Ellis to introduce Motor Vehicle (Number Plates) Amendment Bill

29 Aug 2023 media release

Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis MP will tomorrow introduce an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 to change existing law that dictates historic number plates attached to historic vehicles must be surrendered for public auction at change of ownership.  

“I believe there is merit for original plates to stay with historic vehicles rather than being forcibly surrendered and auctioned off if there is evidence the plates attached have been on the same vehicle and held by the same family for multiple generations or that the historic vehicle is historically valued and therefore worth more by keeping its original plates with it”, Mr Ellis said.

“I take this action on behalf of constituents who have raised with me concerns about there being no capacity for historic plates to be kept with the vehicle, even when it can be proven the plates are original to the historic vehicle or when vehicles and the plates in the same family for generations have been specifically bequeathed in Wills.

“It is wrong in my view that because historic number plates are deemed public property and are rare and prized that they must be surrendered because collectors will be interested in acquiring them. Why should the interest of collectors override the interest of the owner of the historic vehicle who can demonstrate the plates are original to the vehicle and have owned the car or old truck for decades?

“It can be validly argued the historic vehicle retains and increases its value if it can display its original plates and that vehicle owners should benefit from this”, Mr Ellis said.

Existing law dictates that at any change of ownership and registration of vehicles with historic number plates the plates must be surrendered to Service SA as public assets and placed in a public auction where they are auctioned off to the highest bidder, and often for tens of thousands of dollars.

The Motor Vehicle (Number Plates) Amendment Bill 2023 seeks to provide the Registrar of Motor Vehicles discretion to waive the requirement to surrender these plates attached to historic vessels where it can be demonstrated there is valid “historic significance” for the plates to stay with the historic vehicle rather than be removed.

“I hope this Private Member’s Bill can receive support from both the Government and the Opposition.”