The Story So Far – by Rod Amos

In late 2005, VicRoads advised AOMC and other motor club organisations of their intention to review of a number of aspects of the Club Permit Scheme (CPS). A formal Discussion Paper was issued soon after this and comment invited on their initial, broad proposals.

These included some relatively minor matters regarding plates –some of which have already been implemented- and a series of major initiatives to alter core aspects of the operation of the scheme. The scheme had been running in basically the same from since the nineteen sixties, as a means of allowing vehicles over 25 years of age to be operated by members of approved clubs for use in club events and other activities and in preparation for such use. Difficulties were being experienced in enforcing the scheme’s regulations due to lack of clear definitions and some risks of abuse of the scheme required a more thorough set of regulations. These concerns gave rise to proposals in four main areas;

  • Introduction of a log book system for users
  • Changes to assist clubs in defending against abuse of the scheme and to provide VicRoads with powers to suspend clubs or owners found to abuse the scheme
  • More effective definition of Replica vehicles
  • More clearly defined inspection requirements for modified vehicles

AOMC, together with the Street Rod Federation, have maintained a high level of focus on these issues on behalf of their members and have been very active in responding to VicRoads with concerns about aspects of the proposals and with suggestions to improve the concepts being considered. The initial Discussion Paper was commented upon very extensively by AOMC in 2005 and the views of member clubs were actively canvassed to ensure we reflected the views of the grass roots motoring world.

The key concept of a log book-based system to monitor usage is viewed by AOMC as a practical way to sustain the concept of limited use (and concessional cost) in keeping with the hobby nature of old vehicle activity. Moreover, it makes possible the incidental use of old vehicles and their servicing, repairing and testing, without the present uncertainties deriving from “grey” areas of legal definition. AOMC’s view is that it is fair, it is conducive to the growth and general health of the old car movement and it is a practical method of monitoring usage, best serving clubs and owners. The changes proposed for tightening the legal/regulatory framework to protect the scheme’s integrity are clearly in the interests of all legitimate users. Proposals to better define replicas will help to resolve the question of certain vehicles which have sought inclusion but which are clearly outside the scope of a scheme intended for old vehicles. Finally, the clarification of an inspection regime for modifications will make for a clear set of guidelines for clubs and owners.

Since the first detailed response by AOMC to VicRoads we have sought opportunities to follow up with further explanation of the points we have put forward. Following the first Discussion Paper, a second version was released in 2006, to which AOMC again responded in considerable detail. Since then we have continued to seek regular contact to ensure that our concerns and suggestions are clearly conveyed and enlarged upon where necessary. Throughout this process we have found the attitude and approach from VicRoads to be consultative and open to reasonable suggestions. AOMC’s input has been focussed on a number of aspects of the operation of a log book scheme and we have put forward alternative proposals regarding log book format, the information to be recorded and the administrative aspects of club verification of eligibility. Perhaps the most important area of our input has been the proposal for optional periods (90 and 45 days) to accommodate the needs of little-used vehicles and owners of multiple vehicles. In respect of Replica vehicles we have suggested definitions which we believe will solve the problem of inappropriate modern-type vehicles relying on a “retro” style to gain entry to the scheme. We have strenuously sought scope in the approach to modifications that would recognise the special nature of older vehicles and the inapplicability of standing regulations aimed at modern-type vehicles being imposed on old vehicles. Our view is that a code of practice needs to be developed which would fit the historic and engineering context of cars from earlier eras.

The present state of play is that a final Paper recommending changes to the scheme has been completed. We are hopeful that these final proposals include all of the major points we have sought to present. This paper will now be reviewed internally by senior management at VicRoads prior to being released for comment. It is worth recalling that VicRoads is an organisation which has been subject to significant upheaval and change during the time of this review. It should also be recalled that the scheme review has been of a lesser priority than some other issues being dealt with by that organisation in the past two years. Furthermore, much of the management structure has been changed (and is still in flux) so it is not clear how quickly the internal review process will take place. AOMC will continue to monitor the process and will report to its members as new developments unfold

Rod Amos