Vehicle registration plates of Australia

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Australian vehicle number plates are issued by the states and territories, the Commonwealth government, and the armed forces of Australia. 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 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 state of Victoria, which from August 2013 issues plates in the format 1aa.naa. Nevertheless, plates generally have the same dimensions regardless of their state-of-issue so there remains an element of consistency between them.

Summary of current General Series standard issue plates[edit]

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
ACT Canberra - Heart of the Nation
YKM·00A Slogan embossed on plate
ACT - Celebration of a Century 2013 YIQ·00A Slogan screenprinted on plate
New South Wales black/yellow aa·nn·aa New South Wales CD·00·CM No slogan
black/white aaa·nna NSW CXW·00A No slogan
Northern Territory ochre/white Ca·nn·aa NT - Outback Australia CB·80·AA Slogan embossed on plate
Queensland maroon/white nnn·aaa Queensland - Sunshine State 000·VOA Slogan embossed on plate
South Australia black/white Snnn·aaa South Australia S000·BFR No slogan
Tasmania blue/white a nn aa Tasmania · Explore the possibilities E 00 KA Background screenprinting of state logo (a thylacine walking through reeds)
Victoria blue/white 1aa·naa Vic - Stay Alert Stay Alive 1EK·1AA Slogan screenprinted on plate
Western Australia blue/white 1aaa·nnn Western Australia 1ESZ·000 Decorative motif of desert sun and blue skyline along top of plate. Only the serials are embossed.

Summary of current trailer and caravan standard issue plates[edit]

State/territory Text/background colour Format Current slogan Current series Notes
Australian Capital Territory blue/white T nnnn a ACT T 0000 G No slogan
New South Wales black/yellow TA·nn.aa New South Wales TA·00·HA NSW-TRAILER - Commenced December 2014
black/white TR·nn·aa NSW TR·00·BA No slogan. New series commenced Aug 2014
Northern Territory ochre/white Ta·nnnn NT - Outback Australia TJ·4000 Slogan embossed on plate
Queensland maroon/white nnn·Qaa Queensland - Sunshine State 000·QZX Slogan embossed on plate
maroon/white aa·nnnn Qld EB·0000 No slogan
South Australia black/white Snnn·Taa South Australia S000·TEK No slogan
Tasmania blue/white Z nn aa Tasmania - Explore the possibilities Z 00 XA Background screen printed of state logo (a thylacine walking through reeds)
Victoria blue/white ann·nnn Vic - Stay Alert Stay Alive W85·000 Both the state logo decal in top centre (Southern Cross in a blue triangle) and slogan are screen printed. Vic - stay alert stay alive
Western Australia blue/white 1Taa·nnn Western Australia 1TQG·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[edit]

State/territory Text/background colour Format Current slogan Current series Notes
Australian Capital Territory blue/white nn·nnn ACT 92·000 No slogan
New South Wales black/yellow aaa·nn NSW MSA·00 No slogan
black/white aaa·nn NSW ANA·00 No slogan
Northern Territory ochre/white a·nnnn NT B·3000 No slogan
Queensland maroon/white nnn·aa Qld 000·ML No slogan
South Australia black/white Snn·aaa SA S00·AXE No slogan
Tasmania blue/white a nnn a Tas A 000 X No slogan
Victoria blue/white 1a·naa Vic 1Q·1AA No slogan
Western Australia blue/white 1aa·nnn WA 1HM·000 No slogan

Federal numbering scheme[edit]

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 - Exited scheme July 2004
  • Victoria: GAA-000 to MZZ-999 (Ixx-nnn series skipped initially, but used after the Lxx-nnn series)- Exited scheme August 2013
  • Queensland: NAA-000 to QZZ-999 (Oxx-nnn series initially skipped by Queensland) - Exited scheme July 1977
  • South Australia: RAA-000 to TZZ-999 Exited scheme October 2008
  • Western Australia: UAA-000 to VZZ-999 (V was not used; issued X after U ran out)- Exited scheme January 1979
  • Tasmania: WAA-000 to WZZ-999 (later 2 letters & 4 digits)- Exited scheme 1970
  • Northern Territory: XAA-000 to XZZ-999 (not taken up; stayed with 6 digits)- Exited scheme June 2011
  • Australian Capital Territory: YAA-000 to YZZ-999 - Exited scheme July 1998
  • Commonwealth Government ZAA-000 to ZZZ-999 (with first 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 black background with white lettering, 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 ochre 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. Colours were white reflective background and green lettering (later maroon).(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[edit]

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 must 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[edit]

Original yellow series, note colour difference
NSW - The Premier State
NSW - The First State
NSW - Towards 2000
Plate Number NSW (2004-)
NSW - Centenary of Federation
NSW number plate 1991-
Euro Plate NSW

Issuing authorities[edit]

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 - 1 November 2011

Previous General Series[edit]

