Vehicle registration plates of Australia


Vehicle registration plates of Australia

Australian vehicle number plates are issued by the states, territories, and also the Commonwealth government and the armed forces. The plates are associated with a vehicle and generally last for the time the vehicle remains registered in the state, though as they become unreadable (or for other reasons) they may be recalled or replaced with newer ones. From the 1970s until the late 1990s, most Australian plates were of the form xxx·xxx (with x being either letters or numbers) - for example, aaa·nnn in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory; naa.nnn in Western Australia, where the starting number was between 6 and 9; and nnn.aaa in Queensland. More recently as these series have reached the limit of their capacity, different States and Territories have chosen different continuations, so the commonality with respect to format is at an end. The most recent adoption of a new sequence plate is in the Northern Territory, which from January 2011 issues plates in the format Ca·nn·aa. Nevertheless, plates generally have the same dimensions regardless of their state-of-issue so there remains an element of consistency between them.

Contents

Summary of current General Series standard issue plates

State/territory Text/background colour Format Current slogan Current series Notes
Australian Capital Territory blue/white Yaa·nna ACT CANBERRA · THE NATION'S CAPITAL or HEART OF THE NATION YHU·00A Slogan embossed on plate
ACT · CELEBRATION OF A CENTURY 2013 YIC·00A Slogan screenprinted on plate
New South Wales black/yellow aa·nn·aa NEW SOUTH WALES BN·74·HT No slogan on current series
black/white aaa·nna NSW CDR·00A Optional white slimline series
Northern Territory ochre/white Ca·nn·aa NT · OUTBACK AUSTRALIA CA·14·YW New series begins June 2011
Queensland maroon/white nnn·aaa QUEENSLAND · SUNSHINE STATE 000·RZA Slogan embossed on plate
QUEENSLAND · THE SMART STATE 999·MER Slogan screenprinted on plate
South Australia black/white Snnn·aaa SOUTH AUSTRALIA S000·AOM No slogan on current series
Tasmania blue/white a nn aa Tasmania · Explore the Possibilities C 00 KI Background screenprinting of state logo (a thylacine walking through reeds)
Victoria blue/white aaa·nnn VICTORIA - THE PLACE TO BE YTK·000 Both the state logo decal in top centre (Southern Cross in a blue triangle) and slogan are screenprinted.
Western Australia blue/white naaa·nnn WESTERN AUSTRALIA 1DTO·000 Decorative motif of desert sun and blue skyline along top of plate. Only the serials are embossed.

Summary of current Trailer standard issue plates

State/territory Text/background colour Format Current slogan Current series Notes
Australian Capital Territory blue/white T nnnn a ACT T 0000 C No slogan
New South Wales black/yellow a·nnnnn NEW SOUTH WALES X·52828 No slogan
black/white a·nnnnn NSW X·02660 Standard reflective white base
Northern Territory ochre/white Ta·nnnn NT · OUTBACK AUSTRALIA TF·0000 Yearly label on plate
Queensland maroon/white nnn·aaa QUEENSLAND · SUNSHINE STATE 000·QTX Slogan embossed on plate
maroon/white aa·nnnn QLD DG·0000 Slogan screenprinted on plate
South Australia black/white Snnn·aaa SOUTH AUSTRALIA S000·TCA No slogan on current series
Tasmania blue/white a nn aa Tasmania · Explore the Possibilities Z 00 HI Background screenprinting of state logo (a thylacine walking through reeds)
Victoria blue/white ann·nnn VICTORIA - THE PLACE TO BE (replaced soon by another slogan) U36·000 Both the state logo decal in top centre (Southern Cross in a blue triangle) and slogan are screenprinted.
Western Australia blue/white naaa·nnn WESTERN AUSTRALIA 1TLI·000 Decorative motif of desert sun and blue skyline along top of plate. Only the serials are embossed.

Summary of current Motorcycle standard issue plates

State/territory Text/background colour Format Current slogan Current series Notes
Australian Capital Territory blue/white nn·nnn ACT 81·000 No slogan
New South Wales black/yellow aaa·nn NSW ODA·00 No slogan
black/white aaa·nn NSW PKY·00 Standard reflective white base
Northern Territory ochre/white a·nnnn NT A·0000 Yearly label on plate
Queensland maroon/white nnn·aa QLD 000·HH No slogan
South Australia black/white Snn·aaa SA S00·AGF No slogan
Tasmania blue/white a nnn a TAS A 000 B No slogan
Victoria blue/white na·nnn VIC 1E·1OT No slogan
Western Australia blue/white naa·nnn WA 1EB·000 No slogan

Federal numbering scheme

From 1951-2, Australian automobiles were to adopt a broad scheme across all states and territories for vehicle number plates. Both NSW and Victoria had previously issued plates with 2-letter, 3-digits, white on a black background. However, while implemented, this was not entirely popular as some states and territories preferred their own identity reflected on their vehicles instead. They were 'meant' to use the following proposed scheme:

  • New South Wales: AAA-000 to FZZ-999
  • Victoria: GAA-000 to MZZ-999 (Ixx-nnn series skipped initially, but used after the Lxx-nnn series)
  • Queensland: NAA-000 to QZZ-999 (Oxx-nnn series initially skipped by Queensland)
  • South Australia: RAA-000 to TZZ-999
  • Western Australia: UAA-000 to VZZ-999 (V was not used; issued X after U ran out)
  • Tasmania: WAA-000 to WZZ-999 (later 2 letters & 4 digits)
  • Northern Territory: XAA-000 to XZZ-999 (not taken up; stayed with 6 digits))
  • Australian Capital Territory: YAA-000 to YZZ-999 (ACT Government plates adopted numeral only plates in the late 1990s (200-000 to 299-999) with the words ACT GOVERNMENT embossed beneath numerals to replace the Z series government plates)
  • Commonwealth Govt: ZAA-000 to ZZZ-999 (with initial Z in red), issued Australia-wide.

Western Australia deemed itself too large to fit into the proposed scheme and adhered to one of its own devising; plates in the Ixx-nnn series were to be skipped (as a capital-I was believed to be easily mistaken for a number 1). This allowed the two populous states with greater registrations of vehicles 6 letter-series each (NSW had A-F, Victoria G-H and J-M), and others with 3 letter-series (Queensland N-Q, South Australia R-T, Western Australia was allocated U-V). Tasmania was only given one, W, due to its size, and the ACT Y. Z was for federal government department use Australia-wide, the 2nd letter reflecting the commonwealth department.

Plates were to be uniform in size. NSW adopted yellow background and black lettering, ACT white background and blue lettering, Victoria adopted a black background with white lettering for its initial scheme allocation. Once this overflowed, Victoria began using from AAA-000 to FZZ-999 on white background and green lettering (later blue commencing at NAA-000), QLD white background and green lettering (later maroon), Tasmania white background and blue lettering, SA white background and black lettering, and WA white background (later changed to yellow) and black lettering. NT kept to their white background and all-numbers in orange/maroon that the all numerics ended in June 2011 and began using CA-00-AB onwards.

However, this system was not as popular as expected: the Northern Territory refused and continued its previous all-number system. Western Australia soon adopted the scheme, taking charge of the previously NT allocated XAA-000 to XZZ-999 (WAG-000 to WAG-999 they reserved for WA Government vehicles, then extending to XZZ-999). However many WA rural shires chose to issue their own series plates, with initial letters being Shire abbreviations followed by digits, in the WA colour scheme.

Queensland, after initially skipping the O-series (as a capital-O was often confused for a number 0), were left with too few combinations for a growing number of registrations. The Q series plates were reserved for QLD government use. In 1978, having exhausted Nxx-nnn to Pxx-nnn combinations Queensland reversed the format, starting at 000-NAA continuing through to 999-PZZ in 1987, when plates commencing at 000-AAA were issued. (There are still a number of vehicles in Queensland - growing rarer as new cars and new plates replace them - with the old white-on-black Q and six black on white digits at this time. Only one of these was issued, for display at the rear.)

