How much does it cost to register a vehicle in Australia?
01 August 2022
The cost of registration for a vehicle in Australia varies from state to state, and can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand – especially if you’re absolutely set on those personalised number plates.
Several factors determine car registration fees, and the differences between each state can get confusing.
How car registration costs are calculated
Car registration costs are calculated in as many different ways as there are states and territories. The factors involved can range from the vehicle weight, to the number of cylinders, to the engine size in cubic centimeters, and so on.
In some states, CTP Insurance is included in the registration fees, whereas in others you will have to purchase it separately in order to legally be able to drive your vehicle.
CTP or Third Party Property Damage?
These two types of insurance are often confused. It’s an easy thing to mix up, which could be a frustrating place to be in after an accident may have happened. So, let’s explain the differences to clear the waters.
Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance is mandatory state-based insurance that you purchase along with your vehicle registration. Some states include the cost of CTP in vehicle registration, which we cover below. It’s attached to the registration of your vehicle and covers the at-fault driver against compensation claims from people injured in a motor vehicle incident.
Third Party Property Damage (TPPD) Car Insurance, on the other hand, is an entirely separate type of insurance. It only covers damage you cause to other people’s car and property – and doesn’t cover your own car at all. That means that if you’re in an accident that is your fault, the damage caused by your car can be covered, but not your legal liability for any injuries that occur to other people or their property.
To learn more about what’s covered with CTP or TPPD, refer to the relevant PDS document.
Car registration costs by state in Australia
In Queensland, your vehicle registration fee has three parts to it:
- The registration fee.
- The traffic improvement fee.
- A CTP insurance premium.
A vehicle levy is then applied to the fees, and changes based on the number of cylinders a car has.
The CTP is included in your registration fee, and is valid for the same period of time the vehicle is registered. Once it comes to renewing, you have the option of switching to a different CTP insurer, like Suncorp Insurance.
Head to the Queensland Government website to get a full list of registration costs.
In New South Wales, things are done a little differently. Registration fees start at a flat rate of $68, which is added to a vehicle tax that depends on the type of vehicle being registered. This vehicle tax is based on weight if it’s a light vehicle up to 2.5 tonnes, a caravan, or a trailer. Motorcycles, on the other hand, just have a flat rate of $67.
Prior to registering your vehicle, you’ll need to pay for a Green Slip, which is a common name for CTP Insurance in NSW.
In the Australian Capital Territory, vehicle registration is broken down into government fees, registrations fees, and Motor Accident Injuries (MAI) Insurance – a similar scheme to CTP insurance.
There are a number of components that go into these fees:
- Road rescue fee.
- Road safety contribution.
- Lifetime care and support levy.
- Motor accident levy.
- Registration fee, based on vehicle type and tare weight, and usgae.
There’s a lot that goes into the vehicle registration fees, and each element can vary overall cost.
To learn more, head to the Access Canberra website.
In Victoria, vehicle registration and CTP is bundled together and administered by VicRoads. These fees will vary based on where your vehicle is usually kept, with there being three zones of differentiation:
- Metropolitan (high risk zone).
- Outer Metropolitan (medium risk zone).
- Rural (low risk zone).
The registration fee also depends on what type of vehicle is being registered. For example, sedans, station wagons, 4WDs and utes are grouped together, while goods carrying vehicles up to two tonnes are considered a separate group.
To learn more, visit the VicRoads vehicle fees page.
Tasmania does things similarly to QLD, as they base their cost of registration on the number of cylinders in the vehicle.
Tasmania also has a Motor Tax, which is also based on your vehicle’s number of cylinders.
Finally, Tasmania’s version of CTP insurance is known as Motor Accident Insurance Board Premiums (MAIB Premiums). This varies depending on the vehice type, such as a motor car, light goods vehicle, and so on.
To read more about Tasmania’s car registration costs, visit the state government website.
In the Northern Territory, car registration costs include a:
- registration fee
- CTP Insurance, known as Motor Accidents Compensation (MAC), and
- admin fee.
The registration fee is determined from both the engine size in cubic centimetres, and the number of cylinders it has.
To read more about registration fees in the NT, visit the NT government site.
In South Australia, the car registration price is influenced by a number of factors:
- The type of vehicle being registered.
- Where the vehicle whill be garaged.
- What the vehicle will be used for (private or business).
- The number of cylinders a vehicle has.
CTP insurance is bundled into the registration fee and is payable directly to the SA Government Services, but you have a choice between four government approved insurers, including AAMI.
Read more about car registration in South Australia.
Western Australia’s Department of Transport calculates your registration fee based on the weight of the vehicle, something they call “kerb mass”.
Also included is their CTP insurance equivalent, called Motor Injury Insurance. There is also, of course, an admin fee of $10.30.
A list of Western Australia registration fees can be found on the Department of Transport website.
Do I have to pay car registration fees again if I move interstate?
When moving interstate, you will need to register your vehicle in your new state. However, much like the registration fees themselves, the time in which this must be done varies state by state.
For example, in Queensland and New South Wales, the time period is 14 days. In Western Australia, the window is three months.
Despite the apparent timeframe, it’s better to get on top of changing your registration earlier if you’re planning on sticking around. That way, you can avoid risking a hefty fine while also staying safe and responsible on our roads.
How do I know when registration is due for renewal?
You can check when your vehicle registration is up for renewal on the relevant state or territory’s vehicles registration authority.
For example, in Queensland you can visit the government website to check.
Don't forget CTP
CTP – and each state or territory’s equivalent – is mandatory, and covers people who may be injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident that involves your vehicle.
- What does CTP Insurance cover in Queensland?
- Do I need CTP Insurance for my motorcycle?
- Common car insurance myths busted
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available.
This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it's appropriate for you before acting on it.