Offensive advertising displayed on Western Australian licensed vehicles

How to report offensive advertising on licensed vehicles.

From the 1 November 2023, the Department of Transport (DoT) has the power to cancel, suspend, refuse to grant or transfer a vehicle licence for vehicles that display advertising deemed offensive by the Ad Standards Community Panel. 

Some examples of inappropriate advertising include:

  • images or words that don’t meet recognised moral standards
  • sexual material that is used in an exploitative or degrading manner
  • descriptions or depictions of nudity or sexual acts
  • allusions to sex or sexuality
  • personally insulting
  • offending a person’s dignity, self-respect, or sensibilities
  • causing a person to feel ashamed or confused
  • aimed at a specific person
  • discriminating against or vilifying a religion, race or culture 
  • negative stereotyping of a section of the community.

The ban applies to all WA licensed vehicles.

How to report offensive advertising on a licence vehicle

If you see a WA licensed vehicle with advertising which you find offensive, you can lodge a complaint on the Ad Standards website.

You cannot submit a complaint directly to DoT.

What you will need to provide

  • a photograph of the vehicle showing the material you find offensive and the vehicle number plate
  • your name and address
  • details of your complaint, including why you find the advertisement offensive. 

Once you have lodged your complaint with Ad Standards, the Ad Standards Community Panel will consider your complaint and decide if the material breaches the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics.

If the material is deemed to be offensive, the owner of the vehicle will be given notice to remove or modify the advertising and provide a statutory declaration advising the advertisement has been modified or removed.

If the advertising is not removed from the vehicle, DoT will issue a warning notice.

If the advertising is not removed within the time frame specified in the warning notice, DoT will cancel the vehicle licence preventing the vehicle from being driven on public roads.

Any remaining vehicle license period will not be refunded where the vehicle licence has been cancelled.

How to re-licence a vehicle

To re-licence a vehicle that has had its licence cancelled due to offensive advertising, you must:
•    remove the offensive advertising from the vehicle; and 
•    submit a declaration and photographic evidence confirming the removal of the advertising to

The vehicle must pass a vehicle inspection at an Approved Inspection Station before applying for a new vehicle licence. 

Frequently asked questions

Why doesn’t the ban apply to offensive vehicle markings which are not advertisements?

The Western Australian Government does not seek to take away an individual’s right to express themselves freely. Therefore, the ban is limited to vehicles displaying advertising that is deemed offensive.

Does this ban apply to vehicles displaying offensive number plates or bumper stickers?

No, the ban only applies to advertising on vehicles that the Ad Standards Community Panel has determined breaches the AANA Code of Ethics.

Have other states and territories taken measures to cancel, suspend or prevent the registration of vehicles that display inappropriate or offensive material?

Yes, provisions are in place to combat offensive advertising on vehicles in all states and territories.

Has the ban been effective in other states and territories?

Yes. Most advertisers have complied with the Ad Standards notices to modify or remove the offensive advertisements from reported vehicles. Vehicle licences have been cancelled for those who do not remove the offensive advertising from their vehicles.

What steps can an advertiser take if they disagree with the Ad Standards Community Panel outcome of the case?

Advertisers can lodge a request to Ad Standards who will provide all information relating to the decision to an independent reviewer. 

What happens where a hire and drive vehicle is currently being driven by a customer and is in breach of the AANA Code of Ethics?

To ensure a customer who is currently hiring a vehicle is not inconvenienced by a vehicle rental company’s failure to comply with a breach of the AANA Code of Ethics, DoT can delay cancellation of the vehicle licence for a reasonable period.

Page last updated: Tue Oct 31 2023 3:15:12 PM