The Transport Agency appoints vehicle inspection organisations under the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002 (Rule). Under the Rule the Transport Agency can give weight as it considers appropriate to the applicant’s degree of financial or professional interest in importing or selling vehicles or vehicle parts, or in modifying or repairing vehicles; and the extent to which that interest, if any, is counterbalanced by other relevant factors.
The Rule recognises that conflicts of interest may be an important or decisive factor for determining the suitability of inspecting organisations and vehicle inspectors, and requires the Transport Agency to take these into account. Inspecting organisations may also be obliged to avoid, report, or manage conflicts of interest under their deeds and/or notices of appointment.
The Transport Agency’s current operational policy relevantly provides, in relation to assessing potential conflicts of interest, that:
- The Transport Agency will appoint vehicle inspectors and inspecting organisations to different categories of inspection and certification activities in ways that seek to ensure potential harms presented by any conflicts of interest are avoided. In some situations a conflict of interest may be sufficient grounds on its own for declining an application for certain activities.
- Used vehicle entry certification and border inspection are categories of inspection that require particular scrutiny from a conflicts of interest perspective. Persons applying to carry out these types of inspections must demonstrate that those activities will be separated from other related services.
An entry certifier (including parent and subsidiary organisations) must not have any ownership or financial interest in the vehicles being entry certified, unless they can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Transport Agency that a transparent and robust system is in place to negate any (real or perceived) conflict of interest, and to ensure accurate assessment of each vehicle is still undertaken.