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Transport Ministers agree national crackdown on vehicles displaying offensive messages

Transport Ministers agree national crackdown on vehicles displaying offensive messages
August 3, 2019

Federal and state transport ministers have agreed on a national strategy to crack down on vehicles with obscene and suggestive slogans.

At a meeting in Adelaide this week, the Ministers agreed to harmonise laws across the country.

Aimed at vehicles operated primarily by Wicked Campervans, which often feature obscene statements on their bodywork, the move follows some states having already moved to make it easier to have vehicles deregistered. However, vehicles can then be registered in a different state.

Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT have already moved to deregister some Wicked Campers vehicles over their offensive signs, but, in response, the vehicle operators have simply reregistered with interstate plates.

Explaining the agreement, South Australian Transport Minister Stephan Knoll advised “we want to make sure that we close down these loopholes, stop the scourge of these offensive advertising and materials on the sides of these campervans - but we need to do it in a nationally consistent approach.”

Victorian Roads Minister Jaala Pulford also announced on Friday that the state will introduce laws to ban vehicles displaying offensive slogans and images.

They will be banned from travelling on Victorian roads under new laws to be introduced to the Victorian Parliament.

Under the laws, any vehicle that displays a sexist, offensive or obscene slogan can be referred to the Ad Standards Community panel.

If that panel finds the slogan is in breach of the standards, it would have to be removed or the vehicle's registration will be cancelled.

An Opposition bill before South Australia's Parliament targets companies like Wicked Campers and other similar operators, and would allow authorities to deregister vehicles if a company failed to act on rulings by the Advertising Standards Bureau.

In January, the bureau ruled a Wicked Campers van registered in South Australia had breached the advertising industry's code of ethics, but nothing has been done to remove it from the road.

Minister Knoll has previously argued the law would not be effective without a nationally coordinated approach, as Wicked could simply re-register its vehicles in another state not covered by the rules.

Last year, Queensland Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said that without a national approach, it was hard to keep vans with slogans that have breached the Ad Standards Code of Ethics off the road.

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