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Proposed changes to vehicle registration in NSW favouring safer, greener cars, would also see the introduction of continuous registration.

In response to the NSW Government’s discussion paper, NCOSS has highlighted a number of concerns about the current and proposed administrative arrangements. And given the likely shake-up of the way in which rego fees are calculated, we reiterated our proposal that some of the revenue raised should go towards transport services for people unable to drive independently.

Firstly, by helping households avoid lump sum rego payments, a continuous registration process could be of significant value for people struggling to make ends meet. Reports from our members suggest that many people – particularly young people and jobseekers – struggle to put money aside for their annual rego fees. This can compromise education and employment opportunities, and can also result in fines that then contribute to a vicious cycle of debt. While it can be easier to budget for smaller, regular payments, the use of Centrepay in making these payments should be a straightforward and well-promoted option – direct debit or credit arrangements can in many cases lead to further financial hardship.

Another issue of concern is the privacy of those entitled to registration concessions. The online vehicle registration check – which provides details about a car’s registration status – currently includes unnecessary information about whether or not there are any concessions on a vehicle. Moves to improve the registration system should address this as a matter of priority.

And finally, the shake-up of registration fees surely provides an opportunity to consider how all people might benefit from the roads system. Current arrangements see all vehicle weight tax revenue flow directly to the Roads Program. But for most people there’ll come a time when they can no longer drive independently. Setting aside a proportion of registration revenue to make sure good transport alternatives are available when such a time comes would contribute to a system that caters for people at all stages of their lives. It would also go some way towards establishing an ongoing funding stream to address the rising problem of transport disadvantage.

Download NCOSS submission: Vehicle Registration Initiatives Discussion Paper