Registration cancellation for offensive vehicle advertising breaches in Queensland

Advertising on vehicles is able to be viewed by a large number and wide range of people as the vehicles travel around the road network. There are occasions when vehicles display advertising that is sexist, discriminatory or otherwise offensive to members of the community.

The Transport Operations (Road Use Management) (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Bill 2016 (the Bill) has been introduced into the Queensland Parliament.

The current complaint handling system is managed by the Advertising Standards Bureau which determines complaints against the Code of Ethics.  The ASB reports that the majority of advertisers either modify or discontinue the offending advertisement. However, if an advertiser decides not to comply with the Board’s determination, neither the Board nor the ASB has any powers to enforce the determination.

In response to community concern about advertising on vehicles, the objective of the Bill is to minimise the amount of offensive advertising on Queensland registered vehicles by allowing the chief executive of the Department of Transport and Main Roads to cancel a vehicle’s registration to enforce Standards Board determinations.

The Bill introduces new provisions to apply when the ASB notifies (through an advertising code breach notice) the chief executive of the Department of Transport and Main Roads that advertising on a Queensland registered vehicle has been determined by the Standards Board to breach the Code of Ethics, and no action has been taken by the advertiser to modify or remove the advertisement.

Transport Operations (Road Use Management) (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Bill 2016

The new provisions are:

  • allow the chief executive to give a registration cancellation notice to the registered operator advising that the vehicle’s registration will be cancelled on a stated date, unless the ASB’s advertising code breach notice is withdrawn
  • require that the cancellation date must be at least 14 days after the registration cancellation notice
  • is given to the registered operator
  • allow the chief executive to cancel the vehicle’s registration if the advertising code breach notice is not withdrawn by the relevant date
  • enable the chief executive to, by written notice, delay registration cancellation (for example, if the vehicle is a hire vehicle that is out on hire, the chief executive may decide to delay the cancellation of registration if the registered operator requires further time to contact the driver and arrange for the advertisement to be removed)
  • ensure that, after the registered operator receives a registration cancellation notice, they cannot transfer the vehicle’s registration to another person to avoid de-registration
  • ensure that, where a vehicle’s registration is cancelled under the new provisions, the registered operator is not entitled to a refund of registration fees
  • require a statutory declaration stating that the advertisement has been removed before the vehicle will be able to be re-registered in Queensland.