Queensland 4X4 Operation Lift wrap up

You’ll no doubt have seen a massive amount of news and information on “Operation Lift” over the past few weeks, and if you want the blow by blow, have a look at our articles here, here, and here. With the various pieces of information spread out over many different platforms, we thought it was time to put together a quick Queensland 4X4 Operation Lift wrap up.

Where it all started

QLD Police media alert. If you know anyone who went, please contact us ASAP
QLD Police media alert… released the day before.

Back on September 2, the Queensland Police Service notified the media of a “3 day blitz”, called Operation Lift, aimed at identifying “illegally modified four-wheel drives”. The media at large were given the option to ‘tag-along’ and report on the blitz and what was happening. Most of us owners of 4X4’s paid it little attention, as we all knew what the laws were, and what was legal and what wasn’t. Essentially us up here in Queensland could ‘self-certify’ (complete the lift ourselves with quality components without needing an engineer to sign off on it) a 2″ suspension and 1″ tyre lift (2″ tyres overall; 1″ top, 1″ bottom).

Turns out, that the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) may have changed a few things in the rule book, while no one was watching and without letting anyone know. Specifically, that under self certification, vehicles equipped with Electronic Stability Control (ESC – mandatory on all vehicles post 2014), were allowed a 2″ suspension lift, ONLY. No body lift, no tyre lift at all. So if you wanted to go any further than that, you needed to get it approved by an appropriately qualified engineer with the right testing equipment, and have a mod-plate affixed to your four-wheel drive (Think: engineers report in your glovebox, for those of you down south).

Source: Facebook

This was all fine and well, except for two tiny little problems. 1, They never told anyone they had changed the rules and 2, there was no one in Queensland who could actually certify any ESC equipped vehicle.


The Blitz

NSW Police know how to make a good looking Ranger
Photo and design courtesy of Ryan Farrow @ Coconut Graphics (not even an illegally modified vehicle… sorta)

Continuing on with the Queensland 4X4 Operation Lift wrap up, this then led to the ‘Great 4X4 Blitz of 2018’. Essentially vehicles on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane areas were pulled over, inspected, defected, impounded, yellow and red stickered and generally nailed to the wall, for doing what was apparently perfectly legal just six months prior. What added insult to injury, is that the defects came under the Type 2 Hoon Laws up here in Queensland. What does that mean we hear you ask? If you had been booked previously for a Type 2 offence (drive without license, exceed speed limit by 40km/h, or defected), then your vehicle was instantly impounded for a 7 day period. Imagine you’d been defected four months ago for having a light bar on top of your bullbar, and today, you get pulled over for having a 2″ suspension lift, and 2″ bigger tyres – instant impound. So as you can imagine, it received quite a bit of publicity, as well as a rather appropriate amount of uproar on Social Media. This is also compounded by the fact that it’s illegal here in Queensland, but perfectly legal in New South Wales.

Not just Queenslanders

Notice the bit in red? (DVRN: Defective Vehicle Repair Notice (defect notice), TIN: Traffic Infringement Notice (fine))

So, you might be an avid blues supporter and are sitting back thinking ‘Suffer in ya jocks, toads!’, but where it gets more interesting is that we received reports that people from inter-state, with vehicles registered and compliant in their home state, were being defected in Queensland. There was a lot of talk on social media about it, and despite numerous requests of the TMR from us and folks like 4WD Queensland, no one could ever get a straight answer. That was until September 13, where the Minister for Main Rods Mark Bailey released a statement advising that inter-state travellers would not be defected, so long as the modifications were legal in their home state. This is despite the fact a copy of the Vehicle Defect Check List specifically for this blitz happened to make it online which states otherwise.

And then just like that…

The media release stating it’s all gonna be ok…

On September 20, the Minister for Transport and Main Roads released a press release stating that as of ‘next month’ (sometime in October, 2018), Queenslands draconian laws will be aligned with New South Wales and Victoria, allowing a self certified 75mm lift (2″ suspension 1″ tyre) to vehicles equipped with ESC. No rhyme, and no reason, it was just done. Bear in mind, as of writing this post, we are still hearing stories of folks being defected for 75mm of lift in an ESC equipped four-wheel drive, as the changes have not taken effect yet. One thing worth noting, is that all we seemed to get was a bunch of finger pointing as to who was to blame for the blitz, and who changed the rules while no one was looking.

