel drive enough to fit the next size up in tyre makes it illegal in some states, and deemed dangerous, yet is quite acceptable in others, and indeed government vehicles often have these same modifications.
When will things change? When will we receive a commitment from the states’ Labor governments that it’s time to align?