All the remaining states and territories stuck to their initial allocations, until the number of registrations became too large for each state and were 'overflowed' into other series otherwise allocated to another state: NSW overflowed from FZZ-999 to GAA-000 (otherwise issued to Victoria) in 1972, Victoria (having reserved the Mxx-nnn series for State government registrations) overflowed from LZZ-999 to IAA-000 (previously skipped) in 1974, and then from IZZ-999 to AAA-000 (otherwise issued to NSW) in 1977. South Australia did similar, overflowing from SZZ-999 to UAA-000 etc. (having reserved the Txx-nnn series for trailer registrations).

Common features

Plates tend to bear the State or Territory name and perhaps a state motto or slogan at the top and/or bottom of the plate. Recent issues of plates (since the 1990s) also often use the state's colors and may include some imagery related to the state (such as the state's logo as the dot separating the groups of numbers).

Vehicles running on autogas or compressed natural gas must have a metal diamond with a white lettering LPG on a retro-reflective red background or metal disc with white lettering CNG on red background. The tag must be mechanically fixed (and is usually riveted) onto both of the number plates. If multiple gas tanks are fitted to vehicle, multiple tags are required - one tag for each tank installed. Subsequently, vehicle manufacturers who manufacture cars with LPG as standard fitting, provide LPG stickers already stuck to the vehicle's registration plate areas, and some state and territory registration authorities also are producing plastic "flat" printed registration plates, and therefore need to provide LPG stickers to avoid damage to the plates if drilled for pop rivets.

All hybrid electric vehicles mut have a green diamond sticker with the word "Hybrid" written in white letters. This became a mandatory requirement on all hybrid vehicles registered in Victoria from 1 April 2009,[citation needed] and is designed to warn emergency services in the case of an accident that the vehicle contains high voltage cabling throughout the vehicle.[citation needed]

New South Wales

NSW - The Premier State
NSW - The First State
NSW - Towards 2000
NSW - Centenary of Federation

Issuing Authorities

NSW Police up to 1930
Department of Road Transport and Tramways - 1930 to 1952
Department of Motor Transport - 1952 to 1989
Roads and Traffic Authority - 1989 to 2009
Transport and Infrastructure NSW - Roads and Traffic Authority 2009 to 2010
Transport NSW - Roads and Traffic Authority 2010 to 2011
Department of Transport - Roads and Traffic Authority Jan to Oct 2011
Transport for NSW - Roads and Maritime Services - 1st November 2011

General Series

  • Car/Heavy Vehicles: aa·nn·aa and Slimline General Series aaa·nna

From 1910 to 1937, number plates were in numerals only. Prior to 1924, these were issued with black lettering on a white background, until recalled and subsequently replaced with the reverse colour format: white lettering on a black background. All contained an "NSW" insert from 1912. Registration was also kept with the vehicle corresponding to the given numberplate, these days as a sticker on the windscreen or side-windows of the vehicles.

In 1937, letters in numberplates were first introduced, using a aa-nnn format. This ran until 1951 with the "NSW" insert on the top of the plate. It is the beginning of Page embossed dies.

From 1951, plates were 3 characters and three numbers (as per the Federal scheme): AAA-000 to FZZ-999, issued on a yellow background with black lettering, with "NSW" insert on the top of the plate. From 1968, cancelled numbers in that range were reissued, but this did not last long, so the Department of Motor Transport DMT (now RTA) needed to fill in unissued plates containing I and Q on the 2nd and 3rd letter characters (e.g.: AIA-123, AMQ-123).

By 1972, NSW had reached the limit imposed by the Federal scheme: a new series started at GAA-000 and ran to ZLF-999 in July 2004. The "NSW" insert was struck from the top of the plate to be replaced by a state-personalised branding (or slogan) during this time.

Reflective black-on-yellow plates began from October 1980 and corresponded with slogan (exception: non-reflective from October 1996 to March 2001).

NSW plates attracted the following slogans, usually located at the bottom of the plate:

  • October 1980 to November 1988: NSW - The Premier State
  • November 1988 to Mar 1989: NSW (interim series)
  • Mar 1989 to present: New South Wales legend at bottom of plates introduced. Standardised option from October 1996.
  • Jun 1989 to September 1994: NSW - The First State
  • September 1994 to September 1996: NSW - Towards 2000

By July 2004, combinations of the old 3-letter, 3-number series were practically exhausted. A new series starting at AA-00-AA replaced the old series, continuing the current reflective black-on-yellow plates and New South Wales legend.

  • Trailers: a·nnnnn and a·nnnnn

Trailers and caravans have black-on-yellow plates, using a 1-letter, 5-number (a-nnnnn) format excluding I, O and T letters. Until August 1981, it was in Black on white format aa-nnnn, starting as T, R then A, B, C series from the 1940s until it was taken off. Currently in the W-00000 series for black on yellow issues and X for black on white issues, the next letters left are Y and Z.

  • Motorcycles: aaa·nn and aaa·nn

Motorcycles were numerics until 1937 when it changed to alpha numeric format as aa-nn then in 1951, changed from white-on-black to black-on-yellow aa-nnn, and by August 1989, it was taken off after exhausting in Z series by December 1985 & restarting at AA-050 until EE-999 and replaced by the new series ZXX-99 that go in reverse. Currently in Paa-nn blocks. As of 30 November 2009, black on reflective white general series has been introduced.

MyPlates Range

"MyPlates" range is a product of the Plate Marketing Pty Ltd on behalf of the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority and has a dedicated website in use www.myplates.com.au. It offers personalisation of number plates including plate colour and content. Since 2009, all non reflective bases have been converted to reflective. As of 1 October 2010, Plate Marketing Pty Ltd (part of the LicenSys group) has been appointed to manage and operate the myPlates Special Number Plates business under a 15 year partnering arrangement.

  • Personalised Plates

Format Options: aa-nnn, aa-nnnn, aaa-nnn, aaa-nna, aa-nn-aa, cccccc (where c can be a numeral, letter or space)
Motorcycle Format Options: aa-nn, aa-nnn, aaa-nn, ccccc
Trailer format options: a-nnnnn, aa-nnnn, cccccc

Since 1969, personalisation become the option using a white-on-black aa-nnn combination for cars and white-on-black aa-nn for motorcycles. In the mid-1970s, black personalised aaa-nnn combinations on a yellow plate and white aa-nnnn on a black plate were added. In 2004, the white on black range was extended to ABC-123. Prior to that the RTA suspended the issuing of yellow on black (ABC-123) personalised range from 2003 until March 2006, when it resumed in a varied narrower dies format. This standard yellow personalised format was again taken off in April 2009 and replaced by the Banana Yellow slimline.

The colour & metallic range has been added since 2003, and the most recent addition are trailer and motorcycle colours including Black on lime green reflective base, Blue on reflective white base and green on white reflective base as of October 2011. All black bases are now reflective as it was once used to be non reflective.

Custom plates (now called Personalised Plus) were introduced in December 1981 bearing the NSW - The Premier State slogan and were replaced in 1987 by black-on-gold issues with "NSW" on top. It is still in use though dies variations occurred from time to time. Motorists can choose any combined letters and numbers including solely letters (max 6 characters). Plate customisation has also been added into the coloured, premium range and recently motorcycles (Mar 07). Certain restrictions about combinations have been put in place to prevent people from designing plates which appear too-much like numeral-only plates which are auctioned off separately (e.g. 9I2 would not be allowed as it is too similar to 912). There are also restrictions preventing people from picking combinations that are too similar to special plates issued by the Authority (for instance, HC-nnn and HC-nnnn combinations are reserved only for accredited hire-car operators).

  • Euro Plates

Format: Naa-nnn and Naa-nna

A new style of plates fitting European dimensions was introduced in April 2002. In these plates, the N is compulsory prefix of the plate series but segregated by a space and a different colour-letter colour combination from the rest of the plate. The range has just been extended (November 2006) and marketed as a Black Euro while the Euro format introduced in 2002 is now marketed as White Euro.

Since 2002 it has been offered as a personalised option in the Naa-nnn and Naa-nna formats. As of 8 April 2009, motorists can now order them in any letters/combinations or custom format in these following options: Southern Cross Black or White and Harbour Bridge Black or White.

