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Changes proposed for NSW vehicle registration system

Roads Minister Duncan Gay has announced a series of proposed changes to the light vehicle registration system in New South Wales, the biggest the state has seen for 90 years. If the legislation is successful, it would mean significant changes for affected drivers.

According to Mr Gay, the current system was first created in 1924 and calculates the relevant registration fees by using the vehicle's weight.

"Just consider how much the fleet on NSW roads has changed in 90 years, from the early vintage classics to the big bodied muscle cars of the 70's and the hybrids of recent years," Mr Gay said in a statement released June 6.

"Today I've released Vehicle Registration Initiatives which proposes incentives for buying safer cars based on the ANCAP safety rating system."

The proposed guidelines will give motorists an incentive to choose vehicles with higher safety standards and environmentally friendly technology. The registration changes would also apply to safer motorcycles, and lessen the charge for registration for the majority of caravans and light trailers.

The new guidelines are about more than just reducing the cost of registration. With road crashes costing NSW over $5 billion a year, an incentive to choose safer vehicles could also help lower the rate of incidents on the road.

"The new pricing system would apply only to new cars and new motorcycles to encourage people out in the market to choose a safer, cleaner model," Mr Gay said.

The proposed registration changes are available for the public to view and provide feedback on, until July 24, and Mr Gay is urging all interested residents to contribute their opinion on this crucial item of legislation.

How does the current registration system in NSW work?

All vehicles in NSW must have the appropriate registration and compulsory third party or ctp insurance. Currently, all drivers looking to register their vehicles must pay a base fee of $60.

Under today's rules, light vehicles of up to 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) will incur a vehicle tax calculated using the tare or unladen weight of the vehicle. The greater the weight, the larger the amount of vehicle tax.

For example, cars, station wagons and trucks with a tare weight of up to 975kg would typically attract a vehicle tax of $195 for private use and $316 for business use. However, if the tare weight is between 1,505 and 2,504 kg, the vehicle tax goes up to $422 for private use ($657 for business use).

What would the proposed changes involve?

Under the changes proposed by Transport for NSW, passenger vehicle registration charges would be based not only on weight but also the vehicle's ANCAP safety rating and the amount of emissions. For motorcycles, the flat registration charge would be changed to include incentives for motorcycles with lower power-to-weight ratios and Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS).

The registration charge for caravans and light trailers currently paying a weight-based tax would be reduced, and new charges would be introduced for light trailers that don't pay any weight tax.

Another significant change involves the introduction of continuous automated registration using online monthly direct debit or credit. This means drivers will benefit from registration with no expiry date, reducing the amount of administrative duties involved in registration renewal.

Lastly, stamp duty and green slip charges may also undergo a change to further entice drivers to purchase vehicles with higher safety ratings and cleaner technology. If the new guidelines are ratified, this may mean insurers will take a vehicle's ANCAP rating into account in determining ctp green slip premiums.

Transport for NSW is encouraging consumers to complete a poll on their website, make their own submission or complete the survey for passenger vehicles, motorcycles, caravans or light trailers to provide feedback about the proposals.