Australia Day double demerits: What you need to know

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Australia Day is still several days away but drivers could face double demerit penalties as early as tonight.

Each state enforces different laws and penalties, so read on to find out how you’ll be affected.

NSW and ACT double demerits

NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Acting Assistant Commissioner Stephen Hegarty told reporters on Thursday officers will be out “combining all their resources with the local area commands”.

The state will commence its double demerits period for Australia Day from Friday and it will end on Tuesday.

Rush hour traffic gridlock on busy Sydney main road.
Traffic during peak hour in Newtown. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

“They will be targeting poor driving behaviour or people just not listening to what the road rules are,” he said.

“We all understand that speed, alcohol and drugs are some of the main factors towards collisions.

“So, for that reason we’ll be out there in mass and we will be doing our random breath testing and we will be doing our random drug testing as well as speed enforcement – not just on arterial roads but also on the regional and coastal roads as well.

“So, if you’re going to speed this weekend you’re more than likely going to get caught by police.”

Drivers face a number of double demerit offences including driving without a seatbelt, which will be a six-point demerit penalty over the period, while using a phone will cost drivers 10 demerits.

For a full list of NSW driving offences, fines and demerits see the Roads and Maritime website.

Queensland double demerits

Queensland drivers won’t face a double demerit period over the Australia Day period but can face harsher penalties throughout the year.

Instead, if you commit the same offence twice within 12 months, such as driving while using a phone or speeding in Queensland, drivers will be slapped with double demerits.

A Queensland Police officer operates a speed radar in Brisbane
A Queensland Police officer with a speed camera in Brisbane. Source: AAP

This is active throughout the year too.

A full list of demerits and fines is available on the Queensland government website.

South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory

Victoria doesn’t have a double demerits system, however if a driver gets 12 demerit points in three years they face suspension. Provisional and learner licence holders can be suspended for five demerits in 12 months and 12 demerits in three years.

Victoria Road Policing Command Acting Assistant Commissioner John Fitzpatrick told reporters on Thursday police will be out in force from Friday through to Tuesday with random alcohol and drug tests.

“If you’re having a few drinks with your mates, make sure you’ve planned how to get home without driving,” he said.

“We want people to have a good time but do not want to be attending collision scenes where drugs or alcohol is a contributing factor.”

There are no double demerits in South Australia, Northern Territory or Tasmania. Western Australia has a double demerits system, however it is not enforced over the Australia Day period.

Demerits in South Australia take three years to expire with the same 12-point limit in three years as Victoria. This also applies in the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

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