Personalised Plus Plates as of 28 March 2008, now include NRL formats with 16 team colour options.

  • Slimline Plates

Format: aaa·nna

From March 1991, Premium plates commenced, starting their series at AAA-12A with black lettering on a reflective white background, in a smaller font than their standard counterparts; the NSW insert runs down the plate on its left-hand side. These plates, while usually not longer in length, were shorter in height and looked slimmer than their black-on-yellow standard issues.

In September 2005, the Premium Plates ceased and replaced by white bordered slimlines. Only remakes of damaged premiums are available. A number of combinations skipped are AV,BQ, BR, BU, BX, BY,CA,CB,CC. SG fleet plates are issued in BQA and CAA blocks.

  • High Performance Plates

Format: ABC-123, AB-123, AB-1234, ABC-12D and CUSTOM
My Plates launched on 30 November 2009, a new range of High Performance Plates see link [1]. The designs will be of HSV Holden, Ford and V8 Supercar. Slimline is to be added from 22 September 2010.

Special Issues

1987 - 1988 - Bicentenary issued to commemorate Australia's 200th Birthday in white on reflective black with a crest of the NSW Flag and imprinted as "NSW The Premier State 1788-1988"

1997 - 1998 - RSL Plates in green on mid yellow - "NSW Lest We Forget"

1998 - 2000 - Sydney Olympic Games Plates - "Share the Spirit" in black on white with blue band on bottom and the Sydney Olympic Logo

2001 - 2002 - Centenary of Federation - White on black with gold legend - "Centenary of Federation" and a limited edition from 1901-CF to 2001-CF. recent remakes are offered in reflective base.

2007 - 2008 - Sydney Harbour Bridge Plates - SHB Harbour Bridge shaped plates from SHB-1 to SHB-99 only sold via on-line auctions. In White on graphic background of the Bridge.

Standard slimline series HB-12-AC issued for 12 months those sales ceased on 27 March 2008. Black on white with bridge graphic in light grey.

2008 - Centenary NRL Footy plates of all NRL teams were sold through an online auction - They comes in team colours and the number digits represents half back half eight, front rowers, back rowers, centres and wingers. The auction has since been completed.

2008 - Current - NRL Team Plates: Standard remake, personalised and personalised plus plates for NRL fans in a choice of 16 team colours are offered and is in standard size format and slimline premium dies.
Revisions of Team Logos:

  • 2010 - Bulldogs
  • 2011 - Parramatta Eels

2009 - Current - HSV, FPV and V8 Supercar plates were introduced. From 22 September 2010, slimline version were added.

2010 - Corporate plates are introduced to identify business name/logos, starting from BQA-nnA

Special purpose vehicles

Vehicles with particular purposes in New South Wales have been introduced with numberplates specific to their type.

  • Taxis have two types of plate: Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong plates have a T·nnnn format, while regional and country taxis use TC·nnnn. As of October 2009, the Taxi plate design has changed to its current format following enforcement camera errors showing the zeros or eights between the character spaces. It has an embossed premium slimline at the top with sticker for LPG and CNG moved to two bottom corners. The white on blue reflective base remain the same. NSW -TAXI is the legend description.
  • Tow truck plates use nnnn·TT or nnnn·TT, depending on the registered use of the vehicle. They have blue characters on a white background, and the top of the plate reads "TOW TRUCK", that was introduced in October 2000. The original yellow on black format with NSW The First state or Towards 2000 began in November 1990. It is now in the current NEW SOUTH WALES format and is seen to have 9906-TT as of 28 March 2008. As of September 2008 it is in 9800's series, but now it is issued in 7000 to 8999 unused blocks as the first one 7002-TT was seen at the Northern Beaches as of December 2008.
  • Buses and coaches have black on yellow plates, with the prefix Metro: M/O·nnnn, Country: nnnn·MO (Motor Omnibus), nnnn·ST (State Transit Buses), or TV·nnnn (Tourist Vehicles). Commercial buses in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong districts have M/O-nnnn plates, with the M over the O; all other commercial buses use nnnn-MO. Like other vehicles, buses not used for hire or reward are registered with general-issue car plates.
  • Hire Cars HC·nnnn HC-000 to 999 issued in Sydney but now extends beyond HC-1000 since 2008. HC-2000 to HC- 4999 blocks are issued outside Sydney. Previously until 1998, HV-nnn series were issued in the country but had to combine into a single HC series.
  • Police and emergency vehicles in New South Wales, such as ambulances and police vehicles, have the standard-issue black-on-yellow or slimline plates : they currently follow the aa-nn-aa/aaa-nna standard. The plates themselves have no special markings. Some police vehicles have had personalised plates fitted, for example several Highway Patrol vehicles have plates featuring the initials of officers killed on duty. New South Wales Fire Brigades vehicles used to be registered in the FBY·nnn series, but now administrative vehicles are now using AB-12-CD general issues and more recently reported that new fire engines are now using aa-nn-aa general issue instead of FBY series plates, presumably to reduce theft. New South Wales Rural Fire Service vehicles are not required to display registration plates, however some have been fitted with standard issue plates. New South Wales Fire Brigades vehicles were at one stage only fitted with brass plates featuring the letters "NSWFB". These plates were red on gold brass.
  • Conditional Registration Scheme nnnnn·C Conditional Motorcycle format: nnnn·M Forklift, Off-Road Vehicles, etc., that need to use public roads as part of their operation can be registered conditionally. As of June 2008, it is reported that the motorcycle sized series has overflowed to 0001-C onwards after reaching 9999-C. It is reported that the motorcycle format has changed its suffix to M as the format now shows as nnnn-M since June 2009. Currently issued at 00000-C onwards as of January 2011.
  • Historic & veteran cars nnnnn·H From 1959 to 2002 there were colourful club plates provided by the club and was manufactured in either Vintage Car or Veteran Car legend on top. They were withdrawn from use in 2002 and the current H series is in use. For vehicles used/registered for historical interest and not used as regular transport.
  • Trade plates since 1910 as known as Agent's Plates, in the a-nnn format was standard porcleain white on black until 1937 when it changed to very large page embossed dies in an annual non standard colour until 1952.
    From 1952, the annual cyclic colour scheme was introduced, red, purple, brown, green, orange and blue for all annual trade plates and stickers but the embossed style remained until 1959.
    From 1959 the year was added on top of NSW as the format showed as 19 NSW 59 & runs from A-0000 to A-9999.
    By 1982, the design was changed, the year moved to the left hand side in vertical, and the dies format changed to standard car size as the previous very large dies was used from 1937.
    In 1991, it changed to permanent trade plates with trade word replacing the year, colour changed to white on dark green & ran until 2004 when it was replaced by either nnnn-A or A-nnnn with year & bottom legend - NSW TRADE screenprinted & a change to the premium dies.

Cycles are in either B-nnnn or nnnn-B formats.

  • 2004 nnnn-A white on green
  • 2005 A-nnnn white on brown
  • 2006 nnnn-A white on brown
  • 2007 A-nnnn white on brown
  • 2008 nnnn-A white on brown
  • 2009 A-nnnn white on reflective orange
  • 2010 nnnn-A White on reflective orange
  • 2011 A-nnnn White on reflective orange available since 1 Dec 2010.
  • Roads and Traffic Authority vehicles use plates in RTA·000 RTB·000 and RTC·000 format, some plates are in coloured slimline or wallaby formats. Recently, there were no more combinations, so standard plates will be used on new vehicles.The Roads and Traffic Authority will be abolished in a restructure.
  • CdeC Consular Plates - CC·nnnn In 1941 the CdeC plates series commenced and ran until 1978 showing the format as CdeC-nnn. CdeC has a shield with the letters inside and was white on blue. The replacement CC series took over. A similar format has been used in QLD, NT, & WA. Special purpose plates are used for consular corps since 1978 in CC-2000 to CC-4999 range, initially in white on blue then changed to black on yellow by August 1983,with the same legend at top NSW CONSULAR CORPS. The legend moved to the bottom from changeover to fat dies in October 1992 and since the vartiations of dies & bases occurred from time to time. It was reported that Consular plates have been in the format 0000-CC with the state NSW at the top and the legend CONSULAR CORPS at the bottom but none ever has been sighted yet.

