7.7 Registration, Compulsory Third Party Insurance and number plates

7.7.1 Registration

All motor vehicles to be used in a public place in Australia, including those owned by missions, posts, staff and dependants, must be registered. Vehicle registration must be renewed every 12 months (as per the Motor Vehicle Standards Act). In the ACT, registration is free for missions, staff and dependants. In the states and the Northern Territory, registration costs vary.

7.7.2 Compulsory Third Party Insurance Registration (CTPI)

Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTPI) is personal injury insurance that is mandatory for every motor vehicle registered in Australia. It is collected at the time the motor vehicle is registered, or registration is renewed. CTPI covers the driver at fault in a motor vehicle accident for personal injury claims by other road users - such as other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and pillion passengers.

Missions, posts, staff and dependants are required to pay CTPI (even where, as in the ACT, vehicle registration is free) as it is not a government fee, charge or tax. Rather, CTPI is paid in full to a licensed insurer. It is an offence to drive a vehicle without CTPI.

7.7.3 Number plates

Motor vehicles owned by missions, posts, diplomats, administrative and technical (A&T) officers and consular officers, whether or not they were purchased under privilege, must carry diplomatic (DC/DX) or consular number plates (CC).

Vehicles owned by diplomats and A&T officers in the ACT, whether or not they were purchased under privilege, can be registered with DC/DX plates to a dependant, but the application must be in the name of the official.

In most states and the Northern Territory, consular employees and the dependants are not issued with CC plates.

Motorcycles, trailers and caravans are issued with standard state or territory number plates, not diplomatic or consular ones.

7.7.3.1 ACT - DC and DX number plates

Diplomatic number plates issued to foreign missions and staff in the ACT display the letters DC or DX followed by four or five numerals. Official vehicles and those owned by diplomatic staff and dependants carry DC number plates. Vehicles owned by administrative and technical, and service staff and dependants carry DX plates.

Requests for DC and DX number plates should be made to Protocol Branch via note verbale, which should include the owner's name and the vehicle details. Protocol Branch will allocate the registration number and arrange for number plates to be issued. Once the plates have been issued, they cannot be changed while the vehicle is owned by a mission or staff member.

7.7.3.2 States and the Northern Territory - CC number plates

In the states and the Northern Territory, motor vehicle registration authorities issue CC number plates for vehicles owned by consulates-general, consulates headed by career consuls and consular officers. Honorary consuls may also be issued with CC number plates, although the situation varies from state to state/Northern Territory. Consular employees are generally not issued with CC plates.

Requests for vehicle registration should be made via note verbale to the relevant DFAT state or territory office.

Last Updated: 9 October 2018