  • Car/Heavy Vehicles:
  • 1910-1924 - nnn·nnn (Car only) - NSW insert added from 1912
  • 1910-1937 - L·nn·nnn (Lorry only)
  • 1924-1937 - nnn·nnn
  • 1937-1951 - AZ·nnn
  • 1951-2004 - ABC·nnn until 1961 it was changed from yolk yellow to lemon ABC·nnn
  • Trailer:
  • 1910-1924 - nnn·nnn - NSW insert added from 1912
  • 1924-1937 - nnn·nnn
  • 1937-1952 - JX·nnn
  • 1952-1981 - TA·nnnn
  • 1981-2014 - A·nnnnn
  • 2014-Current - TA·nn·aa
  • Cycles:
  • 1910-1937 - nn·nnn- NSW insert added from 1912
  • 1939-1950 - AB·nn
  • 1950-1989 - AB·nnn until 1961 it was changed from yolk yellow to lemon AB·nnn

Registration Labels[edit]

From 1932, Registration labels were introduced which corresponded to the vehicle's the number plate, and were displayed on the windscreen or side-windows of vehicles.
The label was a wet application type soaked in cold water which was then applied to the glass, then squeegeed with a clean sponge to remove remaining gum on the label. It was time consuming.
1932 to 1953 - Non standard annual colours were used
1953 to 2012 - Annual cyclic colours of red, purple, brown, green, orange and light blue.

Design changes
1932-1957 - Month in the middle and particular details on both sides of label and NEW SOUTH WALES with government crest at top.
1957-1959 - Month in the middle and particular details on bottom of label and NEW SOUTH WALES with government crest at top while VEHICLE REGISTRATION LABEL at bottom.
1960-1973 - Redesigned label showing month in middle, particular details on top of label and NEW SOUTH WALES at the right hand side & Date of expiry at left hand side.
1973-1984 - Redesigned label showing month in middle, particular details on top of label on one line only and NEW SOUTH WALES moved to the top & Date of expiry moved to right hand side.
1984-1987 - Redesigned label showing month & year in left hand side, particular details deleted and NEW SOUTH WALES remain at top with annual graphic designs of the Sydney Opera House, Parkes Observatory, Queen Victoria Building and Australian Bicentenary.
1988 - Redesigned label showing NEW SOUTH WALES, month & year in right hand side and Australian Bicentenerary logo.
1989-1992 - Redesigned half size label showing NEW SOUTH WALES, month & year in full middle alignment.
1992-2012 - Adhesive sticker label with vehicle details reinstated in yellow L shaped area.
1 January 2013 - Registration labels abolished for light vehicles - cars, trailers, cycles and caravans.

Information on previous General Series[edit]

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. In 1937, letters in number plates were first introduced, using an 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 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,having skipped the plates series from IAA-000 to IRZ-000 ,ITA-000 to IZZ-999 and ZLG-000 to ZZY-999

Reflective black-on-yellow plates began from October 1980 at which time the "NSW" insert was struck from the top of the plate to be replaced by a state based slogan at the bottom of the plate, except when it was briefly reinstated in 1988/89.

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 March 1989: NSW (interim series)
  • March 1989 to present: New South Wales legend at bottom of plates introduced, standardised option from October 1996
  • June 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 was exhausted therefore, a replacement series starting at AA-00-AA continuing the current reflective black-on-yellow plates and New South Wales legend.

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. Filled in H-00000 series for black on yellow issues after Z-99999 has concluded. As of 11 December 2014, black on yellow trailer series TA-03 -BA was released with embossed legend NSW-TRAILER. The white on black issues are now issued in the series starting with TR-00-AA with NSW top legend that motorists can now order TA-12-BC only in Black on white through the My Plates website.

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 ZZZ-99 that go in reverse.

When a black on yellow plate is judged to be in need of replacement, the Roads and Maritime Services are required to manufacture a replacement at no cost to the owner, hence it is quite common to see plates from older series in the current format. Number plates, both personalised and standard, are able to be transferred between vehicles. A number of Sydney bus operators still recycle old plates including Forest Coach Lines and Punchbowl Bus Company.[1]

Current General Series[edit]

For information regarding skipped combinations please refer to Skipped Combinations section

  • Car/Heavy Vehicles - 2004 - Current: Ca·nn·aa
  • Slimline light vehicle series 1991-Current: Caa·nna
  • Trailers - 2014 - Current: TA·nn·aa - New series commenced December 2014
  • Trailers - 2014 - Current: TR·nn·aa - New Series commenced Aug 2014.
  • Motorcycles - 1989 - Current: Maa·nn
  • Motorcycles - 2009 - Current: Aaa·nn Since 30 November 2009, black on reflective white general series has been introduced.