Victoria

Victoria - Garden State
Victoria - On the move
Victoria - The Place To Be

Issuing Authorities

Transport Regulation Board - Police - Prior to 1982
Road and Traffic Authority - 1982 to 1989
VicRoads - 1989 to current

General Series

Vehicles: aaa-nnn

Trailers: ann-nnn

Motorcycles: na-naa

Number plates have been issued in Victoria since 1910. Like other Australian plates, these are usually particular to a vehicle, changing hands with it, and are generally permanent (yearly registration is however required, with stickers displayed in the lower passenger-side of the windscreen).

Initial Victorian plates, issued from 1910 to 1939, were in numerals only, from 300-000 to 990-999. From 1930, "VIC" inserts were added vertically down the left-hand side of the plate.

In 1939 Victoria switched to a 2-letter, 3-number scheme (AA-000 to ZZ-999) of which also bear "VIC" down the left-hand side, this format used to be issued to motorcycles.

From 1953, owing to the Federal number plate system, Victorian plates switched to the 3-letter, 3-number standard: GAA-000 to HZZ-999, and JAA-000 to LZZ-999, coloured white lettering on a black background, and a "VIC" insert on the top of the plate. As previously mentioned, Victoria skipped the I-series and went straight from HZZ-999 to JAA-000, as a capital-I could be mistaken as a number 1. However, having reached the end of their Federal allotment of letters, Victoria commenced from LZZ-999 to IAA-000 (ensuring the capital-I had noticeable staves to tell them apart from the number 1) in 1974. This was only a temporary measure, naturally, as Victoria faced the same problem having proceeded through the I series three years later; it was decided to restart the plate issues at AAA-000 and redesign the plate for the first time in 27 years at the same time.

In 1977, reflective green-on-white plates were introduced, beginning at AAA-000 and running to FZZ-999. These bore the insert Victoria - Garden state at the bottom of the plate. In the early nineties, it was discovered that the reflective properties of many number plates in the range from AAA to EZZ, and principally the C series, were defective and this had coincided with the rapid introduction of speed cameras in Victoria. Due to the number of plates which were unidentifiable in photographs, all defective plates were recalled and new plates issued free of charge. This caused the rapid consumption of the plate stocks especially in the late F series and some plates (those starting with FTA to FYZ) were produced in Queensland to meet demand. These plates are identifiable by their different font and vertical diamond separator (as opposed to Victoria's horizontal diamond). An additional series RAA-000 until RBZ-999 was produced. It is a popular myth that the defective paint was caused by prisoners manufacturing the plates urinating in the paint mixture. In 1984(?) for the 150th anniversary of European settlement in Victoria, plates bore the slogan Victoria - 150 Years down the bottom. In 1988 for the Australian Bicentennial, the plates bore the "VIC" insert horizontally down the left-hand side and also the slogan Australia - 1788 to 1988 across the bottom.

In late 1994, in an initiative by the then-Premier, Jeff Kennett, reflective blue-on-white plates were introduced, beginning at NAA-000. The diamond-dot in the middle was changed to the state logo of a blue St Edward's Crown over an upside-down blue triangle with the Victorian Southern Cross in white inside. These plates bore the slogan Victoria - On the move across the bottom. The "on the move" notation was the source of many jokes in Queensland, being stated as "Victoria - on the move, to Queensland" - owing to the massive "seachange" internal migration that has occurred in the last 20–30 years, with many Victorians moving to Queensland for a life change. In late 1999 when the new Labor Party won government, they phased out the old state logo and motto to prepare for the introduction of a new one. Until these were finalised, plates (in the QDa-nnn series at the time) reverted to the old diamond-dot with simply Victoria across the bottom. In late 2000, the dot became the new logo simply of an enlarged blue triangle with the Victorian Southern Cross in it, the top lining up with the top of the plate, and bearing the slogan Victoria - The place to be across the bottom. As of 8 December 2010, The new Baillieu Government has announced it is dropping "The Place To Be" slogan from Victorian number plates. A replacement slogan would with the possible new combinations (as per below notes) would be rolled out from 2012.

Soon Victoria will have exhausted all ABC-123 format plates. Two main combinations are under consideration: A12-AAA or V123-ABC (like South Australia's "S" prefix) New colour schemes for the future general series may be the existing blue on white, or black characters on fluorescent orange. Its expected the southern cross imagery in the center of the plate will be retained.

Victorian special issue "Europlate" (Illustration)

V Plates Personalised Plates

Format Options (in any color): aaa, aaaa, aaaaa, aaaaaa, aa-nnn, aa-nnnn, aaa-n, aaa-nn, aaaa-n, aaaa-nn, aaaaa-n, nnn-nnn (300-000 to 999-999)
New Format Options: n-aaa, n-aaaa, n-aaaaa, nn-aaa, nn-aaaa

There are a number of custom plate options in Victoria, open to those seeking to add a personalised touch to their vehicles. Personalized/Unique plates come with the optional purchase of a contract. This contract allows the plate holder to retain the plates whether on a vehicle or not. Holding a contract on certain plates, means that when the plates are no longer registered they cannot be resold/issued to another person unless the contract holder sells the contract. For cars with plate spaces designed to hold European-style plates (rather than the taller Australian plates), there are three options. Firstly, shorter 'slimline' plates which bear the "VIC" insert vertically down the left-hand-side and use a noticeably different font; these are usually the same width as Australian plates. Unlike other states' slimline or premium plates, Victorian premium plates follow the same numbering as standard plates, meaning these can be mixed with a full-sized "THE PLACE TO BE" plate, making law enforcement difficult.. Secondly, there are two types of plates (Standard and Mini) designed specifically to look like European number plates, called Euro plates. The standard Euro plates are 520 mm wide and 112 mm high and the mini ones are 372 mm wide and 100 mm high. Euro plates have a blue section to the left containing "VIC" vertically above a Victorian Southern Cross, and in the main section contain a V, a full-colored Victorian coat of arms, and two letters, a space and three numbers. These plates use the FE-Schrift font and look like German plates.

  • Recently some prestige plates have been issued, which consist of four numbers or two groups of three numbers. A B-nnnnn series has been released for vehicles registered in Bendigo (B-0001 to B-4999) and Ballarat (B-5001 to B-5999): these have a customised insert of their town, and are usually blue lettering on a reflective yellow background; slogans can alter. Those also registered to horse studs across Victoria can reserve a V-nnnn series, usually brown lettering on a yellow background and stating Victorian Thoroughbred as a slogan. Still more are designed after football teams, and a limited edition Grand Prix series (GP-001 to GP-999) was authorised when Melbourne first hosted the Australian Grand Prix in 1996. Slimline editions of these plates have also been spotted, and still other combinations are being sighted.

