Other costs to consider

Every year, you'll have to renew your car registration and your driver’s licence, unless you pay for a multi-year licence. These costs should also be factored into your car buying budget.

Car registration

All cars in Australia must be registered when new and then re-registered annually.
The cost of this will vary, depending on the model and age of the vehicle and the state or territory in which you live.

Transferring ownership

Once the paperwork has been signed and you're officially the owner, the registration of your car must be transferred at the state or territory Motor Registry within 14 days (except in Tasmania and Western Australia, where the limit is 7 days).

It is the seller's responsibility to make sure the registration transfer is carried out legally and promptly. You can do this online or by visiting your nearest state or territory transport authority's office.

The previous owner of the car will need to lodge a Notice of Disposal, or similar, which proves the car is no longer their responsibility.

A car's existing CTP insurance (Green Slip) is automatically transferred to your name when the registration is transferred (NSW). You won't have to renew the Green Slip again until the car's registration is due for renewal. Although you will need to arrange any additional insurance if you wish to extend your cover.

If you buy an unregistered car there are extra safety checks and costs involved in getting it re-registered, which will need to be taken into account in your budget.

Registering a brand new car

All cars in Australia need to be registered. If you're buying a brand new car that's never been registered, the dealer will organise registration and the registration fee will be included in the 'driveaway' price.

But if you're a first time car owner, and you've never had anything to do with your state or territory's transport authority, you'll need to go to a registry and provide proof of identity. Contact your relevant transport authority for more information.

Renewing registration

To register your car, check with your relevant transport authority to find out what checks and/or documentation are required.

For example, in NSW, if your car is older than five years, you need a Pink Slip (or e-safety check), which you'll need to obtain from a mechanic. The Pink Slip is proof of your car's roadworthiness.

Once you've collected any necessary paperwork, you can register your car online or in person at your local transport authority office.

Which driver’s licence?

Driver's licensing laws differ according to which state or territory you live in but there are still similarities.

A standard driver licence classification system is used across Australia.

  • C Car
  • R Rider
  • LR Light Rigid
  • MR Medium Rigid
  • HR Heavy Rigid
  • HC Heavy Combination
  • MC Multi-Combination

If you hold a Class C licence, which is the one that most drivers have, you can drive a vehicle up to 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM). This includes cars, utilities, vans, some light trucks, car-based motor tricycles, tractors and implements such as graders, as well as vehicles that seat up to 12 adults, including the driver.

Motorcycle riders require a Class R licence.

How much?

The cost of your driver's licence will vary according to which class you require. Typically, a heavy vehicle licence will cost more than a car licence.

In most cases, savings can be made by purchasing ahead (1-5 years in some states), which also saves you the hassle of having to renew your licence annually. You can check with your relevant transport authority whether this option is available.

State Authorities

Here is a list of all the state authorities for your convenience.

NSW: Road and Maritime Services (RMS)
13 22 13

VIC: Vic Roads
13 11 71

QLD: Transport Queensland
12 23 80

TAS: Transport Tasmania
13 11 71

SA: Transport SA
1300 360 067

13 11 56

ACT: Rego Act
13 22 81

NT: Northern Territory Transport Group
(08) 8924 7216