Road Safety

In Australia’s federal system, government responsibilities for road safety vary across jurisdictions. 

The Australian Government is responsible for regulating safety standards for new vehicles, and for allocating infrastructure resources, including for safety, across the national highway and local road networks. 

State and territory governments are responsible for funding, planning, designing and operating the road network; managing vehicle registration and driver licensing systems; and regulating and enforcing road user behaviour. 

Local governments have responsibilities for funding, planning, designing and operating the road networks in their local areas. 

In addition to the work of the Office of Road Safety, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications performs a range of functions that support the Australian Government’s role in road safety. These include administering vehicle safety standards for new vehicles, administering the National Black Spot Program and other road safety funding and producing national road safety statistics. 

The Office of Road Safety provides national coordination and leadership across all levels of government to improve road safety outcomes. The Office implements and manages a range of road safety programs and projects to address the road safety priorities identified in the National Road Safety Strategy, working closely with all levels of government and industry (Office of Road Safety and the National Road Safety Strategy

The National Road Safety Strategy is a comprehensive plan aimed at reducing road accidents, injuries, and fatalities, and improving overall road safety across the nation. The key priorities of strategy are: 

  • Infrastructure planning & investment  
  • Vehicle safety  
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people  
  • Regional road safety  
  • Heavy vehicle safety  
  • Vulnerable road users  
  • Remote road safety  
  • Workplace road safety  
  • Risky road use 


A key component of the National Road Safety Strategy is that of vehicle safety, the Road Vehicle Standards Laws (RVSA), commenced on July 1, 2021, replacing the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.  

The Road Vehicle Standards Act establishes new arrangements for vehicle safety and environmental standards for vehicles entering the Australian market. It aims to improve road safety by ensuring that vehicles meet rigorous safety standards, regardless of whether they are imported or manufactured domestically. The act also sets requirements for the import and supply of used vehicles to maintain safety and emissions standards.