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
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).
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.
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
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…
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?