I am the importer of one of the said "R" brands that you have been discussing. I won't use the word as I don't want the moderator to think I am advertising as I am not - I am wanting to inform.
You are correct - it is illegal to sell a child seat that is not approved by Standards Australia (SA).
We have been pursuing the approval of our "R" seats for around 3 years now. We have had appointments with Consultant Engineers who have all expressed varying reasons why the seat will not comply ie. latch speed, belts but they have all said one thing and that is the seats are too heavy for SA. All of the "R" seats comply to European Standards which is pretty much a worldwide approval except for AU. Most countries have an alterative law/standard to Europe.
We get atleast 2 enquiries a day regarding the R seats and I have a waiting list of 200 people waiting for any news of the seats. Cost definatley is not an issue when dealing with children.
I wanted to let you know that we have been trying, we want to sell them also. We have 2 gorgeous daughters, a 10 months old and a 5 year old that both sit in R seats. We know the advantages of them and we will not use anything else.
It is just not as easy as testing a seat in a crash test there is so much more that goes along with it. Europe and Australia test their seats differently.
However after discussions with SA, they state that Australia is the world leader in child restraints which is definatley hard to believe as 1) they allow foam boosters to be sold and 2) I have so unhappy parents calling and wanting alternatives in child retraints.
I now advise my customers to contact SA themselves and put in writing their disatifaction and questions tell the Child seat Committee that they are not happy.
There was a draft standard out last year and I emailed our customers with the public comment form and asked them if the were still unhappy with the range of child seats to send the form to SA - I was then told through SA that over 300 replies were received on the draft standard! We are now waiting on either another draft or another standard to be released.
Hope this answers a few questions for you - Lisa.