Skipped Combinations:

  • Black on yellow - combinations skipped are AS, AX and BO.
  • General issue white slimline - Combinations skipped are AFP, AFR, ASS, AVA-Z, BQB-Z, BRA, BRC-Z, BUA-Z, BXA-Z, BYA-Z, CAD-Z, CBB-Z, CCA-Z, CFA-Z, CKB-Z, CLA-Z, CUA-Z CB's are allocated to white on blue series. SG fleet plates are issued in BQA and CAA blocks and recently Summit Fleet in CFF series. A number of skipped combinations are now issued as an over the counter sale eg BRB in Blue on white, CKA in Eurostyle.
  • Trailer Series A-12345 - A,B,C,D,E,F,G,J,K & L 00001 to 19999 are not issued - Final H 00001 to 19999 was issued as an interim measure after Z-99999 concluded.

Other allocations:

  • Dealer Slimline From YBA-00A to YCZ-99Z - various dealers's names/logos are screened printed at the bottom.
  • Motorcycle Dealers From BNA to BNZ, and BPA to BQZ - various dealer's names are screen printed at the top between embossed NSW.

MyPlates range[edit]

"MyPlates" range is a product of the Plate Marketing Pty Ltd on behalf of the NSW Roads and Maritime Services. 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 (formerly part of the LicenSys group) has been appointed to manage and operate the myPlates Special Number Plates business under a 15-year partnering arrangement.

  • Format available for types of vehicles:

Light vehicles options: aa-nnn, aa-nnnn, aaa-nnn, aaa-nna, aa-nn-aa,nnn-aaa, nn-aaa, nn-aaaa,cccccc (where c can be a numeral, letter or space)
Motorcycle format options: aa-nn, aa-nnn, aaa-nn, nn-aaa, ccccc
Trailer format options: a-nnnnn, aa-nnnn, cccccc
Heavy Vehicles options: aaa-nnn, aa-nnn, aa-nnnn, cccccc

History of plates launches

  • 1969 - White on Black personalised introduced - Cars AB-123 & Motorcycle AB-12
  • 1976 - White on Black personalised extended into AB-1234 and Black on yellow ABC-123 added.
  • 1981 - Custom Plates introduced initially as NSW-THE PREMIER STATE in black on reflective lemon base.
  • 1987 - Custom Plates replaced by current Custom Yellow.
  • 1987 - Bicentenary plates launched - Black on reflective white with shield - ABC-123 (AAA-050 TO ABZ-999) and later added AB-123
  • 1991 - Premium slimline plates were introduced commencing at AAA-11A, black on reflective white base in smaller embossed characters and NSW embossed at left hand side.
  • 1994 - Premium slimline personalised plates were introduced and was offered in combinations - AB-123, AB-1234, ABC-123 & CUSTOM
  • 1997 - RSL Plates in green on mid yellow - "NSW Lest We Forget"
  • 1998 - Sydney Olympic Games Plates - "Share the Spirit" in black on white with blue band on bottom and the Sydney Olympic Logo - ABC-123, AB-123 & AB-1234
  • 2000 - Due to popular demand, Olympic slimlines introduced - ABC-123, AB-123 & AB-1234
  • 2001 - Centenary of Federation plates available for 12 months ABC-123, AB-123 & AB-1234 and CF series 1901-CF to 2001-CF were offered in reflective embossed white characters. Recent remakes are now in reflective black base.
  • 2002 - White Euro plates: N aa-nnn and N aa-nna new style of plates fitting European dimensions was introduced in April 2002. In these plates, the N is compulsory prefix then spaced combinations.
  • 2002 - New England plates that ran for about 4 years.
  • 2003 - The colour range were introduced. See colour chart.
  • 2004 - White on Black personalised extended into ABC-123
  • 2005 - Metallic range was introduced. See colour chart.
  • 2005 - Premium slimlines Plates was replaced by Bordered slimline plates commencing at AWA-11A
  • 2006 - Black Euro introduced, and an auction custom i.e. N-CSTM1 was conducted.
  • 2007 - 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 - NRL Team Plates - Plates for NRL fans team colours are introduced.
  • 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.

  • 2009 - HSV, FPV and V8 Supercar plates were introduced. From 22 September 2010, slimline version were added.
  • 2009 - All plates range changed to reflective bases.
  • 2010 - Corporate plates with business names and logos are introduced
  • 2012 - Bright lights commences on 1 May 2012 and was initially in black base only with reflective colours are Venetian green, casino sunrise, moulin rougue, gold rush, midnight jazz, hot flamingo and blue lagoon. It was extended to motorcycles during November 2012. The range has since been modified to include reflective black with the rest of reflective colour choices.
  • 2012 - The first number personalised plate range begins, allowing motorists to choose alternative series as the current personalised plates capacity are near full or not available. Current range of plate options will apply to all first number combinations as shown as 123-ABC, 12-ABC & 12-ABCD.
  • 2013 - Custom Traditional black introduced. Custom yellow expanded into AA-123, AA-1234, ABC-123, 123-ABC, 12-ABC & 12-ABCD combinations.
  • 2013 - Art range - 7 selected designs were launched.
  • 2013 - Tech Range released 4 November 2013
  • 2014 - US sized plates released - comes in US style star spangles, NSW State plate and Black on white plain.
  • 2014 - Le Chic & Vintage range introduced on 13 July 2014
  • 2014 - Bright Lights now withdrawn from sale as they are under review following customer feedback that the colours are hard to read in a normal human eye. as of Feb 2015, 9604 sets will be recalled and replaced by a larger & clearer version of bright lights. Prototype sets are being pressed and tested prior to potential re-release.[2] [3]
  • 2014 - Art Cycle range launched 30 September
  • 2014 - 2014 Premiership plates launched 6 October
  • 2015 - Formerly called Bright Lights now relaunched as Colour on Black available for car and light vehicles at this stage.
  • Coloured Plates chart
NSW Alternative Plate Number

