Roads | September 16, 2020

Licence testing must resume for region's young people

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has implored the state government to urgently reinstate learner and probationary licence testing when regional Victoria moves to step 3 restrictions from Thursday.

Ms Kealy said COVID-19 restrictions had meant hundreds of young people across her electorate had been waiting months for a test, and still had no clarity from the government as to when testing would resume.

“A driver’s licence is crucial for young people in rural and regional areas where public transport is virtually non-existent – they need a licence to be able to get to and from work or seek employment. But their jobs and future prospects are being severely hampered by their inability to sit a test,” she said.

“There is an exemption system in place for people who can demonstrate undue hardship, but even this process is flawed. I have been contacted by numerous parents whose children’s applications have been refused, despite a licence being essential to their child’s employment.

“It is imperative that testing resumes as soon as regional Victoria enters step 3 restrictions to give our young people the opportunity to gain their licence.”

Ms Kealy said the Nationals had been calling for L-plate testing and computerised hazard perception testing – a component for a probationary licence – to be delivered online for months, which would help ease the huge backlog of licence applications.

“There’s no reason online testing can’t be done –the technology exists and is available now,” she said.

“The massive backlog means young people will still face a significant wait to be tested even after restrictions lift. In addition to this, young people in rural and regional areas are then limited by the number of testing days available, with many sites only testing one or two days a week in ordinary circumstances.

“Online testing will make a big difference in reducing the backlog and ensuring young drivers do not face further delays.

“The government needs to act now to ensure our young people have the opportunity to access learner and probationary licence tests.”

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