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ANCAP future safe

Safety first: Despite previous flak from some media, car-makers and government, ANCAP's future has been safeguarded until 2018 with a new federal government grant.

Australia's leading car safety body secured with continued government funding

6 May 2016

THE future of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has been secured for at least the next two years, following another $2.2 million government grant that will allow the leading vehicle safety body to continue testing new cars on local soil.

The announcement puts to bed speculation that government support would be axed, following remarks in 2014 by the then industry minister Ian MacFarlane, who had doubts about the relevance of ANCAP after local automotive manufacturing ceases.

“I think that when we don't make cars in Australia from 2017, we should be looking at whether or not we need our own separate design rules,” he said.

“Especially when the European, or the Japanese, or the American rules are basically in line … and if the cars are coming from there, why do we need it.”

However, the federal government has elected to continue supporting ANCAP with the timely announcement coming during National Road Safety Week.

Mr MacFarlane's comments are not the only ones to previously question the significance of the organisation's operations, with several media outlets and car brands voicing similar sentiments the following year, but ANCAP hit back describing its work as “immensely successful”.

The minister for infrastructure and transport Darren Chester would appear to agree with the safety assessor, explaining that the safety rating applied to each tested vehicle allows customers to make an informed decision when choosing a car.

“Safety should be top-of-mind every time we get in our cars and Australians need to be mindful of the benefits of purchasing cars with high safety ratings,” he said in a statement confirming the grant.

“When purchasing a vehicle, it is important to remember that not all cars are created equal. The combination of a sound structure and good restraint systems will provide the best chance of survival in a crash. While cars with active safety technologies, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), could in fact prevent a crash altogether.”

ANCAP chair Wendy Machin said that the company was encouraged that the government had recognised the important work to improve the safety of cars sold in Australia with the ongoing support.

“This support, teamed with the long-term commitment of our other 22 member organisations, will further enhance our safety rating program as we move to ensure testing remains relevant over the next few years. Consumers will have greater information and choice which will encourage vehicle importers to ensure we have world best practice safety in our cars,” she said.

“The ANCAP program is evolving to keep pace with new safety technologies and the progression to vehicle automation. We are developing a new global test protocol with our European counterparts so that vehicle crash test data can be shared between the organisations from 2018.”

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