Offered in colours are:
Colour on Black: AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn
Coloured on white: AAA·nnn AAA·nnA AA·nnn AA·nnnn nn·AAA nn·AAAA nnn·AAA cccccc
Coloured range: AAA·nnn AAA·nnA AA·nnn AA·nnnn nn·AAA nn·AAAA nnn·AAA cccccc AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn
Premium Range: AAA·nnn AA·nnnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn

Exclusions & choices: 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 (March 7). 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).

Special purpose vehicles[edit]

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 and TPG 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 have black on yellow plates, with the prefix Metro: M/O·nnnn, Country: nnnn·MO (Motor Omnibus) or nnnn·ST (State Transit Buses). 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. The M/O·1000 to M/O·3999 range was reserved for the State Transit Authority and its predecessors.[4] When the end of the series was reached in the early 1970s the series was reissued before again being exhausted again in 2000. Some plates were reissued for a third time before the State Transit Authority adopted its own nnnn·ST series. The M/O·6nnn series was reserved for the Wollongong region, but now cancelled M/O 6000's series are re-issued to private buses in Sydney, which continues from M/O·5nnn series.
  • Tourist vehicles have black on yellow plates, with the prefix TV·nnnn. Originally issued as yellow on black TV·nnn plates in the 1960s, before changed to reflective black on yellow format in the early 1980s. At the time the tourist coach market was heavily regulated with a finite number of TV plates on issue, making them like taxi plates a traded commodity.
NSW Tourist Vehicle Plate Number
  • 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. Effective from the week of 29 July 2013, new HC plates design were released - in same white on reflective black with legend NSW-HIRE CAR starting with HC-1927.
  • 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 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·D 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. By January 2015 40000-D suffix Conditional Plates has started. nnnn·T for machinery/tractors commenced in December 2013 to balance between existing Conditional and Machinery/Tractors types.
  • Rally Vehicle Plates - nnnnn·R Introduced in 2014 - NSW -RALLY VEHICLE
  • Historic and veteran cars Cars - nnnnn·H Cycles - nnnn·G 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 porcelain 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 and 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 and ran until 2004 when it was replaced by the current format trade plates with year & bottom legend - NSW TRADE screenprinted & a change to the premium dies
  • Light or heavy vehicles or trailers A-nnnn or nnnn-A formats.
  • Cycles are in either B-nnnn or nnnn-B formats.
nnnn-A/nnn-B Colour A-nnnn/B-nnn Colour
2004 nnnn·A 2005 A·nnnn
2006 nnnn·A 2007 A·nnnn
2008 nnnn·A 2009 A·nnnn
2010 nnnn·A 2011 A·nnnn
2012 nnnn·A 2013 A·nnnn
2014 nnnn·A 2015 - Perm

Permanent Trade plates will be introduced sometime during 2015 as 2014 Trade plates are renewed for 2015. This arrangement existed from 1991 to 2003.

  • 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 variations of dies and 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.

Discontinued plates[edit]

  • Bright Lights: AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn AAA·nnn
  • Motor Van V·nnnn V series began as a Motor Van plates until 1939 when it changed to large page dies then into black on reflective yellow "The Premier State" from 1983 until it was discontinued in 1985 and was recalled.
  • Interstate Visitors B·nnnn B series were used for interstate visitors in the 1920s to register interstate visitors to NSW and vice versa in their own states registration schemes. It was discontinued after only 2 years. The B series were later adopted by motorcycles dealer plates.
  • Interstate Series ISA·nnn 1953-1987. It began in the ISA-ISZ blocks and used for trucks and trailers. In April 1982, it changed to red in reflective white in the "The Premier State" slogan. In January 1987 it was replaced by the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme.
  • Country HV Hire Cars HV·nnnn HV-nnn series were issued in the country until 1998 when it had to combine into a single HC 4000 series.
  • Country MO prefix: MO·nnnn The prefix series commenced in 1939 and was replaced in 2008 with the current suffix series nnnn-MO
  • 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 has been abolished and replaced by the Roads and Maritime Services.
  • Fire and Rescue New South Wales FRNSW vehicles used to be registered in the FBY·nnn series, but now both administrative and operational firefighting vehicles are now using AB-12-CD general issues, in order to reduce bugdet expenditure.
  • Yellow "General Series" Personalised Plates ABC·nnn From the mid-70's personalised plates into the yellow general series format began and then later into the Premier State, First State and Towards 2000 era then into New South Wales reflective yellow. It briefly stopped in 2003 and was reinstated in 2006 for 3 years until it was finally discontinued.


