In Australia all vehicles are registered in a State or Territory. It is called ‘The Registration’ or ‘The Rego’. Regulations vary from state to state which can make the process of buying and selling vehicles a bit complicated. Checkout our complete guide with all the information you might need on the ‘Rego’ to help you purchasing and selling a vehicle in Australia.
The Rego – What is it?
The ‘Rego’ is a document that identifies your vehicle. It is mandatory to have a valid Rego to drive a vehicle in Australia. The Rego must also be in the name of the owner of the vehicle, so it is necessary to transfer the Rego to your name when your purchase a Vehicle.
Compulsory insurance (CTP) is included with the Rego, except in New South Wales (NSW) where it is necessary to buy it separately from an insurance company when you renew the Rego. It is called a ‘green slip’. This insurance covers all bodily injury inflicted on a third person in the event of an accident. The CTP does not cover material damage so you should buy additional insurance.
In general it is best to buy a vehicle with a current Rego. However sometimes a vehicle is available without Rego or with a Rego about to expire and you will have to pay the Rego at time of purchase. The owner can choose the duration of the Rego (3, 6 or 12 months depending on the state).
Finally, to transfer the rego to your name you must go, in person, to the state/territory of registration to present your papers (except for Western Australia (WA) which is the only state that accepts documents by mail). So the transfer will be easier if you choose to buy a vehicle registered in WA.
Car Registration – How does it work?
The rules concerning the Rego differ from one state to another. It is therefore important to learn about the legislation of the state where you want to buy the vehicle. Some states require a mandatory technical checkup when renewing the Rego (NSW, NT) or when purchasing/selling (ACT, QLD, VIC). You must therefore be in the state at the time of the change of ownership to carry out the technical checkup.
For any purchase the seller of the vehicle must provide you with a receipt for the purchase with the following information with regard to the vehicle:
- the make;
- the plate number;
- the VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number);
- Date and price of sale;
- names, addresses and signatures of the seller and buyer.
To transfer the Rego, the buyer must present the above mentioned information IN PERSON at the transportation office of the state of registration. The only exception is Western Australia that accepts paperwork by mail.
Buy or sell a vehicle in its registered state
The process is simpler is you sell or buy a car within the state where it is already registered.
The parties complete the transfer form. The seller will have to send his part (‘sellers copy’ or ‘notice of disposal’) to the transportation department. The buyer must present his papers IN PERSON at an office of the transportation department in in the state of registration (except for WA).
Steps to follow per Territory / State
Buying a car without Rego or from outside its registration state
Two problems can arise when purchasing a car without Rego:
- It is illegal to move the vehicle. Unless the buyer buys the compulsory insurance and moves it straight to a garage. Without a valid Rego the vehicle is not insured for damages caused to third parties. If you get into a accident the financial and legal consequences could be enormous. Another option is to hire a mobile mechanic who will come to the owners home and do the technical checkup on the spot;
- You have to pass a technical inspection to register the car and this comes with the risks of expensive repairs. If possible insist that the person selling you the car obtains this certificate before you buy the vehicle.
For changing to another state it will be necessary to go with the seller to a transport office where the seller will give you the license plates of the old state and you will have to fill a registration form.
Steps to be taken for a new registration (expired or transferred from another state)
For purchasing a car without Rego it is necessary to follow the same steps as for buying a car from outside the state of registration. Except that, obviously, the seller will not have to go to the transportation department to bring back the license plates.
You can renew the rego of all states by Internet, phone or in person. However, in Tasmania, NT and NSW you need the ‘payment number’ / ‘transaction number’ / ‘billing number’ which is on the Renewal Notice. Otherwise you have the option to pay by phone or in person.
For cars of NSW (over 5 years old) or NT (over 5 years old) a technical check is required to renew rego. Usually the technical control must be done in the state that requires it. For NSW and the NT the technical inspection is required annually. So if the former owner has passed a technical inspection six months ago and it was renewed it is not necessary to renew it for six months.
Note for vehicles of the NT : If you are not in the territory and must renew your Rego, you can pass a technical control in another state (this is possible only once per Rego).
Note for NSW vehicles : If you are not in the state, the NSW service accepts RWCs from other states but the procedure is complicated. This is impossible without the original ‘Registration Renewal Notice’ and it is not possible to get this online.
Note for VIC vehicles : To renew your rego online or over the phone you will need your customer number. You can find this number on the transfer papers or the renewal notice. VICROADS does not provide this number over the phone so be sure to note this number especially if you are not in Victoria to renew.
For an ACT or TAS LPG vehicle a gas inspection is required from an accredited gas company.
Written by Tom Kimmet & translated by Joshua
Updated on the 1/11/19. Initially published on 25/5/18