Frequently asked questions
NSW Heavy Vehicle Registration Changes 2018
What changes are being made?
There were a number of changes to NSW registration from 1 July 2018:
- New national heavy vehicle number plates are being introduced with a nationally consistent number plate fee of $25
- Common registration expiry dates can be established for two or more heavy vehicles through the Common Expiry Date (CED) Scheme (previously minimum number was 10 heavy vehicles)
- Heavy vehicle registration labels are being abolished
- The Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) is being closed by the Australian Government.
Why are these changes being implemented?
- These changes are being implemented nationally as part of reforms to improve national consistency in the operation of heavy vehicles.
Are the changes Australia wide?
- The changes are being implemented by all jurisdictions except Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
- The national heavy vehicle number plates will be recognised across the nation. If you are travelling from NSW to Western Australia or Northern Territory, enforcement agencies will recognise the national heavy vehicle plates.
Will anything change in how I register my vehicle?
- No. State based road agencies will continue to manage and administer vehicle registration services such as new registrations, renewals and changes to registration details.
Will there be any additional registration fees as a result of the changes?
- No. There are no additional registration fees. The road and regulatory components of heavy vehicle registrations are agreed nationally based on recommendations put forward by the National Transport Commission. NSW registration fees remain unchanged. All issuing states, including NSW have agreed to a $25 fee for the new national heavy vehicle number plates.
If they are national number plates, can I register or obtain one through the NHVR? Can I order national heavy vehicle number plates online?
- No. NSW will continue to be responsible for all heavy vehicle registration services and current NSW registration processes apply. If you wish to change to national heavy vehicle number plates you must attend a Service NSW service centre in person to surrender your current number plates.
Do the registration changes impact my enrolment in the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) for mass and/or maintenance?
- No. the change of registration details does not affect a heavy vehicle in the NHVAS as long as it has been completed within the required timeframes.
Are heavy vehicles still considered to be enrolled in the NHVAS between changing from FIRS to state registration, which requires the submission of an amendment form with the NHVR?
- The operator must notify the NHVR within 14 days when there is a change to any details of the nominated heavy vehicle. The add/delete/amend form is available on the NHVR website.
- The NHVAS vehicle label does not need to be replaced and there is no cost associated with this amendment.
Where can I find more information?
- Additional information on these changes is available on the Transport for NSW website and NHVR website.
National Heavy Number Plates
When will the new national heavy vehicle number plates be issued?
A new national heavy vehicle number plate was issued in NSW from 1 July 2018 whenever:
- A new heavy vehicle is being registered
- An unregistered heavy vehicle is re-registered
- A heavy vehicle that doesn’t already have national heavy vehicle number plates is transferred to NSW registration
- A lost, damaged, destroyed or stolen number plate is replaced
- An operator chooses to change to a national heavy vehicle number plate
- A vehicle registered under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) is re-established as a NSW registered vehicle.
Will the new national heavy vehicle number plates be required for all heavy vehicles?
No. In NSW, the new national heavy vehicle number plates will not be issued to heavy tow trucks, buses and heavy vehicles registered under the NSW Conditional Registration Scheme. Operators of existing heavy vehicle registrations can choose to retain their NSW number plates (including personalised and custom plates)
Note: The NSW Conditional Registration Scheme allows limited access to the NSW road network to certain vehicles that do not comply with the Australian Design Rules and vehicle standards. Only the vehicles listed in the NSW Conditional Registration Vehicle Sheets may be registered under the NSW Conditional Registration Scheme. Please refer to the Conditional Registration Vehicle Sheets
What if I have NSW custom and personalised plates, can I keep them?
Yes. If your vehicles are garaged in NSW, you will be able to keep your personalised or custom NSW plates (or apply for additional ones) even after the national heavy vehicle number plate is introduced.
Can I apply for personalised number plates if I am registering a new heavy vehicle in NSW?
Yes. NSW customers will still be able to elect to register their heavy vehicles and obtain custom or personalised number plates through MyPlates. Standard MyPlates fees will apply in this situation.
Can I keep my NSW yellow and black number plates?
Yes. Any heavy vehicles registered in NSW will be able to keep their yellow and black number plates with each registration renewal. If yellow and black number plates are lost, stolen or damaged to the point of requiring replacement after 1 July 2018, you will receive the national heavy vehicle number plate as replacement plates.
Can I change my current NSW yellow and black plates to the new national heavy vehicle number plates?
Yes. You will need to visit a Service NSW service centre and hand in your yellow and black number plates. You will be charged the $26.15 national heavy vehicle plate fee to obtain the new national heavy vehicle plates. They must go onto the same vehicle and your registration records will be updated with your new national heavy vehicle number plate details.
Will I have to change my national heavy vehicle number plates when I re-register in another jurisdiction?