Victoria - Garden State
Victoria - On the Move
Victoria- The Place to Be
Victoria - Stay Alert Stay Alive

Issuing authorities[edit]

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

Previous General Series[edit]

Vehicles: ABC-nnn 1953-2013

Trailers: Ann-nnn 1963-Current

Motorcycles: AB-nnn 1953-2010

General Series[edit]

Vehicles: 1aa-naa

Trailers: ann-nnn

Motorcycles: 1a-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.)

Initial Victorian plates, issued from 1910 to 1939, were in numerals only, from 1 to 285-000 . 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. In 1972 the 2-letter, 3 number scheme were re-introduced as optional, personalized plates. These had an embossed "VIC" above the plate's embossed characters in full length.

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.

While the following list is far from complete, HHK was the first alpha series issued in 1961, KMD the first in 1970 and KUC in 1971.

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 FVA to FVZ and FYA to FYZ) were produced in Queensland to meet demand. These plates are identifiable by their different embossed dies and vertical diamond separator (as opposed to Victoria's horizontal diamond). An additional series RAA-000 until RBZ-999 was produced pending the start to the On The Move series. 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 across the bottom plates started at CBK-000 to CDZ-999. In 1985 some of the CGI-000 to CGZ-999 series plates bore the slogan Vic - Nuclear Free State across the bottom. In 1992 some of the plates produced with the slogan Vic- Drive Safely across the bottom, started at EWA-000 to EYF-999

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 the plate series started at DJE-000 to DRZ-999. In the early 1990s, plates in the MVE-000 to MVU-999 series sported a VICTORIA - DRIVE SAFELY slogan. In late 1994, in an initiative by the then-Premier, Jeff Kennett, reflective blue-on-white plates were introduced, beginning at NAA-000 and the government plates started at MAA-000 having skipped from MVV-000 to MVZ-999.The previous government series started at MZA-000 to MZZ-999, MYA-000 to MYZ-999, MXA-000 to MXZ-999 , MWA-000 to MWZ-999 and MVA-000 to MVU-999.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. 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 QDR-000 to QNF-999 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. In December 2010, The new Baillieu Government has announced it is dropping "The Place To Be" slogan from Victorian number plates.

On 10 June 2013, the Victorian government announced that the current series was exhausted with the final plate ZZZ-999 already purchased. The new series would be 1AA-1AA and would be issued within the next few weeks using the slogan Vic - stay alert stay alive. During the transitional period, Z stocks will still be available as it only be for motorists who lose or damage their plates, while the new series will be for general every day issue.This combination with 4 separate sequences (Number- letters- Number- letters) is one of the most complex structure adopted for a vehicle registration number plate around the world[citation needed]. It has also been commented that the "1" at the front of the combination followed by two letters might be confused with "I" making 1AA look like IAA.[opinion]. Another issue with the new series is that the letter 'O' and the number '0' are the same shape in the font used on Victorian plates, so the combination ending in "4OW" for example, is more likely to be read as "40W". This mistake was less likely to be made on the older series as the letters and numbers were separated by the diamond dot (or triangle) separator.

In July 2014 the original Victoria The Garden State and Victoria On The Move slogans have been reintroduced as a Retro V plates product, but it will be produced in screen-printed slogans (rather than embossed when they were originally issued) and all features will only be close to the original ABC-123 dies.[5] It will come in Green for Garden State starting from AAA-000 to FZZ-999,RAA-000 to RBZ-999 and On the Move in Blue on reflective white bases starting from NAA-000 to QDZ-999

Victorian Europlate

V Plates Personalised Plates[edit]

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

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 currently the euro series up to V AT-000

  • 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-9999): 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.
  • During June 2013, plates commencing from AAA-000 to AZZ-999, that have been cancelled/expired etc., have been reissued to the public and dealers (on a limited scale), these plates are only available with white stamped slimline dies letters on a black slimline base, and particular combinations cannot be pre-ordered - buyers receive the next combination in stock over the counter. It has been speculated that these premium general re-issue plates will become even more common eventually, similar to the premium black on white slimline plates in NSW. As of March 2015, this numbering scheme has reached the AEA-000 combination.
  • VicRoads (who own V Plates) don't know the cumulative figure of the total number of custom number plates (personalised plates) sold since they were first launched in 1986. This is because many personalised plates are not on vehicles, or they are held on self-retention, or have been handed back to VicRoads. However, VicRoads do know that around 30,000 sets of custom number plates are made every year, and they estimate 10% of registered vehicles have custom number plates.[6]

