Australian regulations

The requirements for snow tyres and chains vary depending on your location in Australia, and they have undergone some recent changes. You can use the information below to guide you through these regulations.

Victorian wheel chain regulation changes for winter 2021

From November 17, 2020, The Victorian Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations 2020 now recognise snow tyres as “a tyre whose tread pattern, tread compound and structure are specifically designed to achieve better performance, on a road affected by snow or ice, than that of a normal tyre with regard to its ability to initiate, maintain or stop vehicle motion”. This means a snow tyre must be a dedicated winter tyre as per the tyre manufacturer’s specifications. By definition normal tyres, highway-terrain tyres, summer tyres, all-terrain tyres, off-road tyres, mud-terrain tyres and M+S tyres do not comply with the regulations.

The regulations also use an example regarding the fitment of snow chains: “A fit wheel chains sign could exempt vehicles that have snow tyres fitted to all wheels.” This indicates that there will be a provision for winter/snow tyre users to be exempt from the fitment of snow chains in certain circumstances.

Further to this, “wheel chains mean devices made up of chains in a diamond pattern that are designed to be fitted to wheels of a motor vehicle to increase the directional stability and traction of the wheels of that vehicle on a road affected by snow or ice.” By definition this precludes snow socks, ladder-pattern and spider chains.

You can read significant extracts and definitions from the Regulations below the following table.

Regulations in your area

Please note: information correct as at 31 March, 2021.
Changes to Permitted Chain Types came into effect 17 November 2020.
Please contact the relevant Victorian or NSW alpine area for more details.

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State NSW VICTORIA VICTORIA VICTORIA VICTORIA VICTORIA VICTORIA VICTORIA VICTORIA
Area Kosciuszko National Park Mt Buller Mt Buller – RMB Village Access (as at 31 March 2021, subject to review) Falls Creek Mt Hotham Mt Baw Baw Lake Mountain Mount Buffalo VicRoads Hazardous Areas (all) – Alpine: Bus, 12 + seats
Chains requirements
2WD Yes^ Yes No entry for 2WDs Yes Yes Yes* Yes* Yes Yes
AWD Not mandatory, but recommended Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes* Yes* Yes Yes
4WD Not mandatory, but recommended Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes* Yes* Yes Yes
Permitted chain types
Diamond pattern Yes Mandatory Mandatory Mandatory Mandatory Mandatory Mandatory Mandatory Must be approved diamond pattern
Ladder pattern Yes Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted
Spider chains Yes Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted
Snow socks Not Permitted on 2WD Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted Not Permitted
Winter/snow tyres – accepted: Recommended

 

Snow chains must still be carried & fitted when directed on 2WDs

Yes – see regulations above: “A fit wheel chains sign could exempt vehicles that have snow tyres fitted to all wheels.”

 

Diamond pattern wheel chains must still be carried & fitted when directed

“3PMSF Snow Tyres highly recommended, M+S as a minimum.”
(as at 31

March 2021, subject to review for 2021.

Diamond pattern wheel chains must still be carried & fitted when directed

Yes – see regulations above: “A fit wheel chains sign could exempt vehicles that have snow tyres fitted to all wheels.”

 

Diamond pattern wheel chains must still be carried & fitted when directed

Yes – see regulations above: “A fit wheel chains sign could exempt vehicles that have snow tyres fitted to all wheels.”

 

Diamond pattern wheel chains must still be carried & fitted when directed

Yes – see regulations above: “A fit wheel chains sign could exempt vehicles that have snow tyres fitted to all wheels.”

 

Diamond pattern wheel chains must still be carried & fitted when directed

Yes – see regulations above: “A fit wheel chains sign could exempt vehicles that have snow tyres fitted to all wheels.”

 

Diamond pattern wheel chains must still be carried & fitted when directed

Yes – see regulations above: “A fit wheel chains sign could exempt vehicles that have snow tyres fitted to all wheels.”

 

Diamond pattern wheel chains must still be carried & fitted when directed

“Open tread pattern tyres required.”

Diamond pattern wheel chains must still be carried & fitted when directed

Notes ^ Snow chains to ‘O’ NORM 5117 recommended   All vehicles entering MTB Village require 185mm ground clearance     * May vary for day visitors, please check daily snow report * May vary for day visitors, please check daily snow report    

Extracts and definitions from the 2020 Regulations

Significant extracts (taken from pages 25 – 26 of the regulations) are outlined below. Or you can download and read a full copy of the Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations 2020. (PDF, 368KB, 63 pages).

24) Requirement to carry wheel chains during the snow season

(1) Subject to subregulation (2), the driver of a motor vehicle who enters an alpine resort must at all times during the snow season carry in the motor vehicle wheel chains suitable to be properly fitted to that motor vehicle.

25) Requirement to fit wheel chains during the snow season

(1) The Board of an alpine resort may erect a sign or notice in an alpine resort during the snow season (a fit wheel chains sign), requiring the driver of a motor vehicle to ensure that wheel chains are properly fitted to that motor vehicle.
(2) The driver of a motor vehicle must not drive past a fit wheel chains sign unless—
(a) the motor vehicle is properly fitted with wheel chains; or
(b) the fit wheel chains sign exempts the class of motor vehicle the driver is driving from the requirement to fit wheel chains.
Example – A fit wheel chains sign could exempt vehicles that have snow tyres fitted to all wheels.

Definitions

On pages 24 – 25 of the Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations, the following definitions are given for wheel chains, snow tyres and 4WD-AWD vehicles

  • “wheel chains mean devices made up of chains in a diamond pattern that are designed to be fitted to wheels of a motor vehicle to increase the directional stability and traction of the wheels of that vehicle on a road affected by snow or ice.”

    NOTE: Ladder chains, spider chains and snow socks do not comply with this definition.
  • “snow tyre means a tyre whose tread pattern, tread compound and structure are specifically designed to achieve better performance, on a road affected by snow or ice, than that of a normal tyre with regard to its ability to initiate, maintain or stop vehicle motion.”

    NOTE: Normal tyres, Highway-Terrain tyres, Summer tyres, All-Terrain tyres, Off-road tyres, Mud-Terrain tyres & M+S tyres do not comply with this snow tyre definition. All Nokian snow & winter tyres comply with Victorian Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations 2020 definition of “snow tyre”
  • “4 wheel drive vehicle includes an all-wheel drive vehicle”

In its Regulatory Impact Statement (page 5) Victorian Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations 2020 also advise:

“Wheel chain provisions have been amended to align with forthcoming amendments to the Road Safety Road Rules 2017. These have been updated following consultation with VicRoads. 

The [Victorian] Road Safety Rules are anticipated to be amended soon in relation to wheel chains. Once this amendment occurs, the use of wheel chains [and snow tyres] will be managed entirely under the Road Safety Rules, and the parts of the Regulation that require the use of wheel chains [and snow tyres] will have no further practical effect.” 

The Victorian Department of Transport will release a Regulatory Impact Statement for public comment. This RIS will also look at the Hazardous Area Authority. You can download and read a full copy of the July 2020 Regulatory Impact Statement here (DOCX, 3.9MB, 56 pages).