No. National heavy vehicle number plates can remain on the vehicle when the same registered operator applies to register that vehicle in another jurisdiction. There is no need for you to purchase new national heavy vehicle number plates.
If you apply for registration in a non-participating jurisdiction, (Northern Territory or Western Australia), you will need to surrender your national heavy vehicle number plates and you will be issued with state-based number plates.
Will my tolling tags still work?
Yes. But you are responsible for contacting your toll-tag provider and updating your registration details on your toll tag account.
Are there any impacts to my CTP insurance?
No, when you pay your CTP insurance it will be linked to your number plate.
What if I seasonally register my heavy vehicle and it is unregistered for periods of time? What is required with the national heavy vehicle plates?
Seasonally registered heavy vehicles will experience no change. Existing NSW number plates can be retained unless the new national heavy vehicle plates are requested. If the registration has expired for more than 12 months you’ll need to apply for new registration. You will need to surrender your current number plates at a Service NSW service centre and you will receive national heavy vehicle number plates.
Common Expiry Date
What if I have a fleet of heavy vehicles?
The new system is making it easier for fleet operators by reducing the minimum number of vehicles eligible for the Common Expiry Date (CED) Scheme. The minimum number has been reduced from 10 in NSW to two heavy vehicles.
How can I register my vehicles in the Common Expiry Date Scheme?
Please contact the CED team on (02) 8837 0481 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and to arrange your bulk fleet registration
Why are registration labels being abolished?
The removal of registration labels has been agreed nationally to deliver benefits to industry through cost and productivity savings.
How will police know if my vehicle is registered if there is no label?
NSW Police use number plate recognition cameras to automatically detect if a vehicle is registered or unregistered. Fixed enforcement cameras can also detect unregistered vehicles.
How will I know when my vehicle is due for registration without a label?
You will continue to be sent registration reminder notices in the post when the registration is due for renewal.
Closure of the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS)
Are there limitations that apply on the carriage of goods or passengers between Australian jurisdictions for vehicles that transition from FIRS?
No. The limitations that applied under FIRS no longer apply for vehicles that transition to NSW registration. This includes vehicles that transition and carry the new national heavy vehicle number plate or those vehicles that transition to custom or personalised plates. This means that local, intrastate and interstate transport can be undertaken in accordance with NSW registration law.
When is the FIRS closing?
FIRS is closed to new entrants and renewals. Between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019 inclusive, heavy vehicles registered under FIRS will need to move to a state registration scheme upon expiry of FIRS registration. From 1 July 2019, FIRS will be closed to all operators.
What if I have a FIRS registration in NSW, how will the changes affect me?
Before your FIRS registration expires you will need to apply for NSW registration by visiting your nearest Service NSW service centre. You will need to surrender your FIRS registration number plates, and apply for NSW registration.
Will I need to have a vehicle inspection?
Current NSW registration heavy vehicle inspection requirements apply. If you are a current NSW registered FIRS operator there will be no changes to your current vehicle inspection requirements.
If my FIRS registration expired on or after 1 July 2018, can I transfer to NSW registration early?
Yes. You can visit a Service NSW service centre and transfer to NSW registration at any time.
Can I request custom or personalised number plates instead of the national heavy vehicle number plates?
You can request custom or personalised plates to replace your FIRS registration number plates. Standard myPlates fees will apply.
Will I have to pay stamp duty when I transfer my FIRS registrations to NSW registration?
No. FIRS vehicles with FIRS registration transitioning over to NSW registration before 30 June 2019 will be exempt from paying stamp duty if it is the same registered operator.
What fees are involved to transfer from FIRS to NSW registration?
FIRS registered vehicles will be exempt from paying stamp duty and the national heavy vehicle plate fee of $25 when transferred to NSW registration.
Standard NSW registration fees will still apply.
Will I need a registration label?
While your vehicle is registered under the FIRS you will be required to display your registration label until expiry of your FIRS registration.
My fleet vehicles are currently registered with the Common Expiry Date Scheme. Will they be automatically transferred over when I transfer my registrations to NSW?
If you are an existing FIRS operator who has vehicles enrolled in the Common Expiry Date (CED) Scheme, you will need to apply for NSW registration as outlined above and then request to have your vehicles enrolled onto the CED schedule by emailing email@example.com
I have over 10 vehicles in my fleet and they all expire on the same day. Does this mean I need to take my entire fleet off the road for a day to transfer their registration?
Vehicles will need to be taken off the road to allow you to remove and surrender your FIRS registration plates to a Service NSW service centre. You may do this at one time or stagger your fleet as long as you are re-registered on or before the date the FIRS registration expires.
How can I get help with my registration requirements?
All operators with heavy vehicles enrolled in FIRS will receive a letter from Transport for NSW before their registration expiry date providing information on registration requirements. FIRS customers may also contact Service NSW on 13 22 13 for further information and assistance.