Other vehicles[edit]

  • Trucks and other heavy vehicles in Victoria are also given standard car-issued plates.
  • Buses, coaches and commercially owned or run mini-buses bear plates using a 4-number, 2-letter (nnnn-aa) format. Between 2001 to 2013 these suffixes were AO, AC, SO or NC, depending under which registration they fall under (Accredited Operator, Accredited Charter, School Operator and Non-Commercial).[7] ACCREDITED BUS SERVICE special issue number plates may only be issued to buses operated by persons, who have been granted bus operator accreditation by the Director Bus Safety, Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) to operate bus services. As of December 2013 the AO series ran out at 9999-AO and as a result a replacement series was launched BS12-AB in white on green ACCREDITED BUS SERVICE at the top the "VIC" embossed vertically on the right and the number/alpha sequence in white stamped slimline dies, with the Southern Cross in yellow as the separator as Victorian Taxis - AC, SO and NC plates can continue to be displayed until the bus retires from service and these suffixes will not be allowed to be reallocated to another bus.[8] Hence, AO or BS plates are the only current bus series authorised by the Transport Safety Victoria's Safety Director. Previously, the style usually bear the usual state logo, with 'ACCREDITED BUS' across the top and the VICTORIA - THE PLACE TO BE across the bottom. Until 2000, buses used whatever plate was available in the general issue series. Some bus operators requested general issue number plates with numbers that matched the fleet numbers of the buses they operated. In 2001 the entire Victorian bus fleet had their old general issue plates removed and replaced with the new accreditation plates, with some operators being allocated blocks of plates to match bus fleet numbers. Some fleets re-use plates when a bus in the fleet is replaced. On some occasions AO, AC, SO and NC plates were made in a plain VICTORIA in regular dies and can be described as an error manufactured plates, but allowed to be put on buses. It is noted that some AO suffixes received remakes under the current state slogan "VIC-STAY ALERT STAY ALIVE". Operators whose buses possess personalised plates have until 31 December 2015 to re-register to the accredited BSR bus plate scheme or when a bus will be accredited as part of TSV's bus accreditation transitional program.
  • Primary Producers Vehicles is eligible for a discounted registration fee, such vehicles is issued using format 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.**Tow Trucks TOW-000 to TOW-999 - rarely seen nowadays, modern tow trucks use whatever plate is available in the General Issue series, however some trucks with these plates still roam Victoria.
    • Tow Trucks 0000-TT to 9999-TT
    • Heavy Tow Trucks 000-HTT to 999-HTT (A batch of numberplates was printed with the letters reading HHT in the On the Move era, these were unused and sold to collectors)
  • 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. A replacement series has been implemented as of 24 October 2010 1A-2BC, replacing the previous 2-letter, 3-number format (aa-nnn)ending at JA-999.
  • 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. The first format for trailers was G00000 to M99999, with black text on a white background. In 1977, the series was restarted at A00000, going up to 1995, when in the middle of the E56000 series, it was changed to the On the Move slogan, which continued until F88999 in 2000 and then started Victoria The Place To Be with the series staring at F89000 In 2000, it was decided to restart the trailer series at N00000, to continue from the old series and currently in the Wnnnnn series
  • Bike Rack Plates 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.The Bike Rack plates has been updated as of December 2013 with screen printed bottom legend "Vic-Stay Alert Stay Alive" and BIKE RACK legend at top and the ink was changed from black to blue.
Melbourne Taxi plates
  • Taxis, Hire Cars 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 taxis
    • U-nnnn - urban taxis
    • R-nnnn - Regional taxi
    • Taxi plates had a design similar to the Garden State plates, with the numbers and legend being green and a diamond as separator (except with the legend saying "VICTORIA - TAXICAB"). They were redesigned in November 2008 with a green background, the legend "ACCREDITED TAXI SERVICE" at the top the "VIC" embossed vertically on the right and the number/alpha sequence in white stamped slimline dies, with the Southern Cross in yellow as the separator.
    • 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
  • Recreational Series - VIC-RECREATION (red on yellow) 0000-A to 9999-U
  • Farm series - VIC-FARM BIKE (Brown on white) 0000-V to 9999-Z commences 1 January 2011
  • Consular Corps series - CC-000 to CC-999. These plates used to appear identical to regular standard issue plates, except the "Garden State" or "On the Move" was replaced with "VIC - CONSULAR CORPS". In 2000, they were redesigned - the plate has the same dimensions as regular plates, but has the rego number in the font used for slimline plates. The legend "Consular Corps" appears at the top, while the legend "VICTORIA" appears at the bottom.
Victorian Government plate
  • 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. As of January 2015 it is continuing from MCW-000 under the new slogan "VIC-STAY ALERT STAY ALIVE".
  • 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.
  • Cars owned by the Australian Government but registered in Victoria use plates in the ZED-xxx series, with the letter Z being red. This is a carryover from the Federal Registration Scheme of the 1950s, when the Zxx series was allocated to the Australian Government. Trailers owned by the Federal Government use ZOO-xxx.

