Federal Interstate Registration Scheme

On 10 May 2018, the Federal Parliament passed the Interstate Road Transport Legislation (Repeal) Bill 2018 which closed the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) to new entrants on 1 July 2018. Operators who have vehicles (including trailers) currently registered under FIRS will no longer be able to renew their registrations after 1 July 2018. Operators who register or renew their registration under FIRS before 1 July 2018 will be able to keep their FIRS registration rights and obligations until expiry. After 30 June 2019, no FIRS registrations will be valid.

Further information on the closure of FIRS can be found here on the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) Closure page.

For further details concerning your FIRS registration please contact your local road agency. For further information on the closure of FIRS, contact the FIRS line on 1800 026 170 during business hours (or leave a message with contact details).

The Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) was established under the Interstate Road Transport Act 1985 and commenced in 1987 as an alternative to state based registration for heavy vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes.

FIRS provides uniform charges and operating conditions for heavy vehicles engaged solely in the interstate carriage of passengers or goods, in trade or commerce, or for any purpose that is incidental to the carriage of that kind.

It is no longer possible to register a vehicle under FIRS, or to renew an existing registration. When your existing FIRS registration is due for expiry, you will need to contact your local road agency for advice on an alternative registration system.

FIRS Applicability

FIRS registration is available to heavy vehicles weighing over 4.5 tonnes, engaged solely in the interstate carriage of passengers or goods, in trade or commerce, or for any purpose that is incidental to the carriage of that kind. A FIRS registered vehicle may undertake an intrastate journey where it can be demonstrated, that the intrastate journey is for the carriage of goods as part of a larger interstate journey relating to those goods. Under these circumstances, the FIRS vehicle will be operating as per subsection 8(1) of the IRT Act, and will not need to be registered under a law of a State (paragraph 52(2)(a) of the IRT Act).

However, if the vehicle is undertaking the carriage of goods on an intrastate journey that is not part of a larger interstate journey relating to those goods, registration under the IRT Act will not remove the requirement for the vehicle to be registered under State law.

Determining whether a vehicle is carrying goods on an intrastate journey as part of a larger interstate journey is ultimately a question of fact. The following factors are relevant to making an assessment of whether the intrastate component of the journey is covered by the IRT Act:

  • If a single transport company is contracted to carry out, or arrange, for the carriage of goods from a place in a State to a place in another State, it is likely that an intrastate journey component of the larger interstate journey will be covered by the IRT Act. This is the case even if the intrastate journey involves a leg being carried out by another FIRS vehicle or if a break in the journey to transfer the goods to another kind of vehicle (rail or ship etc) occurs.
  • If there is a contract between a consignor in one State and a consignee in another State, this may point to the existence of an interstate freight journey that would be covered by the IRT Act.
  • If a vehicle is carrying a load that involves an interstate journey, but on that interstate journey the vehicle also picks up goods that are transported as part of an intrastate journey, the vehicle will still likely be covered by the IRT Act.
  • If the interstate journey for the transport of goods ends at one location in a State, it is unlikely that subsequent intrastate journeys from that point to another place within the State will be covered by the IRT Act.

FIRS B-doubles and Higher Mass Limits routes

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is responsible for the administration of interstate Road Access Permits and Determinations for heavy vehicles driving within Queensland, NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and SA. These jurisdictions (except Tasmania) are operating under temporary delegation from the NHVR to process specific intrastate permit applications. Operators seeking such permits should apply directly to their local road authority.

For more information, consult the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator: Permit Applications webpage.

FIRS restricted access vehicles such as B-doubles and Higher Mass Limit combinations operate on designated routes which include those authorised by relevant instruments made under the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 (HVNL) as well as WA and NT laws. Section 2(1) of the Interstate Road Transport Regulations 1986 specifies the relevant National, State and Territory legislation, under the definition of ‘relevant instrument’.

Additional designated routes are specified in the following Determinations of Federal Routes as made by the Australian Government. They have been made for those routes that are not authorised by a relevant instrument made by the NHVR (as governed by the HVNL), States or Territories. For example, restricted access routes in WA are authorised by Period Permit (rather than by notice) and published on the internet (rather than by gazette).

The current Determinations of Federal Routes are:

Operators wishing to drive on a road which has not been designated either by a FIRS route Determination or operating under a relevant instrument must obtain a permit from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. For those wishing to drive within the NT or WA, please contact the appropriate State or Territory registration authority directly.

For more information, consult the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator: Road Access webpage.

Further Information

For further information on FIRS registration you should contact your local registration authority or contact the FIRS hotline on 1800 026 170.

Information on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator can be found on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website at www.nhvr.gov.au or you can contact the Regulator on the following details:

Phone: 1300 MYNHVR (1300 696 487)
Standard 1300 call charges apply
7.00am–7.00pm (AEDT)
Fax: 07 3309 8777
Email: info@nhvr.gov.au

Regulator Performance Framework

The Australian Government is committed to reducing the cost of unnecessary or inefficient regulation imposed on individuals, business and community organisations.

A Regulator Performance Framework was developed in late 2014 to support Australian Government regulators to measure and improve their performance.

During 1 July 2015–30 June 2016 the Department undertook an assessment of achievement against the Regulator Performance Framework indicators.

See the following assessment report for the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme.

  • Regulator Self-Assessment – Federal Interstate Registration Scheme PDF: 399 KB ReadSpeaker


Last Updated: 19 July, 2018