Registration - general questions
What if there is an ownership dispute?
If the ownership of a vehicle is in dispute, Transport for NSW can refuse to register, transfer or cancel the registration. Ownership disputes are resolved in the Courts and Transport for NSW has no legal authorisation to act as an arbitrator. Transport for NSW, the Courts and the registered operator of the vehicle can request a restriction on dealings on the vehicle’s record. This means that the registration can be renewed but no other transactions are allowed.
Proving your identity
Proof of your identity is essential when dealing with Transport for NSW for many of our products and services. While our requirements may seem strict, they’re necessary to protect your identity and privacy, and to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our records. See proving your identity for more information.
What is a written-off vehicle?
A written-off vehicle is one that is damaged to such an extent that the insurer considers it uneconomical to repair, or the damage to the vehicle makes it unsafe for repair or registration. See Written-off vehicles for more information. It is essential that you are sure of the identity of the vehicle before buying it.
What are registration charges?
Registration charges apply to heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). Registration charges are calculated using the vehicle’s type, GVM, the number of axles and the vehicle’s nominated configuration. See registration charges for more information.
What is a special purpose vehicle?
A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is a vehicle built or permanently modified for a purpose other than the carriage of goods or passengers. Examples of SPVs include tractors, forklifts, road graders, cherrypickers and mobile cranes.
A vehicle is an SPV only if it meets all the criteria listed below. Plant vehicles that carry a load are classified as rigid trucks or trailers. A load is defined as any goods not necessary for the operation of the vehicle and includes water, bitumen, cement and billboards.
There are three categories of SPVs: Type P (Plant),Type T (Truck) and Type O (Overmass). An SPV vehicle must meet the following:
- Primary purpose: the vehicle is not built to carry passengers or goods as its main purpose (eg a tractor or mobile crane)
- Location of operation: the vehicle does not operate in a loaded capacity on a road (eg a cherrypicker)
- Permanence of construction: the equipment related to the function of the vehicle cannot be removed without major mechanical alterations (eg a permanently fixed air compressor or mobile generator).
Type P (Plant) is a special purpose vehicle that is built or permanently modified primarily for off road use, for use on a road related area or on an area of road that is under construction or repair.
These vehicles have minimal road use or are floated from site to site. Examples include agricultural tractors, self-propelled harvesters, bulldozers, backhoes, graders and front-end loaders.
Type T (Truck) is a special purpose vehicle that is built or permanently modified primarily for use on roads and has no axle or axle group loaded in excess of the mass limits. These are SPVs that are built on a truck chassis and include cherrypickers and mounted concrete pumps.
Note: Trailers which are SPVs, are classed as Type T (Truck) as they are primarily built for use on a road. Examples include air compressors and generators.
- Type O (Overmass) is a special purpose vehicle on a truck chassis that is built or permanently modified primarily for use on roads and has any axle or axle group in excess of the mass limits. Examples include mobile cranes and well-boring plant.
- If your vehicle meets the SPV criteria, you should choose the nominated configuration of SPV Type P (SPP), SPV Type T (SPT) or SPV type O (SP2) in Section 3 of the Description of Heavy Vehicle form. You should also complete Section 6 of this form to determine if the vehicle is eligible to be classified as an SPV.
How do I register a mobile crane?
To register a mobile crane with a GVM over 4.5 tonnes, an Application to Register a Special Purpose Vehicle (PDF, 256.42 KB), verified and signed by an Transport for NSW Inspector (Vehicle Regulation), must be sent to the Manager, Vehicle Standards and Compliance, Transport for NSW, Locked Bag 928, North Sydney NSW 2059.
You will receive a letter from Vehicle Standards and Compliance either confirming approval or non approval to register the vehicle. Approved applications will be issued with an approval number.
When you attend a registry or service centre you will need to produce the following documents:
- Approval letter from the Manager, Vehicle Standards and Compliance and all other relevant documents requested in the letter
- Proof of your identity
- Proof of Registration Entitlement
- A completed Application for Registration form (PDF, 202.88 KB)
- A completed Description of Heavy Vehicle form
Note: If you are importing a non-complying mobile crane from overseas - please contact Vehicle Standards and Compliance to gain approval in principle before you purchase it.
Important: Mobile cranes are also subject to special road access conditions – see road access –mobile cranes for information.
What is seasonal registration?
Seasonal registration is a special registration scheme for harvest and over-snow vehicles, allowing registration to coincide with harvest and snow seasons. The length of registration varies with the length of the season and can be three-monthly periods (quarters) or six-monthly periods.
The inspection process to register heavy vehicles solely for seasonal use varies from the normal heavy vehicle inspection requirements. For further information, call 13 22 13.