Dept of Transport WA aaaargh

In all states / territories, you must be a resident to qualify for or renew a driver’s licence. When you’re moving in to any of them, they give you a three month grace period in which to transfer your licence. When that period’s up, if the transfer hasn’t yet happened, you’re unlicensed.

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That’s not correct, I can drive on my QLD licence as long as it is current. I have a family member who is a WA police officer and he has told me it wouldn’t even be a huge issue if pulled up and had QLD licence even if resident in WA. I would just explain my issues with DOT. I would happily just keep using QLD licence but when it comes up for renewal I no longer have a QLD address. And even if there were a way around this I need the WA licence for ID purposes.

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I would if I didn’t need WA licence for ID. And if moving back to QLD were an option I would be packed and gone by now!!

Yes, but only if your principal place of residence is in Queensland. If your principal place of residence is in Western Australia, one has 3 months to transfer licences to Western Australia. The WA Dot website states:

If you are moving to WA to live, you must apply for a WA driver’s licence within 3 months of becoming a WA resident or replace your interstate learner’s permit with a WA learner’s permit.

The relevant word is must. No doing so exposes one to an infringement notice (fine) if caught. The WA Road Traffic (Authorisation to Drive) Regulations 2014 creates the offence. The CEO of DoT can provide written exceptions as outlined in the regulation. A police officer on the side of the road doesn’t have such authority to make exceptions.

Exactly the situation @deb2 is trying to avoid.
The roadblock - (a poor pun) being an issue with recognition of the Commonwealth issued citizenship certificate by the WA Govt department.

Any action other than persisting with the WA Dept of Transport is going to take more time and effort.

Options include taking a formal complaint to the WA State Ombudsman. Ombudsman Western Australia

The Dept of Home Affairs which is responsible for issuing the Citizenship certificates or their replacement if lost or damaged etc may also be able to assist. They issued @deb2’s document. It is a legal document issued under an authority the states long passed to the Commonwealth.

Even DOT staff will tell you that the requirement to change from an interstate licence to a WA licence if resident here is not policed. And police officers actually do have a reasonable amount of flexibility and are able to make decisions based on common sense. This is why on occasion police will just issue warning rather than actually charging someone. If I were to be pulled over and questioned about not changing to a WA licence I am fairly confident that as an older lady with a valid driver’s licence and able to explain that I was doing my very best to change I wouldn’t be penalised.

WA Police won’t be pulling over cars to check if the driver is a resident and has a WA licence. This they would be correct.

However, I would not rely on that. If police stop you say for speeding, and check your licence and find that you are from interstate…and have been a residence for some time, they are likely to issue another infringement notice in addition for speeding, as you aren’t unauthorised drive in WA. If they didn’t fine you and you had an accident, they might take on some on the responsibility if they allowed an unauthorised driver to continue to drive. It could also have insurance implications.

Police no longer have discretion like that which occurred in the past. There have been some infamous examples of police using their discretion to favour the driver (family member, a known public person etc). As a result, police forces around Australia no longer allow discretion. Tasmania happened the last to remove discretion a few years ago, and have also moved a ‘zero tolerance’ policy like other states.

If the licence transfer is likely to take more than 3 months, and you are risk adverse (accept that you may have to appeal any infringement notices on what you believe are reasonable grounds), I would be asking DoT for an exception (called an authorisation under the regulations) to allow you to drive with a Queensland licence while a residence of WA. This is allowed for under the regulations, and as it appears that the delay is outside your control, DoT should be willing to provide you with such an exemption. If they don’t wish to provide the exemption, I would be asking for the officer’s name, employment number and contact details so that any member of the police can call them for their advice in the case that the validity of your Queensland licence is questioned.

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Can you trust what a DOT staff member tells you, after your experience so far with them … ?

I’m with @phb on this - don’t take the risk! Get DOT to issue you with an authorisation to drive until they give you the WA licence.

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Not a solution given the prior advice from @deb2 that their QLD license will soon expire. Effectively leaving her unlicensed.

Not necessarily a resolution of any needs for a photo ID with a matching WA address.

One might ask since the system will not accept the Citizenship Doc for ID whether the WA staff have any discretion to accept the other ID docs presented without that evidence. To note the same WA Govt ID requirements appear to be applied to all Govt functions.

@deb2 hopefully has thought about what is the next best option for when her Qld license is close (4 weeks perhaps?) to expiry, and the WA system has not resolved the issues. Ombudsman, MP’s State and Commonwealth, Dept Home Affairs, Legal Aid! It’s not a “dead parrot” sketch from a Monty Python episode but it’s starting to sound like one.

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That was a good place to discuss off topic issues. But only available to those at the uppermost privilege levels.

Ahhhh, good to know some things don’t change! I went through this when the Navy posted me from Sydney to Fremantle in 1973… Treated like I was from another planet (which I probably was in their view. Anyone not born in WA is “from the East”). Thought things might have improved by now given technology has changed since then.


Oh God…1973 in Perth, I shudder to think what it was like here then. And I have lived in Tassie!! I thought Tasmanians were insular and suspicious of anyone whose GGG grandma wasn’t born there but they have nothing on Westralians. I’m bracing myself for another visit to DOT shortly in the hope that they’ve had confirmation of the validity of my Cit Cert but just haven’t been bothered to contact me as they swore they would. If anyone has ever read Dicken’s Little Dorrit WA DOT bears an uncanny resemblance to the office of circumlocution…a government dept which is run purely for the benefit of its incompetent and obstructive officials.

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