IMPORTANT CHANGES! – Planned Government reforms to motor vehicle importation laws from 2018
Planned changes to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, announced by the Australian Government, will give more choice for car buyers. Consumers will get more choice in three main ways:

  • A consumer will be able to personally import a new car or motor cycle from another country with comparable standards to Australia’s (e.g Japan and UK), up to once every two years, if specified conditions are met. The vehicle must be a motorcycle or right hand drive passenger vehicle, be no more than 12 months old and have no more than 500km on the odometer.
  • The changes will improve the existing arrangements for importing exotic, rare, classic, collectible and special purpose vehicles. The new rule will allow a vehicle which is at least 25 years old to be imported under these arrangements.
  • Removal of $12,000 special duty on imported used vehicles (which is removed if you have a Vehicle Import Approval anyway)

Legislation is currently being drafted for introduction into Parliament.The reforms will commence 12 months after the passage of legislation, with a transition period to enable businesses to adapt to new arrangements. The personal new vehicle imports scheme will commence in 2018.
The vehicle must be a motorcycle or right hand drive passenger vehicle, be no more than 12 months old and have no more than 500km on the odometer.

The method for clearing vehicles arriving or departing Australia will vary depending on its purpose in Australia and how it arrives. Methods for transporting motor cars international include;

Department of Planning & Infrastructure – Vehicle Import Approvals

Every vehicle or trailer designed for use on roads and imported into Australia (Other than Temporary CPD/ATA Carnet) will require a vehicle import approval from the Department of Planning & Infrastructure to enable customs clearance. Not all vehicles or trailers are eligible for an import approvals, certain Passenger Motor Vehicles manufactured after Dec 1988 cannot be imported unless;

  • You have owned and used the vehicle overseas for a continuous period of 12 months or more, and meet any other requirements from the department of planning and infrastructure.
  • The vehicle is listed on the RAWS website (SEVS register) and that a RAW either has the vehicle on its schedule of approved vehicles or is prepared and able to add it. The SEVS register only covers vehicles which were not released in Australia as a new vehicle.

We suggest phoning the Department of Planning & Infrastructure on 1800 815 272 to determine your eligibility prior to purchasing your vehicle, and obtaining the Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) prior to shipping. Check out for further information

Method of Customs Clearance – Home Consumption

Entering for Home Consumption – Typically used in cases where an vehicle will be imported and kept in Australia on a temporary (not included under provision of S162/S162A of the Customs Act) or permanent basis for the first time. The value of the car will be determined by;

  • The transaction value if this car was purchased for the purpose of importing to Australia; or
  • By the current market value of the vehicle in Australia as determined by the customs motor vehicle valuation expert.

Customs Taxes – Customs collect several taxes in relation to passenger motor vehicles on behalf of the ATO these include Customs GST, Customs Duty & Luxury Car Tax. All imports are generally subject to Customs GST, one main exemption is re-imported passenger motor vehicles where GST was originally paid in Australia, prior to export. Car or Vehicle Duty Rates is generally 5% of the FOB value of the vehicle, there are some exemptions to paying Customs Duty such as those cars which are 30 years or older.

Luxury Car Tax

Luxury Car Tax (LCT) is payable when the Landed value of the car exceeds AUD$ 65,094, when this occurs LCT is payable at a rate of 33% for each dollar thereafter that exceeds this threshold. However it should be noted that Fuel efficient luxury cars have a higher LCT threshold. Fuel Efficient Luxury Cars are defined as having a fuel consumption of 7 litres per 100 kilometres or less as a combined rating under vehicle standards in force under section 7 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. Luxury Cars that meet this standard are considered to be Fuel Efficient Luxury Cars and have a LCT threshold of AUD$ 75,526.

Method of Customs Clearance – CPD or ATA Carnet

Entering as a Temporary Importation would allow for clearance of the vehicle without payment of security in Australia if the goods were arriving with ATA or CPD Carnet. The benefits of using a Carnet is that you can travel through multiple countries without having to put down multiple securities with those governments instead a security is taken initially to issue the Carnet overseas. However the downside is that manual processing of the document is required at Customs House both when you arrive and when you leave. For further information please contact us.

Method for Customs Clearance – S162 Temporary Import

Entering as a Temporary Importation under S162 of the Customs Act the following prescribed persons/goods/purposes as cited on S124(1)(b) of the Customs Regulations;

(i) specialised equipment or tools to be used in exploration, production, manufacture, repair or modification, and included in a class of goods mentioned in paragraph 125 (2) (a); and
(iii) goods imported for use at a public exhibition or entertainment, not being cinematography films of a kind usually used for profit, or theatrical costumes, scenery or property; and
(iv) testing or evaluation equipment;

Goods entered under S162 are done so with prior permission from Customs and payment of a fully refundable security upon exportation of the goods. It should also be noted that temporary imports are normally limited to stay in Australia for up to a 12 month period from import clearance/arrival.

Quarantine for Imported Vehicles

Quarantine refer to used vehicles on their BICON data base here. As part of these conditions each consignment must be clean and free of soil, seeds and other quarantine risk material prior to arrival in Australia. Important areas to check for contamination are;

  • wheels, muffler and muffler surrounds, wheel guards, mud guards
  • spare tyres and boot
  • engine bay and radiator
  • underside of the vehicle
  • interior of the vehicle

Department of Environment

The Department of Environment requires importers of equipment with pre-charged gas to apply for a Pre-charged Equipment License. Appliances which normally operate using pre-charged gas are air conditioning appliances and refrigeration equipment . Click here for more information

Freight Methods

  • Containerization
  • Roll on, Roll off service
  • Airfreight