South Australia’s Liberal Party has pledged to bring back the hard-copy rego stickers abolished by the current Labor government in July 2011 should it win power in 11 days.
As automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology becomes more ubiquitous amongst state police forces, nearly all Australian governments have decided to stop producing vehicle registration stickers.
Western Australia lead the charge in 2010, and Victoria’s policy came into effect on 1 January. Only Queensland and the NT are still printing stickers as standard procedure, and both have indicated they are also considering the electronic-only path.
But aspiring Premier and SA Liberal leader Steven Marshall has decided to buck the trend in response what he says is overwhelming demand from the state’s drivers.
“South Australians have been telling us that the stickers are a useful way to check if a vehicle is registered and also a reminder to renew their registration," Marshall said in a statement.
“We need to remember that not every person has a smartphone to check the registration of their car or a car they are about to drive.”
Marshall said there had been an observable increase in the rate of penalties for driving unregistered cars since the stickers were abolished, a trend the ALP government had attributed to its $1 million investment in ANPR systems.
The state’s transport department told iTnews South Australian drivers receive a postal alert when their registration is soon to expire, regardless of whether a sticker was in use.
Under an SA Liberal Government, stickers will be sent to all drivers who have recently registered their car for a period of longer than three months, although it will be optional to display them.
When Labor first announced it would stop printing the stickers, it estimated the policy would save close to $2 million a year.
An SA Liberal spokesperson said it had budgeted $2.5 million to bring back the stickers, but added that it predicts the real cost to be lower, as residents that elect to have rego fees direct debited can opt out of receiving the stickers.