Natural disasters and emergencies - customer assistance
If you have been affected by a natural disaster or emergency, Roads and Maritime Services can help you with a range of free replacement products and services.
This help can include free replacement vehicle and vessel licensing and registration products, Roads and Maritime e-toll tags, and certain inspections, depending on what you may have lost, or what has been destroyed as a result of a natural disaster or emergency.
Detailed information about the assistance available, and eligibility, is provided on this page.
Am I eligible for help?
If you are a Roads and Maritime customer who has been genuinely affected by a NSW natural disaster or emergency, you will be eligible for help. This means that you were living in, had a vehicle garage address, or were visiting a natural disaster or emergency affected area in NSW.
Customer service staff will check to ensure that the area you were living in or visiting was a genuine natural disaster or emergency declared area. You will also need to meet specific requirements to receive some free services or products (for example, proof of identity requirements for a free replacement licence).
Assistance is generally available for six months after a natural disaster or emergency has been declared.
What is a natural disaster or emergency?
A natural disaster or emergency includes:
- A declared Natural Disaster
- A declared State of Emergency
- An event related to a natural disaster or emergency where the NSW Minister for Roads and Ports declares that certain fees and requirements can be waived.
The Ministry for Police and Emergency Services (MPES) publishes a list of declared natural disaster areas and a record of State of Emergency declarations on the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services website.
In cases where the Minister for Roads and Ports declares that assistance will be available to eligible customers due to an event, further information will be provided on this page.
What help is available?
The following products can be replaced for free if you have been affected by a natural disaster or emergency:
- Driver licence (including learner, P1, P2 and unrestricted)
- Mobility Parking Scheme (MPS) permit
- NSW Photo Card
- Boat licence
- Personal Watercraft (PWC) licence
- Certificate of Registration for a vehicle and/or vessel (and registration label if applicable)
- Number plates (number plate reissue, remake or hold fees may also be waived)
- Roads and Maritime Services E-toll tag
- Learner driver log book.
Licence replacement and proof of identity requirements
To help you to receive these free replacement products as quickly and easily as possible following a natural disaster or emergency, the normal licence replacement procedures and proof of identity requirements have been simplified.
Simplified proof of identity requirements
If you have a stored photograph at Roads and Maritime, you can use either a List 1 or List 2 proof of identity document to obtain free replacement licensing products. Your signature stored at Roads and Maritime must match your signature on the proof of identity document you provide or on the application form.
If your proof of identity is lost or destroyed during a natural disaster or emergency, and Roads and Maritime does not have a stored photograph of you, you can answer some identity questions at a registry or service centre to receive a free interim driver licence receipt.
Simplified licence replacement
If you cannot get to a registry or service centre, and an Australia Post service is available, you may be able to obtain a replacement licence using a Photo Kit form.
If you cannot get to a registry or service centre, and an Australia Post service is not available, you may obtain a free interim driver licence receipt over the phone. In some situations, you may be able to renew your licence over the phone. You can call 13 22 13, or 13 77 88 for more information.
Fees refunded or waived
The following fees can also be waived or refunded if you have been affected by a natural disaster or emergency:
- Transfer vehicle or vessel registration fee
If you purchase a vehicle or vessel to replace one damaged in a disaster or emergency, you do not need to pay the transfer registration fee when transferring the registration to the replacement vehicle or vessel
- Late vessel or vehicle registration transfer surcharge
If you are delayed in transferring the registration of a vehicle or vessel as a result of a disaster or emergency, the late surcharge may be waived
- Vehicle or vessel registration cancellation fee
- If your vehicle is written-off due to a natural disaster or emergency, you may be eligible to have the registration cancellation fee waived for the written-off vehicle
- If your vessel has been damaged as a result of a natural disaster or emergency, you may be eligible to have the registration cancellation fee waived
- Late vessel registration renewal fee
If you are delayed in renewing your vessel registration for reasons relating to the declared natural disaster or emergency, the fee may be waived.
- Inspection fees for written-off vehicles
- Once a vehicle has been notified to the Written-off Vehicle Register (WOVR), Roads and Maritime automatically cancels the vehicle’s registration after 14 days
- Registration for written-off vehicles can only be re-established if the registered vehicle operator has been issued with an Authorisation to Repair notice by Roads and Maritime. The vehicle must be repaired and inspected to confirm that it meets Roads and Maritime requirements.
- The Vehicle Identification Inspection Unit (VIIU) inspection fee may be waived for written-off vehicles that meet certain criteria.
- If you have already obtained an Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Report (‘blue slip’) for the written-off vehicle, the cost may be refunded.
- Number plate reissue, remake and hold fees (for both General Issue and Special Number Plates)
If your vehicle’s number plates are lost or destroyed in a natural disaster or emergency, the re-issue, remake or hold fees may be waived. You must provide a completed Number Plate form (form 1038) to the registry to reapply for your number plates.
Note: All vehicles except trailers and caravans must have Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance. All normal CTP fees apply.
How do I arrange help?
To obtain assistance, you can visit your nearest registry or service centre, or call 13 22 13 or 13 77 88.
Other assistance available
There are other forms of assistance which may be available for you, if you have been affected by a declared natural disaster. This help can include financial hardship assistance administered by other government agencies. See the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services website for more information on assistance available.
Motor vehicle stamp duty
Roads and Maritime does not refund or waive stamp duty on vehicles written off due to a natural disaster or emergency. If you purchase a replacement vehicle due to a natural disaster or emergency, Roads and Maritime collects the applicable stamp duty for that vehicle on behalf of the Office of State Revenue. You can then submit an application for a refund to the Office of State Revenue (OSR).
See the Office of State Revenue website for more information.
The NSW State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) can also assist eligible customers in affected areas who have outstanding fines. Fine related actions may be temporarily deferred or timeframes to make payments extended. Contact the State Debt Recovery Office on 1300 655 805 for more information, or see the State Debt Recovery Office website.