Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 8 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 2205..
I foreshadow that we will move an amendment to this bill which will make a consequential amendment to the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Act. The amendment is consequential to the government's decision to remove the requirement for vehicles, other than heavy vehicles, to display a registration label from 1 July 2013. While amendments to the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2000 will remove the requirement to display a vehicle registration label for vehicles other than heavy vehicles, the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Act 1999 makes it an offence to remove a registration label.
The proposed amendment will amend the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Act 1999 so that a person does not commit an offence if they remove a registration label from a vehicle that is no longer required to display the label. This amendment also removes the existing power that police officers and authorised people have to enter a light vehicle to remove a registration label that is expired or cancelled. This power is no longer required now that light vehicles do not have to display registration labels.
This policy reform has been made possible due to improved police technology, which allows police to use on-the-spot RAPID numberplate identification technology to automatically check a vehicle's registration status. Removing the requirement for the registration labels brings the ACT in line with a number of other states across Australia where the requirement for registration labels for light vehicles has already been phased out, including New South Wales, where the requirement for light vehicle registration labels was removed from 1 January this year.
This does not mean that the general requirement that all vehicles driven on public roads must be registered has been removed. That requirement still remains. While registration labels provide an indication that a vehicle is registered, a registration label cannot be relied on as proof of registration. In some instances labels have been found to be fraudulent and there are cases where a person pays for their registration, receives a label and subsequently the payment is dishonoured, meaning the vehicle is unregistered but displaying a current label.
Light vehicle owners will continue to receive registration renewal reminder notices and registration certificates. However, they will no longer be issued with, nor be required to display, a registration label on their vehicle. These changes will not apply to heavy vehicles, defined as vehicles or trailers that have a gross vehicle mass of 4½ tonnes or more. The road transport authority will continue to issue registration labels for heavy vehicles and it will still be an offence for operators of heavy vehicles not to display these labels.
This change was a recommendation from the government's Red Tape Reduction Panel. The Red Tape Reduction Panel was established by the government as part of its ongoing efforts to support a diverse and successful private sector. The panel has a mandate to identify regulation that imposes unnecessary burdens, costs or disadvantage on business activity in the ACT and recommend ways to remove and improve outdated, unworkable and illogical regulation. It is outcomes oriented, focusing on specific problems facing individual businesses, with a mandate to engage across government and fix regulatory matters that do not work or do not make sense.