So hold fast, be mindful where you go, and what you do if you’ve got a vehicle fitted with said ‘currently illegal and dangerous lift’ until an unnamed date in October, where these lifts will not be illegal, nor dangerous.

That’s a wrap

So there you have the Queensland 4X4 Operation Lift wrap up of the Great 4X4 Blitz of 2018. We’re honestly stumped that there was such a sh!t fight over the unspoken changes, especially when it could have been done with a great deal more tact.

Perhaps next time the powers that be will involve the people they’re going to affect with their willy-nilly changes, before the Queensland Police Service are ordered out to defect anything they can throw a book at.

What did you think of the Queensland 4X4 Operation Lift wrap up and the blitz itself? Is there a way that we can stop this from happening again? How can we hold them accountable besides when we head to the polls?


Click here to post a comment

  • The Qld premier has quashed these rules according to an article in the Courier Mail and the government may have to reimburse people or be taken to court for reimbursement

  • Please be careful how you write, ” changed the rules without letting anybody know” and, “was legal 6 months ago and now its not”. The Qld ‘code of practice’ in regards to vehicle lifts was revised and released in February 2018(written on the header page of the
    Code of practice) with all heights and regulations listed. It is easy to find on the TMR website and clearly states what is legal and what requires a mod plate. There is no excuse for not knowing the rules and it’s incorrect for you to say “they didnt let us know”. TBH i dont know when the previous revision was. Yes i do own a 4×4, yes it is lifted, yes it is legal and i dont need to worry about the legalities. If you do it right the first time you wont have a problem. On the other hand, i agree it was unfair of the police to do what they did at the start of September and the politicians need a slap upside the head. But we cant keep everybody happy these days can we… travells everybody.

  • The Australian Constitution guarantees free trade & travel between the states & territories. Therefore if you are legal at home you are legal everywhere otherwise they would make you register your vechile in every state you drove in. I called their bluff once in Dubbo, the police officer said quote (Piss off and don’t stop until you’re out of NSW) I live in Qld. I love it up here but the Gov. sucks big time, I think they need the money, there broke.

  • I’m not going to Old until I know I can get back again. My 4wd was lifted before I even owned it , tires changed.who knows if it’s legal??

  • wont matter soon labor has done their dash in Qld they will be out over this! we need not talk about the ban on increased GVM rules they also wanted. if they want safety give us more wheel track beyond 50mm with increased lift to help stability.

  • Hi there is away to fix Queensland…. DONT GO THERE.. I live in nsw and it’s bad enough. I won’t be taking my 4wd nor my tourist dollars up there till common sense prevails.

  • I recently fitted a Donaldson 2″ lift to my 2014 Pajero mainly to prevent rear end sag of the vehicle when towing a caravan , and I really didn’t want to fit air bags .This greatly improved the handling and steering on and off road as it was very sloppy before with only 66000 k’s on it . Get some of these fat arse pollies off seats and go into the real world for a change ,instead of making rules they obviously have no idea about.

  • I keep saying it! Why oh why do we keep voting for the main stream political parties? Don’t you know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result! All I can say is keep drinking the cool aid and keep voting for the same crap, Labor, liberal or greens. You get what you ask for…

