The Liberal Nationals are calling on the Andrews Labor Government and VicRoads to clarify the licence testing arrangements that will be put into place during Stage 3 and 4 restrictions in Victoria.
Before Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire were placed into Stage 3 restrictions, the return to service plan VicRoads had put into place was failing. None of the pop-up testing centres had been opened, very few additional staff had been hired and the purported increase in operating days for regional testing centres had not happened.
Now that Victoria has been placed into harsher restrictions, there are real concerns of further severe delays to young people getting their licences.
There’s no reason that computerised hazard testing can’t be delivered online – the technology exists and is available now.
The backlog of 100,000 tests barely had a dent put into it before testing stopped again. Young drivers are now faced with not getting their licence well into 2021. VicRoads needs to outline how licence testing will be handled during the current restrictions and give assurance to young people.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Roads (Metropolitan), Brad Battin:
“During the first restrictions the Andrews Labor Government let the testing backlog build up to 100,000 before they outlined their plans on how this figure would be reduced. Their plan was overly ambitious and prior to the most recent restrictions, barely had an impact.
“I have called continuously for computerised hazard testing to be done online because it will make a real difference in reducing the backlog. VicRoads have ignored calls to implement such a system and Minister Carroll has been silent on the issue. Clearly, they don’t care about young drivers.
“Young drivers desperately need some clarity. With so long to prepare, what has the Andrews Labor Government put in place to assist young people get their learners or probationary driving permit?”
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Rural Roads, Roma Britnell:
“Young people in rural and regional areas are already limited by the number of testing days available, with many sites only testing one or two days a week in ordinary circumstances. They now face even longer delays. For many, a licence is a necessity to get to and from work because of extremely limited public transport options.
“I have had parents contact me who are driving up to 200 kilometres a day to make sure their kids can get to and from work, while they’re waiting to get their licence. This places enormous pressure on a family.
“Minister Carroll needs to urgently outline what his plans are to ensure rural and regional young people can get their licence as quickly as possible once restrictions are eased.”