It’s probably time to swap over to a Canberra licence now

Dominic Giannini 3 January 2021 29
ACT border checks

ACT Policing is enforcing border restrictions. Photo: Supplied.

Perhaps after living in Canberra for more than a year, and in light of further restrictions and border closures arising from Sydney’s Northern Beaches COVID-19 cluster, it’s time to bite the bullet and become an “official” ACT resident.

New border and quarantine restrictions from the latest Sydney COVID-19 outbreak could be the catalyst for residents who have been avoiding swapping over driver’s licences and registrations.

A Bourne Identity-like crisis, I’ve noticed something eerily unique about people who have moved to Canberra either for work or study: no one wants to admit that they’ve taken the plunge.

Unlike that one friend who took a 1997 gap year to London and still refers to trains as “the tube”, ask a Canberran where they’re from and chances are you’ll get their “original” city.

“I moved here 15 years ago, but I’m originally from Brisbane.”

“I moved here for work, but I’m still in Sydney every eighth-month.”

“I grew up here, and my parents lived here, but I moved to Melbourne three days ago, so I’m Victorian.”

You get the gist.

But now, with an ACT Policing presence on the Federal Highway checking people from NSW to ensure they are allowed to enter, a licence indicating a Greater Sydney residence is more hassle than protest.


READ ALSO: 15 things that got you talking in 2020


In 2019, requests about establishing or transferring registration to the ACT was the top question asked of Access Canberra, with over 42,000 inquiries.

The fourth highest transaction at Access Canberra service centres in 2020 was registration transfers (almost 13,400) and there were almost 275,000 page views on the Access Canberra website about swapping registration over.

Throughout 2020, when Victorian number plates were targetted and quarantine requirements were as fickle as petrol prices, more Canberrans wanted certainty in Australia’s (arguably) best-performing jurisdiction during the pandemic.

So perhaps it’s time to bite the bullet and “officially” call yourself a Canberran once and for all.


What's Your Opinion?


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29 Responses to It’s probably time to swap over to a Canberra licence now
Master_Bates Master_Bates 3:55 pm 15 Jan 21

Seriously, Victorian rego is so cheap – And if you have a vehicle which is modified to transport a person with a disability, there are concessions available.

We should have a single national registration system so that there are no differences between states.

That should fix it.

Until then, I know a number of people who will continue to maintain their Victorian licences and inexpensive rego.

Alien Fiend Alien Fiend 5:48 pm 06 Jan 21

42,000 enquiries about transferring rego in 2019 in the ACT alone? Blimey, extrapolate that nationally and you have a staggering waste of resources. I live in NSW and the ACT. Pay rates etc in both. One car reg in NSW, one car reg in the ACT. Have ACT licence which is cheaper; NSW compulsory third party cheaper by a country mile. I’ve transferred regos between ACT and NSW in the past. ACT to NSW not so painful; NSW to ACT you’d think you had arrived from another planet!

What do I tell the police when I drive into the ACT in a NSW registered car and an ACT license? Clearly I can’t have two licences!

Let’s really be ‘one’ and free and establish a national registration and licensing system. It works in the UK with a much greater population. And the poor folk at Access Canberra won’t be bothered by pesky transferring enquiries, nor will their equivalents in other jurisdictions.

Caitlen Bartlett Caitlen Bartlett 1:39 pm 06 Jan 21

Ali Cox I feel attacked

Deb PENNINGTON Deb PENNINGTON 2:51 pm 05 Jan 21

Effectively you are unlicensed and have no rego.
If you reside in ACT your no longer qualify for a licence in your state. If your car is garaged in ACT it must be registered here…unless you are in the forces even then..
A bit of light reading on Access Canberra website and the form/stat dec you signed on renewal in you previous state might give you something to consider

    JC JC 5:57 pm 05 Jan 21

    That might mean taking responsibility for ones actions and acting in the right way without being coerced into it by enforcement or as suggested by this article inconvenience.

Georgia Niederer Georgia Niederer 10:55 am 05 Jan 21

Billy Bianchini enough is enough

Kel Bousfield Kel Bousfield 8:23 pm 04 Jan 21

FB is listening Claire Bousfield

    Claire Bousfield Claire Bousfield 8:26 pm 04 Jan 21

    Kellie Bousfield weird, I’ll do it tomorrow!

Ray Ez Ray Ez 5:50 pm 04 Jan 21

ACT a drivers licences, now with added covid protection! Do they also repel the flu?

Tina Newsome Tina Newsome 4:21 pm 04 Jan 21

It's hardly surging

Hayley Bauer Hayley Bauer 2:26 pm 04 Jan 21

Ayden Bauer I’m not ready yet

Savannah Benson Savannah Benson 1:53 pm 04 Jan 21

Rylee James no I’m keeping my WA licence thank you ❤️

    Anthony Grice Anthony Grice 4:41 pm 04 Jan 21

    Savannah Benson this makes no sense. So renewal time will be interesting

    Tēē Rőy Tēē Rőy 6:10 pm 04 Jan 21

    Anthony Grice and illegal

    Nathan Rowley Nathan Rowley 6:37 pm 04 Jan 21

    Tēē Rőy hardly illegal if McGowan won't let her back into the state. I reckon there is legal grounds there to keep it WA

    Tēē Rőy Tēē Rőy 6:47 pm 04 Jan 21

    Nathan Rowley correct. illegal if you’ve moved to a different jurisdiction and not changed it over

    Anthony Grice Anthony Grice 8:34 pm 04 Jan 21

    Nathan Rowley nah, she has certainly been here longer than COVID

    Nathan Rowley Nathan Rowley 8:35 pm 04 Jan 21

    Anthony Grice 100% but would get away with it currently

Char Li Char Li 1:26 pm 04 Jan 21

Access Canberra Woden

    Cristal Tatterson Cristal Tatterson 4:53 pm 04 Jan 21

    Char Li that's probably cos they were closed the last 2 weeks.... Not people worried about borders

Sue Sedgwick Sue Sedgwick 1:08 pm 04 Jan 21

Not me. It's about $300 cheaper in NSW and I spend half my time there.

Melinda Green Melinda Green 1:02 pm 04 Jan 21

Emma Salzke feeling attacked?

Margreet Philp Margreet Philp 12:48 pm 04 Jan 21

Amber Joy have you done yours?

Andrew Hennell Andrew Hennell 12:41 pm 04 Jan 21

or for a quarter of Yass to give up their ACT rego

tim_c tim_c 11:46 am 04 Jan 21

I thought you were supposed to transfer your licence within 14 days of moving (and car registration within 3 months).

    JC JC 6:29 pm 04 Jan 21

    Licence is 3 months but (and don’t know why) but due to COVID it is extended to 6 months.

    With rego it is 3 months if you are transferring a vehicle already in your name. If you buy an interstate registered vehicle you have one month to transfer the rego to ACT and into your name.

Grail Grail 10:47 am 04 Jan 21

It was probably time to switch your license and rego over at least when it comes due for renewal.

BTW the online form is here: https://rego.act.gov.au/regosoawicket/public/client/MaintainContactDetailsPage?0

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