Frequently asked questions

Registration - general questions

  • If the ownership of a vehicle is in dispute, Roads and Maritime Services can refuse to register, transfer or cancel the registration. Ownership disputes are resolved in the Courts and Roads and Maritime has no legal authorisation to act as an arbitrator. Roads and Maritime, the Courts and the registered operator of the vehicle can request a restriction on dealings on the vehicle’s record. This means that the registration can be renewed but no other transactions are allowed.
  • Proof of your identity is essential when dealing with Roads and Maritime Services for many of our products and services. While our requirements may seem strict, they’re necessary to protect your identity and privacy, and to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our records. See proving your identity for more information.
  • A written-off vehicle is one that is damaged to such an extent that the insurer considers it uneconomical to repair, or the damage to the vehicle makes it unsafe for repair or registration. See written-off vehicles for more information. It is essential that you are sure of the identity of the vehicle before buying it.
  • Registration charges apply to heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). Registration charges are calculated using the vehicle’s type, GVM, the number of axles and the vehicle’s nominated configuration. See registration charges for more information.
  • A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is a vehicle built or permanently modified for a purpose other than the carriage of goods or passengers. Examples of SPVs include tractors, forklifts, road graders, cherrypickers and mobile cranes.

    A vehicle is an SPV only if it meets all the criteria listed below. Plant vehicles that carry a load are classified as rigid trucks or trailers. A load is defined as any goods not necessary for the operation of the vehicle and includes water, bitumen, cement and billboards.

    There are three categories of SPVs: Type P (Plant),Type T (Truck) and Type O (Overmass). An SPV vehicle must meet the following:

    • Primary purpose: the vehicle is not built to carry passengers or goods as its main purpose (eg a tractor or mobile crane)
    • Location of operation: the vehicle does not operate in a loaded capacity on a road (eg a cherrypicker)
    • Permanence of construction: the equipment related to the function of the vehicle cannot be removed without major mechanical alterations (eg a permanently fixed air compressor or mobile generator).

    Type P (Plant) is a special purpose vehicle that is built or permanently modified primarily for off road use, for use on a road related area or on an area of road that is under construction or repair.

    These vehicles have minimal road use or are floated from site to site. Examples include agricultural tractors, self-propelled harvesters, bulldozers, backhoes, graders and front-end loaders.

    Type T (Truck) is a special purpose vehicle that is built or permanently modified primarily for use on roads and has no axle or axle group loaded in excess of the mass limits. These are SPVs that are built on a truck chassis and include cherrypickers and mounted concrete pumps.

    Note: Trailers which are SPVs, are classed as Type T (Truck) as they are primarily built for use on a road. Examples include air compressors and generators.

    Type O (Overmass) is a special purpose vehicle on a truck chassis that is built or permanently modified primarily for use on roads and has any axle or axle group in excess of the mass limits. Examples include mobile cranes and well-boring plant.

    If your vehicle meets the SPV criteria, you should choose the nominated configuration of SPV Type P (SPP), SPV Type T (SPT) or SPV type O (SP2) in Section 3 of the Description of Heavy Vehicle form. You should also complete Section 6 of this form to determine if the vehicle is eligible to be classified as an SPV.

  • To register a mobile crane with a GVM over 4.5 tonnes, an Application to Register a Special Purpose Vehicle, verified and signed by an Roads and Maritime Services Inspector (Vehicle Regulation), must be sent to the Manager, Vehicle Standards and Compliance, Roads and Maritime Services, Locked Bag 928, North Sydney NSW 2059.

    You will receive a letter from Vehicle Standards and Compliance either confirming approval or non approval to register the vehicle. Approved applications will be issued with an approval number.

    When you attend a registry or service centre you will need to produce the following documents:

    • Approval letter from the Manager, Vehicle Standards and Compliance and all other relevant documents requested in the letter
    • Proof of your identity
    • Proof of Registration Entitlement
    • A completed Application for Registration form
    • A completed Description of Heavy Vehicle form

    Note: If you are importing a non-complying mobile crane from overseas - please contact Vehicle Standards and Compliance to gain approval in principle before you purchase it.

    Important: Mobile cranes are also subject to special road access conditions – see road access –mobile cranes for information.

  • Seasonal registration is a special registration scheme for harvest and over-snow vehicles, allowing registration to coincide with harvest and snow seasons. The length of registration varies with the length of the season and can be three-monthly periods (quarters) or six-monthly periods.

    The inspection process to register heavy vehicles solely for seasonal use varies from the normal heavy vehicle inspection requirements. For further information see seasonal registration or call 13 22 13.

Heavy vehicle industry assistance package

  • All transport operators may apply for the converter dolly or spare trailer rebates.
  • The rebates are provided under NSW law, and only apply to NSW registered vehicles. Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) vehicles are registered under Commonwealth law, and the NSW rebates do not extend to these vehicles. FIRS vehicles cannot be included when counting the number of hauling units and trailers.
  • Operators of eligible vehicles who wish to apply for the rebates must complete the relevant form and submit it to Roads and Maritime Services:

    You may also submit completed forms to any registry or service centre.

    All applications will be assessed against the requirements, and a refund cheque will be generated for eligible vehicles.


  • Full rebate of the registration charge applied to tri-axle converter dollies and a 50% rebate of registration charge applied to tandem-axle converter dollies.

    50% rebate of registration charge applied to spare trailers for operators with one or two hauling units (prime movers and rigid trucks), and no more than five trailers (excluding converter dollies).

  • Where eligible, rebates are effective from 1 July 2012 until 30 June 2015.
  • Converter dolly means a trailer with one axle group or single axle and a fifth wheel coupling, designed to convert a semi-trailer into a dog trailer.
  • The full rebate of registration charge for tri-axle converter dollies intends to encourage the adoption of these trailers. Tri-axle converter dollies are safer and more ‘road-friendly’ than traditional ‘road train’ type trailers.

    The 50% rebate of registration charge for tandem-axle converter dollies intends to address the disproportionate increase in road train registration charges, and the impact these charges have on rural and regional communities that rely on road trains to service their road freight needs.

  • See the following table as a guide:

    No of trailers (excluding converter dollies) 1 rigid truck or prime mover 2 rigid trucks or prime movers 3 or more rigid trucks or prime movers
    1 trailer No rebate No rebate No rebate
    2 trailers Rebate on 2nd trailer No rebate No rebate
    3 trailers Rebate on 2nd and 3rd trailers Rebate on 3rd trailer No rebate
    4 trailers Rebate on 2nd, 3rd and 4th trailers Rebate on 3rd and 4th trailers No rebate
    5 trailers Rebate on 2nd, 3rd 4th and 5th trailers Rebate on 3rd, 4th and 5th trailers No rebate
    6 or more trailers No rebate No rebate No rebate
  • The hauling units can be registered for any term.
  • No, all heavy trailers (except converter dollies) are counted, but only trailers with annual registration are eligible for the rebate.
  • The spare trailer rebate targets smaller, low kilometre freight operators such as regional freight operators, road train operators and small trucking companies in urban areas.
  • Yes, for four of the semi trailers. Converter dollies are not eligible for the spare trailer rebate and are not counted in the number of trailers.
  • No, all rigid trucks and prime movers are counted, regardless of nominated configuration.
  • Rebates are provided in the form of a cheque and posted to you.
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