Other vehicles

  • Trucks and other heavy vehicles in Victoria are also given standard car-issued plates. Buses, coaches and commercially owned or run mini-buses are bearing new plates using a 4-number, 2-letter (nnnn-aa) format. The two letters at the end of the plate are either AO, AC, SO or NC, depending under which registration they fall under (Accredited Operator, Accredited Charter, School Operator and Non-Commercial). [2] They usually bear the usual state logo or diamond, with 'ACCREDITED BUS' across the top and the VICTORIA - THE PLACE TO BE across the bottom. Vehicles used by primary producers in Victoria may be eligible for a discounted registration fee, such vehicles bear nnnnn-F plates, with 'Victorian Farmer' across the top.
  • Melbourne Tow Trucks (the first 1,000) used TOW-nnn, when the 1,001 tow truck was registered, the format swapped to nnnn-TT. The TT standing for Tow Truck. This allowed for another 10,000 tow trucks to be registered.
  • Motorcycles have smaller plates, in a new series format - (1A-2BC) The colouring and format of motorcycle plates has changed with the standard car-issued plates, except for the emblem inserts or other symbols that may take more space to represent. The previous motorcycle series has ended at JZ-999, and a replacement series has been implemented as of 24 October 2010 1A-2BC, replacing the previous 2-letter, 3-number format (aa-nnn).
  • Many car dealerships like Subaru bought out a range of plates to put on their cars related to their model's. A classic example is STI-000 to STI-999 and WRX-000 to WRX-999 for their Subaru Impreza WRX and STI models. These were contracts often sold on to customers with the purchase of a new car.
  • Trailers requiring their own registration (Required if: Is over 3 meters in length, Business Owned, Is 200 kg or heavier, Can carry 750 kg or more, wider than he towing vehicle or Used for hauling boats) in Victoria follow the 1-letter, 5-number format (ann-nnn). Larger, heavier semi-trailers use the nnnnn-S format exclusively. Trailers otherwise use the towing vehicle's plate for identification. Bike racks fitted onto the rear of vehicles (naturally having bicycles obstructing the numberplate) can have smaller numerical plates (black-on-white design) with Victoria - Bike Rack as the insert, fixed on the end of the rack and clearly visible.
New style Taxi plates
  • Taxis, Hire Cars and Tow Trucks in Victoria will have the following plates:
    • M-nnnn - Melbourne suburban taxis
    • ST-nnnn, nnnn-PS - taxis designated for use during peak periods only
    • C-nnnn - country and regional taxis
    • U-nnnnn - urban taxis
    • Motor Hire cars VHA-000 to VHA-999 (VHA - Originally Standing For Vehicle Hire Australia. Continued to VHB after the first 1000 were issued. The company is no longer VHA, but VHA Corporate Cabs. This company runs a luxury car hire service. A large number of Black Holden Statesman/Caprice's and similar vehicles in Melbourne's CBD are seen with a VH combination on them.)
    • Motor Hire cars VHC-000 to VHC-999
    • Motor Hire cars VHB-000 to VHB-999
    • Motor Hire cycles S-000 to S-999
    • Tow Trucks TOW-000 to TOW-999
    • Tow Trucks 0000-TT to 9999-TT
    • Recreational Series - VIC-RECREATION (red on yellow) 0000-A to 9999-A
    • Farm series - VIC-FARM BIKE (Brown on white) 0000V to 9999Z commences 1 January 2011
Victorian Government Number Plates
  • Government cars (including police cars and fire engines) usually use a combination in the Maa-nnn series of plates for registration. These are red on a white background. No Maa-nnn combination is available to the public for use. Un-marked police cars are exempt from this to help conceal their secrecy and use the next general public plate issued in the blue and white colours. (E.G. UTL-486)
  • In 2006, to commemorate the 2006 Commonwealth games being held in Melbourne, Vicroads offered a special limited-edition (only 1000 were issued) series of number plates in the format M06-nnn. These had the slogan "Melbourne 2006" and featured a Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (the official mascot of the 2006 Commonwealth Games) The proceeds were donated to the Department of Sustainability in order to raise funds to preserve this bird. All official vehicles actually used in the Commonwealth Games were supplied by the Toyota Motor Corporation of Australia (Toyota) and used XAA-nnn plates (standard design).

The following year Vicroads issued a similar limited edition 'Penny the Penguin' series in the format M07-nnn, to commemorate the 2007 FINA Swimming World Cup.

In 2008, AFL Premiership plates were released. The Hawthorn Hawks won the premiership in that year and hence the number plate format was HH-08-cc (HH for Hawthorn Hawks, and 08 designating the year they won the AFL premiership). The customer was able to choose the last two characters. The plate was brown on reflective white and featured a watermark of the club's logo in the centre of the plate.

Victorian number plates are manufactured by Licensys.

Queensland

Issuing Authorities

Main Roads Department - 1950's to 1990
Queensland Transport - 1990 to 2009
Department of Transport and Main Roads - 2009 to Current

General Series

Vehicles: nnn·aaa

Motorcycles: nnn·aa

Large Trailers (over 1.02t ATM): nnn·Qaa

Small Trailers (up to 1.02t ATM): aa·nnnn

  • Prior to 1921, There were regional plates that were letter coded for example P-nnn is for Hugheden.
  • From 1921 to 1924 the initial Q-nnn-nnn were all white on black base.
  • from 1924 until 1955, the plates were "Q-nnn-nnn". The "Q" area was painted black on a white background, while the numbers were painted white on a black background.
  • From 1955 to 1977, plates were in the format "aaa·nnn" and were white on black base. Block used was NAA·000 to PZZ·999.
  • Queensland number plates have had an unusual format since 1977, as the numbers come before the letters. The current format is nnn·aaa. Motorists have two choices of slogan: Queensland - Sunshine State in conjunction with Queensland - The Smart State. Former State Premier Peter Beattie had (up until 2007) been promoting the use the of slogan "Smart State" to describe the State Government's efforts to promote education, research and development within Queensland and in the early 2000s introduced the slogan to licence plates. However, after public ridicule (and several interstate jibes) the State Government agreed to allow vehicle owners the choice between the new slogan and the old Sunshine State slogan."Sunshine State" remains popular; few people choose "The Smart State". Queensland number plates have maroon text on a white background. Maroon is the official state colour of Queensland and is also used by the state's sporting teams.
  • In late May 2010, after the nnn·Maa series of plates was used up, the series skipped to nnn·Raa, due to standard-issue plates in the -Naa, -Oaa, -Paa and -Qaa series remaining in circulation. As of November 2011, the "Sunshine State" series has reached the combination RWI.
Green and white coloured Queensland plate, as used from 1977–2001.
Queensland - The Sunshine State
  • Block series: In 1977 in green on reflective white base, beginning at 000·NAA through to 000·PZZ. In late 1987, Queensland switched to the current format of green on white plates beginning at 000·AAA. The green ink was changed to maroon at 000·GKK in late 2001. As mentioned above, two slogans are currently available in the maroon on reflective-white colour scheme: QUEENSLAND - THE SMART STATE with plates 000·HAA to 999·HFU, 000·HOY to 999·HQQ, 000·JAA to 999·JDZ and 000·JKA to 999·JKT, 000·KAA to 999·KAZ, 000·KFA to 999·KGK, 000·KOA to 999·KPD, 000·KWS to 999·KXG, 000·LFA to 999·LFU, 000·LOA to 999·LOZ, 000·LZI to 999·LZZ, 000·MAA to 999·MPZ . All others have SUNSHINE STATE slogans.
  • Motorcycle: 1955 to 1975 NA·000 to QZ·999 in white on black base then reissued from 1973 to 1975. In 1975 it changed to 000·NA and completed the run at 999·QZ in December 1980. It changed back to aa-nnn beginning at AA-000 in green on reflective white. From January 2002, it changed to Maroon on white at UK·000 then the run was completed in October 2006. Since 2006 it is in nnn-aa format commencing at 000·AA.
  • Trailer: Up to 1955 the trailer has a Q/Tnnn-nnn format in white on black base (with QT in reverse B&W). From 1955, the format was from NTA·000 to NTZ·999. In 1963 the blocks were recalled and replaced by two type formats the smaller trailer format from QZ-9999 to OA-0000 in white on black base, changing from 1988 to white on reflective green base from OK onwards. in 1993 the format began at AA-0000 and the 2002 changeover to Maroon on reflective white occurred in the B series and now in the C series. The standard size format for larger trailers in white on black runs from QVA-000 to QZZ-999 running from 1963 to 1988. In 1988 it switched to green on reflective white starting at 000-QAA then the 2002 change to maroon in the QHa series and now in nnn-QSa range.

Other vehicles

  • QG Prefix State Government QG·aann

State Government-owned vehicles' plates have the format QGa·nnn from 1955 to 1980 in white on black base then in an interim arrangement in 1979 allocated QHA until the Bjelke-Petersen government made a clear decision, to issue newer plates from May 1980 using nnn-QGa.

1955-1980 - QGa·nnn
1980-1989 - nnn·QGa
1989-1993 - QGa·nnn
1993-1999 - nnn·QGa
1993-2002 - QGa·nnn
2002-2007 - nnn·QGa
2007-Current - QG·nnaa

Most State Government vehicles bear the "Smart State" slogan ("QG", of course, standing for "Queensland Government"). Government trailer format in both reverse formats are QZA-QZZ and smaller trailer as QG. They are no longer issued. Queensland Fire and Rescue fire appliances have plates in the series nnnn-QF, QF being an abbreviation of Queensland Fire and nnnn being the appliance's fleet number, padded to 4 digits where necessary.

