Motor Vehicle Census
1 This publication presents statistics relating to vehicles which were registered with a motor vehicle registration authority (MVR) at 31 January 2019.
2 Motor Vehicle Censuses (MVC) have been conducted periodically from 1971 on each of the following dates:
- 31st January for the years 2011 through to 2019.
- 31st March for the years 2001 through to 2010.
- 31st October for the years 1996 through to 1999.
- 30th May for the year 1995.
- 30th June for the year 1993.
- 30th September for the years 1971, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1988 and 1991
Scope and coverage
3 The 2019 MVC includes all motor vehicles that are registered with an Australian state or territory motor vehicle authority for unrestricted use on public roads as at the census date, 31 January.
4 The scope of the MVC excludes:
- recreational vehicles such as trail bikes, quad bikes, and sand dune buggies intended for off-road use;
- veteran and vintage vehicles registered for restricted use only;
- consular vehicles; and
- vehicles registered by the defence forces.
5 Data provided to the ABS includes road-registered caravans, trailers, tractors, plant and equipment. These particular vehicle types are out of scope and hence are not included in the Motor Vehicle Census publication. From 2013, data for road registered caravans, trailers, tractors, plant and equipment are available in TableBuilder product 9309.0.55.003 Microdata: Census of Motor Vehicles, Australia.
6 Coverage currently extends to data collected by all eight Australian state and territory Motor Vehicle Registries.
7 Vehicles whose registration has lapsed up to 30 days prior to the MVC snapshot date are deemed to be in scope. This is because payments may be processed by motor vehicle registries within this time and the vehicle treated as being continuously registered.
8 In Victoria and Queensland, recreational vehicles such as trail bikes, quad bikes, and sand dune buggies are required to be registered. These vehicles are included in the MVC as they are not able to be discretely identified and removed. In these states, trail bikes are included in motor cycles while other off-road vehicles could be included in various vehicle types depending on how the MVR coded the body type.
9 Veteran and vintage vehicles with restricted use are included in the count of registered vehicles for New South Wales as there are no distinguishing identifiers in the data supplied by the MVR to enable their exclusion from the count. Where possible, data on most Victorian veteran and vintage vehicles are excluded from the files loaded by the ABS. Veteran and vintage vehicles with restricted use for all other states and territories are excluded in the count of registered vehicles.
10 Motor vehicle registration statistics are derived from data made available by various state and territory motor vehicle registration authorities. Registration data reported to the ABS reflect the information as recorded in registration documents by the relevant motor vehicle registration authority. Unusual movements in registration counts are queried and confirmed with the relevant Motor Vehicle Registry.
11 The estimated proportion of motor vehicles, excluding motor cycles, taken off the register since the previous MVC is referred to as the attrition rate. The attrition rates in the following table have been calculated using Motor Vehicle Census and new motor vehicle sales data. Motor cycles are excluded from the attrition rate calculation as they are not included in new motor vehicle sales data.
Estimated attrition (a), state/territory - Census years
|Between 2014 and 2015||Between 2015 and 2016||Between 2016 and 2017||Between 2017 and 2018||Between 2018 and 2019|
|NSW||222 143||4.2||262 426||4.9||262 872||4.6||287 998||4.9||314 416||5.2|
|Vic.||223 997||4.9||207 924||4.4||209 495||4.2||214 408||4.2||236 429||4.5|
|Qld||162 992||4.3||159 188||4.2||139 062||3.4||135 935||3.3||146 633||3.4|
|SA||49 197||3.7||52 744||3.9||50 434||3.5||49 470||3.4||52 949||3.6|
|WA||75 785||3.6||84 019||3.9||89 755||3.9||85 500||3.7||85 480||3.7|
|Tas.||10 409||2.4||12 844||2.8||7 927||1.7||8 433||1.7||7 716||1.5|
|NT||8 296||5.3||7 603||4.8||13 091||7.8||3 621||2.2||11 637||6.7|
|ACT||13 009||4.6||13 298||4.6||11 500||3.7||11 605||3.7||12 509||3.9|
|Aust.||765 828||4.3||800 046||4.4||784 136||4.0||796 970||4.0||867 769||4.3|
a. These estimates exclude motor cycles. For more details on calculation of attrition rate refer to Glossary
12 The 2019 Motor Vehicle Census is a count of all in-scope vehicles registered with a state or territory motor vehicle registration authority (MVR) at 31 January 2019. All records are compared to previous MVC data for vehicles that match (on-going registrations) and details are updated for these vehicles where applicable.
13 The unmatched records (new vehicle registrations) undergo editing of individual data items. The editing of on-going registrations is limited as these records have been edited in previous years. Aggregate data is checked across time, states and vehicle types to ensure coherency.
14 The MVC provides the survey frame for the Survey of Motor Vehicle Use (SMVU). Editing of the data is designed to maximise data quality to the level required for the SMVU. The size of the fleet (over 19 million vehicles) dictates that quality assurance of each record is not possible. Therefore, while the data are made available at a detailed level, the ABS is unable to guarantee that it is necessarily sufficient for all purposes for which it may be used. There is also some variation in the reporting from different state and territory registries and care should be taken when comparing data across jurisdictions.
15 The information provided to the ABS and included in the estimates for any year may be revised or corrected in later years. Where corrections are made to original data they will be identified by the annotation (r) revised.
16 Geographic data available from the MVC are postcode of owner and state or territory of registration.
17 If analysis of regional data based on postcodes is being undertaken, the following considerations need to be taken into account:
- there are some instances where the postcode of the vehicle's owner is in a different state or territory from that in which the vehicle is registered. For example, the postcode of the owner of the vehicle could be in Sydney, yet the vehicle could be registered in Queensland;
- some official postcodes (PO boxes, competition postcodes) do not correspond to residential areas;
- some postcodes could be invalid.
18 This publication draws extensively on information provided freely by the state and territory motor vehicle registration authorities. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated. Without it, many of the transport statistics published by the ABS would not be available.
Related publications and products
19 Users may also wish to refer to the following publications and products which contain information relating to motor vehicles in Australia:
- Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia, (Electronic Publication) (cat. no. 9314.0) (discontinued)
- Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia (cat. no. 9208.0)
- Microdata: Census of Motor Vehicles, Australia (cat. no. 9309.0.55.003)
ABS data available on request
20 As well as the statistics included in this publication, the ABS has other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.