  • its very interesting to say the list. I looked into this as my vehicle is in this predicament and got me checking even my own state laws. The interesting this is that even the NCOP (national standard) that everyone bases there vehicles off of is contradictory in itself when it comes to ESC vehicles, and is actually more strict then the QCOP (queensland code of practice). Most people put a 3 inch or 2 inch in the front but only a 1 inch in the rear of their 4×4 utes to level them out as the front ends are too low for a offroad situation. But the interesting thing is that the NCOP state the back has to be lifted the same as the front or vice-versa. Even the NCOP (in one area) states that only a total of 50mm is allowed in the ESC equipped vehicle. So it seems to me that the queensland government is not entirely to blame. It seems to me the NCOP is a contradictory code that is very open to interpretation and looks like it is written by lawyers. I agree we need a national standard, however, they need to get their facts straight on the national standard before they release such a thing. Interesting to say the least. I am glad I am in the NT. Went and saw my MVR test shed yesterday and got them to check my car. They said it was fine. The interesting thing is that they measure off the highest point on your roof, which as I have only lifted the front 100mm (including tyres and lift) the highest part of the roof still only measures roughly 50mm above standard (if I go by the figure the test shed in my town give me). The interesting thing is to look at my standard vehicle height according to the RCVS website where the test shed get the figures from, my vehicle certification number is not even in the system.

  • Everyone I know of, at work, mates with 4x4s and even our 4×4 club have been talking about this problem. It’s been seen in different media outlets and in social comments, the news spreads like wild fire. Being in Victoria, we had all sorts of confusing reports from people, police and government. They all differ from each other.
    But what this has done is potentially damaged Queensland’s tourism industry as I’m not sure about my vehicle so it’s probably best if I avoid the state. The wife and I did have plans in October to November to tour north with our camper but now we will head west. Now touring South Australia and Western Australia. Heads should roll with this over night decision and slamming people of Queensland without giving time to fix their vehicles to make it legal. All I hear is cha-ching of state government cash cow, well done.

  • With such an over governed state, surely there are policies and procedures in place that that make the government follow a communication and roll out plan when changes / additions are made to regulated rules.
    Without following these roll out plans then the rules are null in void. The person found guilty in breaking the new rules should have a legal right to challenge and overturn them. I know ignorance is not a legal defence but not having any way of knowing that a new rule or change has occurred is something substantial.
    Woody – I would be even happier with the 2018 Melbourne cup winner.

    Nobody and I mean nobody seams to care about wheel track and how to stay within the law. Take a look around there is a dam lot of 4×4 owners that are breaking the law. Many of these have their pride and joy pictured in many 4×4 magazines. They are either blind or ill informed running atround with their wheels wider than legal track, with their insurance policy at major risk of being declined in the event of an accident. Please someone help all the unwary/ uncaring owners have some information to whats legal and whats not. Surely this is a major issue that seems to be overlooked by Vehicle dealers, Tyre /Wheeler installation companies, roadworthy compliance issuer’s and Vehicle owners. And the only one that will be held responsible is the Vehicle’s owner /driver.

  • We should be used to it by now in the most overgoverned country in the universe but it still smacks you in the face. I bought my SR5 new in 2020. My ‘over lifted suspension and tyres’ has been everywhere around the country on big drives and never been a problem. For 8 years now. In fact I can honestly say it handles much better on and off the road whether it be 5 or 110kmph, gravel, dirt, sand, mud or bitumen. With aftermarket suspension it handles, steers and stops with confidence and predictability. It’s rock solid and far superior than stock suspension in every way. Yet some pencil pushing muppet with no mechanical or seat experience can deem it ‘undafe’. Good old Australian government fat cats restricting us hard working Aussies and sapping every last cent out of us. Soon we will all be in cages with no rights at all. Wake up Austrslia. It’s us hard workers that pay those muppets. They work for us yet they are locking gates, illegalizing our cars and taxing us through the nose every which way we turn. It’s time for a change. This country and our ‘leaders’ are a disgrace. Australia, the free country….hmmm…is it really?

    • You think you’ve got problems, to think of the poor pensioner or disable person who has a mobility scooter, now there is talk that they are going to pass a bill whoever owns one must have a special license rego and insurance to ride one, the reason being there are too many accidents. how is that going to prevent accidents I just don’t know, it’s just another money grab to me. the disability parking notice should be enough. It would stop the grandchildren hopping on their grandparent’s mobility scooter and hooning down the street. Leave the poor pensioner a loan they have enough trouble to make ends meet.

Get the latest 4X4 updates

Download Our Apps