The Alfa Romeo was acquired by QVM in Launceston with partial funding from the National Cultural Heritage Account for retention in Australia as was the Innes by Australian Motorlife Museum, the Account was established by the Comm. Government in accordance with Section 25 of the PMCH Act 1986 to assist institutions to acquire nationally significant heritage objects. In legislating for a fund to assist with purchase in this sense then yes the Act provided some safety to those vehicles, and one other – the Holden 'No.1 Prototype', acquired by the National Museum of Australia in 2004. However the Account has apparently only secured 3 motor vehicles, of the 59 objects the Account has assisted with purchases between 2001 and 2015 10 are road going vehicles – the 3 motor cars, 6 steam traction engines and 1 oil engine tractor. (ref: http://arts.gov.au/movable/account/use)
The Holden, Innes and Alfa though are not really examples of protection by denial of an export permit under the Act. For the Innes no export permit was applied for, for the Alfa the Account assisted purchase averted the need for export, and similarly there presumably was no permit application for the Holden. Had however the assistive funding not been made available would an export permit have been denied say for the Innes or the Alfa, something to ponder considering the existing criteria in the PMCH Act? There are vehicles that have been allowed export permits that arguably have at the very least comparable or equal heritage significance to those two vehicles.
I realise that I was not precise enough in the comment “The old Act has protected a couple of lovely steam engines but to date not one motor vehicle, related artefact or historical document in 30 years!” I should have expanded that statement as I meant the protection afforded by listing on the Australian Movable Cultural Heritage Prohibited Exports Register which catalogues objects that are defined by the National Cultural Heritage Control List (Schedule 1 of the PMCH Regulations 1987) as Class B objects that have been denied an export permit, the Department’s webpage http://arts.gov.au/movable/export/register provides the list.
Not one motor car, truck (excl. steam) or motorcycle is cited on the Register of 95 heritage objects refused an export permit pre-2016 – though 15 are road going vehicles – 2 steam wagons (trucks), 2 oil/gasoline tractors and 11 steam traction engines – BUT no motor cars, trucks or motorcycles are listed on the currently published Prohibited Exports Register.
All credit to the steam, tractor and stationary engine groups for gaining some runs on the board with some traction engines, portables and tractors conserved by the National Cultural Heritage Account and/or the Prohibited Exports Register. If they have those machines thus protected from export it does beg the question - why no cars, trucks or motorbikes?
Considering the statistics above and the number of significant Australian vehicles now overseas, it makes one question the effectiveness of the old PMCH Act 1986.