Victorian number plates are manufactured by Ararat Prison.


Issuing Authorities[edit]

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

General Series[edit]

Vehicles: nnn·Vaa

Motorcycles: nnn·Ma

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

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

  • Prior to 1921, There were regional plates that were letter coded for example P-nnn is for Hughenden.
  • 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. On 22 April 2012, the recently elected coalition government announced that it would stop manufacturing the " smart state" number plate as a cost cutting measure.[9]
  • 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 March 2015, the "Sunshine State" series has reached the -VOA series, having apparently skipped the -Uxx series above 092-UAG [10](although one xxx-UAA number plate has been spotted) and the MFN to MPZ series as well.
  • Starting on 19 August 2013, QUEENSLANDER! - 8 IN A ROW slogan plates starts at 000-UAA to celebrate the recent State of Origin win.
Green and white coloured Queensland plate, as issued between 1977 and 2001
Queensland - The Sunshine State
  • Block series: In 1977 in green on reflective white base, beginning at 000·NAA through to 999·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·GKL in October 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·MFM . 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 000-Aa format commencing at 000·AA and is now in 000-Ma range
  • 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 BI-0000 series and now is in the E 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 QHR-000 series and now in 000-QZa range.

Other vehicles[edit]

  • 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·aann

Previously, State Government vehicles bear the "Smart State" slogan ("QG", of course, standing for "Queensland Government"). As of October 2012 QG plates have moved to the Sunshine State slogan starting from QG-KA01. 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 1A·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, which has since been amended to show QLD-CONSULAR CORPS.

PPQ Personalised Plates Range[edit]

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.[11]

Queensland motorists have a choice of nearly 100 different types of personalised plates. 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 and Qaa-nnY (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.

September 2010 - PPQ released 7 letter/number combinations that were not already issued for a limited period of 7 days at the fixed price of $2995 but by 2012 it is now permanent.

November 2010 - PPQ launched the Q Signature Series plates: Qaann

March 2011: PPQ launched the NRL footy plates range covering all of these NRL teams and incorporates Qld based NRL teams.

October 2012 - PPQ launched the A Plate Series: Aaaaaa retailed from $2,500.00

South Australia[edit]

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.
South Australia Registration Plate (Current)

General Series[edit]

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 an finished at XUN-299.[12]

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'.[13]

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.[14] 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 YYA-000 to YZZ-999,then started at YKA-000 to YKA-799, and trailers issued YAA-000 to YIL-999. Since 2008, newly issued plates are in the form S000-AAA and motorcycles as S00-AAA, while trailers start at S000-TAA.

Ezy Plates Range[edit]

Ezyplates administrated by the Department of Transport Infrastructure and Energy 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 DD-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[edit]

Heavy Vehicle Registration Plate Number

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 belonging to SA Ambulance Service have plates in the form AMB-nnn, however some vehicles now have standard SA Government plates due to leasing agreements with the State Government (Fleet SA).

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 plate has been introduced in black on reflective yellow replacing general issue plates on SA country taxis. Other chauffeured 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,the Trailers start at SY 00 AA

General notes[edit]

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.[13]

It is also possible to obtain a wide variety of personalised numberplates that feature full-colour illustrations and customised logos or slogans.[15]

Western Australia[edit]

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

License plates are issued either as a general plate or as non-metropolitan local government area (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[edit]

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

General plates[edit]

  • The current series is of the form 1aaa·nnn (e.g.: 1ABC-123).
WA plate number 1998-
  • 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 and the trailer series ended at 9RZ-999
WA plate number 1978-1997
  • 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 owned buses or designated school buses use the current series.
  • Commercially operated buses and coaches require TC-nnnn (touring coach) plates.
  • TAXI-nnnn plates are used for taxicabs.
  • Limousines carry the plate SCV-nnn, SCV-nnnn and also use 1SCV-nnn
  • Motorbikes have the plate 1aa-nnn (e.g.: 1AB-123)
  • Stock Carrying Trucks have 'ST' as the second & third letters of the prefix - e.g. 6ST-123, 9ST-123, 1STA-123
  • Trailers, caravans etc. have 1Taa-nnn (e.g.: 1TAB-123). Earlier series used 'R', 'S', 'T', 'U' 'W' as the second character for trailers (e.g. 9RA-123, 8UA-123,7WA-123, 6TA-123, XUA-123, UUU-123). Country Shire/Town trailer plates follow the normal shire prefix system, but only one plate is issued, some shires have a block of numbers for trailers, others issue the next available number.
WA Euro Plate
Alternative WA plate number

Outside metropolitan Perth[edit]

Regional number plate for WA
  • 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


Western Australia also offers the largest number of characters in a personalised number plate, offering up to nine characters.[16] Western Australian government plates are the same pattern as standard issue, however the colours are inverted, as depicted in the image.