Between 1955 and 1991 ambulance vehicles in Queensland were registered with plates in the series QAV·nnn to QAY·nnn.

There are many special blocks of plates allocated to different vehicles with specific uses:

  • Tnn·nnn for taxis- Previously in white on green base both non reflective and reflective until from 1961 to 2002. In current maroon on reflective white.
  • C·nnnnn for limited-use vehicles (mainly roadworks equipment and golf buggies)
  • L·nnnnn for limousines - QUEENSLAND LIMOUSINE embossed legend
  • SL·nn·aa for SpecialPurpose limousines - QUEENSLAND LIMOUSINE embossed legend
  • F·nnnnn or na·nnn for farm vehicles
  • S·nnnnn for special interest or historical vehicles (registered concessionally if they are not to be used as regular transport)
  • CC·nnn for consular staff vehicles. CONSULAR CORPS screened legend.

PPQ Personalised Plates Range

A sample image of one of the many personalised plates available in Queensland
Tropical Queensland personalised plate

PPQ - Personalised Plates Queensland is a personalised plate product of the Queensland Transport and Main Roads Department and they have a dedicated website in use PPQ Queensland

Queensland motorists have a choice of nearly 100 different types of personalised plates.[1] Personalised plates are very popular amongst Queenslanders and often sell for a premium via classifieds or various online portals such as Ebay.

In addition, PPQ offers customers 'retro' plates, which are essentially general-issue plates that may be retained if customers change vehicles. As vintage general issue 'Q' plates, white-on-black plates and green-on-white plates will eventually attract a relatively high price among classic car collectors and restorers, PPQ has made retro plates essentially non-transferable; that is, they may be attached to many different vehicles, but the listed owner(s) must stay the same with each registration and can only be transferred to direct relations.

Formats comes in: nn-aaa, aaa-nn, nnn-aaa or aaa-nnn, Qaa-nnZ (for Euro combinations) and custom combinations as cccccc. 7-letter combinations are auctioned off from time to time and for limited periods between 2007 and 2009, PPQ made 7-letter combinations available for sale online.
Queensland plates are manufactured by LicenSys in Brisbane.

In September 2010 - PPQ made available more 7 letter/number combinations that were not already issued for a limited period of 7 days at the fixed price of $2995 (One time only payment).

In November 2010 - PPQ makes available the Q Signature Series plates: Qaann

South Australia

SA - The Festival State
An X-Series SA Registration. Note the differences in embossed dies compared to the V-series one above - it is a change of manufacturer as the previous manufacturer of V plates in Adelaide has closed down.

General Series

Vehicles & Trailers: Snnn·aaa

Motorcycles: Snn·aaa

In South Australia, until October 2008, standard numberplates followed the 3-letter, 3-number (xxx-nnn) standard used by New South Wales and Victoria: their series, introduced in 1966 started with RAA-000 and has continued from there to the current day.[2]

Since October 2008, South Australian general issue plates follow the format Snnn-aaa, the S signifying South Australia. No slogan is printed on these plates, rather they contain the words 'South Australia',[3] likely to cut manufacturing costs.

Up until 1966 South Australian plates were all numerical, and were subject to re-issue, in either nn-nnn or nnn-nnn format, white on black background. These plates are available for re-issue at a fee.[4] Post 1966 motorcycles were initially issued with RA-000 to SZ-999 then TAA-000 to TIZ-999. Trailers were issued TJA-000 to TZZ-999. When the Txx-nnn issues were exhausted, motorcycles were issued with high end Yxx-nnn, and trailers issued YAA-000 onwards. Since 2008, newly issued plates are in the form Snnn-aaa and motorcycles as Snn-aaa, while trailers start at Snnn-Taa.

Ezy Plates Range

Ezyplates administrated by the Department of Transport Infrastructure and Energy SA. Their dedicated website in use is : Ezy Plates SA

  • Premium Plates'

Since 1995, Premium Numberplates can be purchased which are much more compact in size, in the format xx-nnnx: the letter is usually repeated (e.g.: AA-nnnx, BB-nnnx, current series CC-nnnx). These seem to follow the New South Wales Premium format, using black lettering on a white background on a noticeably slimmer plate. South Australian Premium numberplates feature black characters on a white base, and the letters "SA" down the side, in the same format as NSW premium numberplates. As of 28 September 2009, there is a new addition to the premium range - white on black base, from XX-000A onwards.

"SA Government"
  • Personalised Plates

Introduced in 1979, in green on yellow original format with South Australia legend at the top. It started as aa-nnnn, aaa-nnn and aaaa-nn. Available for general vehicles, trailers and motorcycles

in 1996, the range was revamped, to the premium style dies and later with more recent dies, and has additional colour range on top of the original green on reflective yellow.

  • Custom Plates

Introduced in the 1990s and revised to the current range of colours. Can order up to 7 characters and is also available for Trailers and Motorcycles

Special Purpose Number Plates

Government and police vehicles has SA Government plates in blue text on white background as Snnn·aQa (or previously aQa-nnn), with a Q as the second letter signifying "Queen" or representative of the government. Older systems were allocated SAA-000 to SZZ-999 to government services as well. The legend is embossed as SA Government.
Ambulances, especially in Adelaide, used to have plates in the form AMB-nnn, however these are now being replaced with standard SA government plates for security reasons.
Metropolitan taxis have plates with the word TAXI in a smaller size followed by three or four numbers, separated by the current tourism logo for South Australia - SA, A Brilliant Blend. More recently a new country Taxi Plates has been introduced in black on reflective yellow replacing general issue plates on SA country taxis. Other chauffered vehicles have a different style plate with a blue outline.

Since September 2007, The Heavy Vehicle series commenced and the format used is SB·nn·aa with the legend SA - HEAVY VEHICLE.

General Notes

Interestingly, no general issue SA numberplates (other than Government) are issued with the letter Q anywhere in the combination. The only exception is the series VPQ-nnn and WSQ-nnn - both of which were the first set issued by a new manufacturer.

Between 1981 and October 2008, all general issue SA plates contained the slogan "SA - The Festival State", for the Adelaide Festival of Arts. Between 1997 and October 2008, other slogans were available for an additional fee, including: South Australia - Gateway to the Outback; South Australia - The Defence State; South Australia - The Wine State; South Australia - the Creative State; South Australia - The Rose State; and South Australia - The Electronics State. All slogan plates are discontinued, as at October 2008.[3]

It is also possible to obtain a wide variety of personalised numberplates that feature full-colour illustrations and customised logos or slogans.[5]

For a full gallery of plates visit the Transport SA website.

Western Australia

Top to bottom: WA Gov, current issue, pre-1978 issue

License plates are issued either as a general plate or as non metropolitan LGA specific plate. LGA specific plates can only be requested when the owner of the vehicle is resident within that LGA. In addition to plates for on road use Western Australia also has a plate series for vehicles designated for off-road use only.

Issuing Authorities

Department of Planning and Infrastructure - early 2000s to 2009
Department of Transport - 2009 to Current. Plates may now be purchased online.

