HomePoliticsQueensland Department of Transport Accused of Scamming Aussies with Registration Fines

Queensland Department of Transport Accused of Scamming Aussies with Registration Fines

In 2014, the Queensland Government made a decision that seemed to benefit taxpayers by saving $3.5 million in posting and packaging costs. They stopped sending out peel-off registration stickers and started using “license plate scanning technology” instead. However, this move has left many Aussies relying solely on registration renewal notices to keep track of their vehicle registration, and the consequences have been far from favourable.

While the Queensland Government claims that this change is saving Aussies money on their taxes, the reality is quite different. Speed cameras across the state are not only snapping photos of speeding vehicles but are also checking the registration status of every car that passes by. If a vehicle is found to have an expired registration, even by just one day, the owner is promptly mailed a fine. This raises serious questions about the ethics and legality of this practice.

peel-off rego sticker
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To make matters worse, thousands of Aussies have reported not receiving renewal notifications via snail mail or email, often leading to expired registrations. The consequences of this can be severe, with an additional AUD$200 fee for late payments and even more significant penalties for registrations that have been expired for more than 56 days. In such cases, vehicle owners cannot simply renew their registration; they must take their car for inspection, hand in their license plates, and go through the motions of re-registering their vehicle, which could cost up to AUD$1000 or more. Failing to surrender license plates in a timely manner can also result in additional fines.

Many Aussies are unaware that their registration has expired due to the failings of the Queensland Government to send out renewal notices. Despite this, they will still send out fines for driving an unregistered vehicle, and they will not even provide evidence of the infringement. To obtain this evidence, individuals must get a Stat-Dec signed by a JP to request the photo evidence, a process that can take up to four weeks, if they’re lucky.

The regular Aussie has numerous responsibilities to manage, and it’s understandable that some things might slip through the cracks without proper reminders or notifications. We receive notifications for upcoming bills, even for something as basic as Netflix, yet the Queensland Government expects vehicle owners to remember the exact month and day they registered their car. The only way to check this information is through the Queensland Government website, which is a convoluted mess requiring a separate phone app for identity verification, an additional account for the Transports and Main Roads department, the individual’s license or customer reference number (which many won’t have due to the lack of notices being sent out), and even the vehicle’s VIN.

This issue is particularly affecting elderly Aussies who are not too tech-savvy and are accustomed to paying their registration the old-fashioned way: receiving a renewal notice in the mail and paying it directly via BPAY. With the current system, the government can easily fine individuals, invade their privacy, and essentially rob them due to their own inaction in sending out renewal notices.

License Plate Scanning Technology Cameras
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It appears that the government has an incentive to maintain this system. They get to fine more people, collect additional processing fees, and leave Aussies feeling screwed over. To add insult to injury, these fines for non-registered vehicles are sent to SPER (the State Penalties Enforcement Registry) within just 28 days of non-payment. SPER has the power to use unpaid fines as a levy against an individual’s property and can even seize it if they see fit.

The Queensland Department of Transport must address these concerns and provide transparent information about the revenue generated from registration fines since the removal of stickers. Aussies deserve to know whether this system is truly benefiting them or if it is merely a cleverly disguised cash grab. It is time for the department to reevaluate its practices, prioritize transparency, and work towards a fairer, more reliable system for all Queenslanders.


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