Personalized Plates WA
Alternative WA Plate Number (Blue)

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.


Issuing Authorities[edit]

Tasmanian Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources - 1998 to 2014
Department of State Growth - Transport - 2014 to current.

General Series[edit]


Current Tasmanian registration plate design (2008-).

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.

Prior to 1970, 3 letters and 3 numbers (aaa-nnn) were used (from 1954 onwards).

From 1970 to 2008, Tasmanian number plates had the format aa-nnnn, with blue lettering on a white background. From 1970 to 1976 these had the slogan "TAS" and from 1976 to 1998 "Tasmania - Holiday Isle".

From 1998 to 2008, this format continued with the slogan "Tasmania - Your Natural State", with a coloured decal of the Tasmanian state logo in the background (a stylised thylacine prowling through reeds on a riverbank). The final plates in this series began with "FT-nnnn".

Older Tasmanian registration plates.

In the illustration of older Tasmanian registration plates, the three plates on the left side from top to bottom are EN-1113 (1998-2008 issue), AO-7984 (1971-1998 issue), WYG-734 (1954 to 1970 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[edit]

Tasmanian personalised registration plate.

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.

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[edit]

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 to ZT-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[edit]

* 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, retention fees applied if the motorist wished 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.[17] 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.

Trailer plates used the Tnn-nnn format up it was exhausted in 1998 after which Ta-nnnn was implemented. This was 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[edit]

Previous General Series[edit]

Canberra - Celebration of a Century

Up to 1968, ACT Plates were issued in numerics from 1 to 99-935 (the last one issued) 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". ACT plates were 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

Canberra - The Nation's Capital
Canberra - Heart of a Nation, This licence slogan is optional

Current General Series[edit]


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 were issued starting with YGa-nna, before being dropped from YHa-nna plates and then reinstated on YIa-nna.

Motorcycle - nn·nnn

It has been the all numeric series since the beginning of the FCT/ACT registration, starting at 1 and continues beyond 91-999 in its current colour format - Blue on reflective white.

Trailer - T·nnnn A

The 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.


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[edit]

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 until this year when YJJ-00A is now issued with a new format

Vintage, veteran and historic cars[edit]

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[edit]

A motorcade transporting senior members of the official party to an event in Canberra in November 2009. The black car at the left with the numberplate ADF1 carried the Chief of the Defence Force, the white car behind it with the numberplate C1 carried the Prime Minister and the black car second from the right carried the Governor General

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

  • 1 - Queensland
  • 2 - New South Wales
  • 3 - Victoria
  • 4 - South Australia
  • 5 - Western Australia
  • 6 - 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.

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, Victorian plates started at ZED-000, Queensland plates started at ZQ-0000, NSW plates started at ZZZ-000, SA plates started at ZSA-000 and Tasmanian plates started at ZTA-000.WA plates started at ZAA-00F,

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[edit]

Heavy vehicles (over 4.5 tonnes 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.[18] 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 QLD would be QT·88MW.


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 had 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.

Registration labels abolition for light vehicles[edit]

States abolished rego labels since 2010 are:

  • Western Australia - 1 January 2010
  • South Australia - 1 July 2011
  • Tasmania - 1 September 2012
  • New South Wales - 1 January 2013
  • Australian Capital Territory - 1 July 2013
  • Northern Territory - 1 July 2013
  • Victoria - 1 January 2014
  • Queensland - 1 October 2014
  • Heavy vehicles GVM 14.5 or more will continue to be issued with registration labels where abolished.


  1. ^ New South Wales Fleet Lists Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ State Transit Authority - Sydney/Newcastle Buses Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  5. ^
  6. ^ "How The Rise & Rise Of Custom Number Plates Benefits You:". 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  7. ^ "Accredited bus plates : VicRoads". Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Smart State Number Plates Axed - ABC Queensland - Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)". 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ PPQ Queensland
  12. ^ "Standard Example". 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  13. ^ a b,22606,24418410-2682,00.html The Advertiser
  14. ^ "Transport, travel and motoring - Government of South Australia". 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  15. ^ "Examples of Custom Plates". 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  16. ^ Designer plates, Department of Transport, retrieved 23 January 2010 
  17. ^ "Northern Territory Government - Territory Growth Brings Change to Number Plates". Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  18. ^ "INTERSTATE ROAD TRANSPORT REGULATIONS 1986 - REG 21 Registration plate". Retrieved 2013-09-09. 


  • Blue Mountains Family History Society.(2007) Australian number plates Springwood, N.S.W. : Blue Mountains Family History Society. ISBN 978-0-9756788-4-8
  • Nance, Tony.(1980) Australian number plates Beaumaris, Vic. ISBN 0-9594474-0-7
  • Wright, D.C. (1983) Australasian (motor vehicle) registration plates, 1901-1982 Montmorency, Vic. ISBN 0-9594980-0-1

External links[edit]

Custom Plates Issuing Authorities

Custom Plates Resale