General Plates

  • The current series is of the form naaa·nnn (e.g.: 1ABC-123).
  • The previous series (between 1978 and 1997) is of the form naa·nnn, where the first "n" ranged from 6 to 9 (e.g.: 9BC-456). This series ended at 9MZ-999.
  • Prior to 1978, the series was of the form Xaa-nnn (e.g.: XLA-789).
  • Earlier still, the series was in the form Uaa-nnn (e.g.: UGH-675). The X-series and U-series plates are now available again by request, as 'retro' plates in either black on white, or white on black.
  • UQB-nnn was reserved for Transperth (formerly MTT) buses with 3-digit registration numbers usually corresponding to the bus fleet numbers. Buses introduced after 1989 use the TP-nnnn reserved range. Other Government vehicles also used 'Q' as the second character until the new series in 1997.
  • Privately-operated buses, coaches TC-nnnn (Touring Coach) plates.
  • TAXI-nnn plates are used for taxicabs.
  • Limousines carry the plate PT-nnn
  • Motorbikes have the plate naa-nnn (e.g.: 1AB-123)
  • Trailers, caravans etc. have nTaa-nnn (e.g.: 1TAB-123). Earlier series used 'R' onwards as the second character for trailers (e.g. 9RC-123, 8ST-495)

Outside metropolitan Perth

"Home of the America's Cup" number plate
  • There are 143 registration districts (mostly shire or town councils) which each issue licence plates using the form "loc·n" (for shires) and "loc n" (for towns or cities) - for example, "A nnnn" would be a plate issued by the City of Albany, while AU.nnnn would be issued by the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River. A full list has been published near the back of the government-produced Metropolitan Street Directory/Streetsmart each year since 1985. Special licence plate versions for Shires, Cities and Towns have been made available to purchase. They are in the format "nnn loc" with the Shire, City or Town crest between the numbers and letters.
  • There had been a change in the WA licensing system where, for a period of time, all number plates in the state reverted to the equivalent of metropolitan plates, and then back to separate districts and plates again.[citation needed]
  • In recent years towns within shires have been allocated licence plates. Examples include FR.nnn for Frankland in Shire of Cranbrook and KND.nnn for Kendenup in the Shire of Plantagenet.
  • A full list can also be obtained from http://www.regionalwa.com.au/WAinfo/TT_CountryCars.htm

General

Western Australia also offers the largest number of characters in a personalised number plate, offering up to nine characters.[6] Western Australian government plates are the same pattern as standard issue, however the colours are inverted, as depicted in the image.

Slogans on Western Australian number plates changed a number of times in the 1980s, and included "State of Excitement", "Home of the America's Cup" and "The Golden State". However, slogans were abandoned at the beginning of the 1990s.

Tasmania

Current Tasmanian registration plate.

Issuing Authorities

Tasmanian Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources - 1998 to current

General Series

a·nnaa

On 24 February 2008 the Tasmanian Government issued a new number plate design. After the first letter appears the Tasmanian state logo with the slogan 'Tasmania - Explore the Possibilities'. Tasmanian plates are manufactured by LicenSys in Brisbane, Australia.

Older Tasmanian registration plates.

From 1998, Tasmanian number plates had the format aa-nnnn, with the most recent series beginning with "F". These plates bear the slogan "Tasmania - Your Natural State", and have blue lettering on a white background with a coloured decal of the Tasmanian state logo in the background (a stylised thylacine prowling through reeds on a riverbank). Prior to that, 3 letters and 3 numbers (aaa-nnn) were used (from 1954 onwards).

In the illustration, the three plates on the left side from top to bottom are EN1113 (pre-2008 issue), CO7984 (pre-1998 issue), WYG734 (1950's issue, non-reflective). The plates on the right side are domestic or semi trailer as indicated by the T, the red plate is a Tasmanian Interstate plate, issued before the birth of the Federal Interstate scheme.

TasPlates range

Since 2007, personalised plates are offered only through the TasPlates scheme. A wider range of coloured, prestige and themed plates is available for a once-off fee. See TasPlates.com for plate designs and ordering.

Prior to 2007, personalised plates were offered directly through the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources in previous slogan formats and colour options.

Other vehicles

Government Plates: With the introduction of the new standard design in 2008, the format G-nn-aa is used. The lettering and numbering on the plates is green instead of the standard blue. Since 1970 it was in GT-nnnn or GV-nnnn format but in the 1990s it was replaced by the G-nnnnn format. Both of these designs featured red lettering with blue or green numbers.

Trailer Plates: The current format is Z·nnaa. The previous format since 1970 was aT-nnnn, then it went back to issue IT-nnnn & QT-nnnn before the current format.

Tasmania Fire Service vehicles use red lettering on a white background plates with the TFS logo in the center, TFS-nnn.

Members of the Consular Corps Tasmania use plates with the letters CC followed by a colour depiction of the flag of the country they represent, followed by two numbers.

Staff of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources enjoy certain diplomatic status and are issued with plates with the letters IC, followed by one or two numbers.

The Governor of Tasmania's official cars are registered and insured, but in keeping with Vice-Regal tradition, they display the Crown of St Edward, rather than number plates. If the Governor himself is being conveyed, his personal flag will also be flown on the car.

Vintage and classic cars may carry "special interest" plates, which are black letters on white, of the format SI·nnnn. Registered owners pay a lesser amount, on condition that the cars are not used as regular transport.

Metro Tasmania buses have the prefix "MET" on their registration plates, with the number thereafter being the fleet number of the bus. A typical registration plate for Metro bus number #43 would be MET·043.

Northern Territory

* General Series: Ca·nn·aa

* Motorcycle: A·nnnn

* Trailer: Ta·nnnn

The Northern Territory has never fully adopted the 1950s three letter, three number Federal scheme. From the 1950s number plates in the NT were simply five numbers these being white on a black background. [e.g. 12 123], by the 1970s it reached 100-000 so a 6 digit version was added and ran until 1979 when it changed to Ochre on white plates. All black and white plates were recalled and replaced on expiry of registration, providing retention fees applies if the motorist wishes to keep the original number.

NT - Outback Australia. T indicates trailer

Since 1979 NT plates have six numbers in ochre on a white background, with the slogan "Northern Territory: Outback Australia". Motorcycle plates have five numbers. There doesn't seem to be a noticeable system to plate series, as numbers of all types appear on both halves of the plate.

By August 2008 it was reported both motorcycles and general series have reached the 9's and a new system is being looked into to replace the current system. It was reported that the MVR in the NT is looking at n-a-nnnn or aa-nnnn or the NSW aa-nn-aa format to replace it. It is expected to occur near the end of 2010.

As of 23 October 2009, the NT Government has announced the chosen new plate format Ca-nn-aa. [3] It will also replace the all numeric motorcycle series with alpha numeric series. The new series was unveiled in January 2011. It become available for issue in June 2011.

Motorcycles now have the new format recently put into use A-1234 replacing the numerics issued since it began.

Trailers plates have been on Tnn-nnn format until 1998 when it was exhausted; a new format Ta-nnnn was implemented. It started as a black on yellow base until 1979 when the current ochre on white slogan plates were introduced.

Special purpose plates offered are MO (Buses), MB (Mini Buses), Private Hire PH, Taxi, SUB taxi series, TV (Tourist Vehicle), SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle), LV (Limousine Vehicle), CV (Courtesy Vehicle) and SFV (Special Function Vehicle)

Earlier this year, a new Club plate scheme has replaced the VCC (Vintage Car Club) scheme, with embossed legend CLUB down left vertical and bottom legend "NT-MOTOR ENTHUSIAST" and is white on reflective red.

Australian Capital Territory

Previous General Series

Up to 1968, ACT Plates were issued in numerics from 1 to 99-999 in white on navy blue. From September 1968 the Yaa-nnn series commenced (in blue on reflective white) at YAB. YAA was set aside for recalls of numericals, but public pressure led to a backflip and the authorities allowed motorists to retain their existing numbers as long as they converted them into blue on reflective white, for a fee. By 1979 the slogan was added as "ACT - Canberra The Nation's Capital". Interestingly, ACT plates where the first of any region in Australia to be reflective, this commenced at YAA-NNN. To celebrate the Bicentennial celebrations in 1988, new vehicle registrations received plates that had a black outline of the new Parliament House in the middle, flanked by 1788 on the left and 1988 on the right. As these special plates become evermore rarer, they are sought after and particularly valuable


"Old" series ACT number plate.
"Heart of the Nation" plate.
Standard issue "Centenary" plate

Current General Series

Yaa·nna

In 1998 when the previous series was exhausted, the series changed to Yaa-nna. The previous Feel the Power Slogan was replaced by the original "ACT - Canberra The Nation's Capital" and an optional slogan was offered "ACT - Canberra Heart of the Nation".

Since 2007 a special series bearing the slogan "ACT-Celebration of a Century 2013" is being issued in commemoration of Canberra's centenary year in 2013. These plates are being issued starting YGa-nna.

Motorcycle - nn·nnnIt has been the all numeric series since the beginning of the FCT/ACT registration, starting at 1 and continues beyond 81-999 in its current colour format - Blue on reflective white.

Trailer - T·nnnn AThe previous series T-n(nnnn as required) was used, initially in black on yellow, later blue on reflective white. When the number sequence reached T-99-999, plates were issued commencing at T nnnn A onwards.

Personalised

Since January 1984 personalised "initial" plates have been available, as a two letter and three number combination. Out of sequence plates have also been available in the YAA-000 to YZZ-999 range and more recently in the current series Yaa-nna. Custom plates are now available with almost any combination of letters and numbers, in either blue-on-white tin, or in plastic with a very wide choice of colour combinations. They are available with company logos and customised slogans at the bottom of the plate.

Special Purpose Issues

Public transport vehicles are allocated distinctive codes:

  • BUS-nnn (ACTION government buses, rear-only plate on newer buses) - Ochre on white
  • MO-n, MO-nn, and MO-nnn (other buses) - Black on Yellow
  • H-n, H-nn and H-nnn (chauffeur-driven hire cars) - Black on Yellow
  • TX-n, TX-nn, and TX-nnn (taxicabs). - Black on Yellow. Taxi plates in the ACT numbered below TX-300 are plates which can be traded, and are estimated to be worth around $200,000. Recently the ACT government has issued over 100 plates which are leased from the government, cannot be traded or transferred, and are leased for a term of four years, with one renewal available. These plates are in the series TX-400 which can be found on any type of taxi, and TX-900 and above are reserved for, and bear the legend 'Restricted Taxi', which is for the use of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis which have an obligation to give priority to wheelchair-disabled persons.

ACT Government vehicles are allocated codes 2nn-nnn. The plates are red/brown on reflective white with ACT GOVERNMENT below the number.

ActewAGL vehicles are issued with plates in the format of YWE-nnn, the 'W' and 'E' standing for Water and Electricity.

Vehicles registered in the Jervis Bay Territory are issued ACT plates in the format of YZO-nnn.

Vintage, Veteran and Historic cars

Historic vehicles owned by members of registered ACT motor vehicle clubs and used only for approved events may be granted special plates at concessional registration. Plates are standard blue on reflective white with the following wording.

  • Veteran cars built before 1919: ACT VETERAN CAR - nnn
  • Vintage cars built from 1919 to 1930: ACT VINTAGE CAR - nnn
  • Historic cars built after 1931 and more than 30 years old: ACT HISTORIC CAR - nnn

Commonwealth and Military

Military plates were nnn-nnn with the first digit corresponding to the military district number:

  • 2 - New South Wales
  • 3 - Victoria
  • 4 - Queensland
  • 5 - South Australia
  • 6 - Western Australia
  • 7 - Tasmania

However, new plates issued to the Army are now in this format: nn-nnnn, where the first two digits represent the year the vehicle was registered. r.g. 05-1832.

The military district number is also the basis of the Australian Postcode numbering system.

Current Australian Army number plate format is Annnnn with this newer format beginning in 2003. The A represents "Army" with the next two digits representing the year the vehicle was first registered. For instance, a 2008 model Toyota Coaster used to transport army cadets might have the plate A08227. This format has also been adopted by the Defence Force, Navy, and Air Force with combinations Dnnnnn, Nnnnnn and Rnnnnn respectively.

The official cars of the three service chiefs carry plates ARMY1, NAVY1 or RAAF1.

"Commonwealth of Australia"

The Commonwealth Government of Australia used the Z prefix for its government owned vehicles up until 2000 when the Commonwealth Vehicle Registry was closed.

These plates were on a black on white background, usually marked with "C of A' at the top of the plate - an abbreviation of Commonwealth of Australia and the leading Z being red to further distinguish it from other state plates.

Issuance of Z prefixed plates used for same purposes was passed onto the states after 2000. ACT plates started at ZYA-000, VIC plates started at ZED-000, QLD plates started at ZQ-0000, NSW plates started at ZZZ-000, and SA plates started at ZSA-000.

Each of the states display their state initials as seen above the numbers instead of the old "C of A" marking.

Interestingly the Northern Territory still uses the older format and same "C of A" markings at top of the plate.

The number plate of the Prime Minister's vehicle is C*1 (i.e. Commonwealth No. 1) with a seven-pointed Federation Star.

The Governor-General's official cars do not carry number plates, but simply depict a representation of the Crown of St Edward.

For official visits to Australia, special plates are often put over the top of normal 'Z' plates, depicting the Australian Coat of Arms and, in red 'Visit to Australia' with a numeral. These are not strictly registration plates, but are useful for police and other officials to identify cars in official motorcades.

Federal Interstate Registration Scheme

Heavy Vehicles (over 4.5Tonnes GVM) can choose to participate in FIRS. FIRS plates are aa·nnaa, and are green on a reflective yellow background. FIRS plates are issued by state authorities on behalf of the Commonwealth, and carry the format as specified by the INTERSTATE ROAD TRANSPORT REGULATIONS 1986 - REG 21.[7] Federal Interstate-registered vehicles are prohibited from undertaking intrastate journeys and can only be used for cross-border work.

The first character represents the state of issue:

  • A for Australian Capital Territory
  • C for Northern Territory
  • N for New South Wales
  • Q for Queensland
  • S for South Australia
  • T for Tasmania
  • V for Victoria
  • W for Western Australia

The second character represents the type of vehicle being registered:

  • V for Vehicle (typically issued to prime-movers, but are also attached to rigid vehicles such as coaches and moving trucks).
  • T for Trailer.
  • X for eXtra weight, for vehicles with particular high gross vehicle or aggregate trailer masses.

The remaining characters are allocated by the issuing authorities. As most interstate transport companies are based on the East Coast, the majority of FIRS plates are registered in NSW and VIC. Some issues originate in QLD or SA, with the remaining states appearing relatively rarely.

A typical plate which might be found on a semi-trailer, registered to a company in NSW would be NT·08FA.

Diplomatic

Diplomatic plates are issued to foreign diplomats by the Government of the Australian Capital Territory. They follow the format of 'DC nnnn', 'DCnnnnn', 'DX nnnn' or 'DXnnnnn', where the first two or three numbers are the code for the home country of the diplomat, and have black text on a powder blue background. DC plates are issued to members of the Diplomatic Corps, whereas DX plates are issued to persons who are attached to diplomatic missions but are not themselves diplomats, e.g. household staff.

Older issues have no territory identifier, however newer plates have 'ACT' embossed at the top centre of the plate. Newer plates are also written as 'DC' and 'DX', rather than 'D.C.' and 'D.X.' to allow for the inclusion of a greater number of characters in the sequence. A substantial number of older-style plates are still in use, however.

The first two or three numbers appearing in the plate correspond to a specific country, for example 69 is issued to the United Kingdom. The following two digits are typically issued with lower numbers to higher ranking officials, usually 01 being issued to the ambassador from that country. So 'DC 6901' would be found on the vehicle of the British High Commissioner to Australia.

Diplomatic vehicle in Canberra

The number issued to each country has no particular relevance, and was allocated by ballot. Countries with many vehicles (such as the USA) are allocated two numbers. Before the blue D.C. plates were introduced, diplomatic cars in Canberra carried plates which were white letters on red. The numbers then correlated to the length of time the particular diplomatic mission had been in Canberra and the British High Commissioner's car proudly carried the plate D.C. 1. The replacement arrangement is more egalitarian.

State registration authorities issue CC plates to Consular representatives in their relevant State capital.

The ACT Government issues similar plates to representatives of international organisations in the Territory. These plates are also coloured black on powder blue, and follow a format of 'IO nnnn'.

Notes

References

  • Blue Mountains Family History Society.(2007) Australian number plates Springwood, N.S.W. : Blue Mountains Family History Society. ISBN 9780975678848
  • Nance, Tony.(1980) Australian number plates Beaumaris, Vic. ISBN 0959447407
  • Wright, D.C. (1983) Australasian (motor vehicle) registration plates, 1901-1982 Montmorency, Vic. ISBN 0959498001

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