Roads | September 21, 2020
Licence testing resumes in regional Victoria
Following repeated calls from The Nationals, the state government has announced the resumption of licence testing in regional Victoria from today.
However Member for Lowan Emma Kealy remains concerned about how the government will manage the huge backlog of testing appointments, and ensure that anyone needing a licence for work or other essential reasons will be able to obtain a test quickly.
She and her Nationals colleagues are calling for the government to commit more resources to fast-track testing, such as expanding staffing numbers and the number of testing days in regional areas, and making the learner permit test and the P-plate hazard perception test available online.
“A lot of our young people have been very patient about this, but now the switch has been turned back on there should be plans in place to make up for all the lost time instead of taking the slow road,” Ms Kealy said.
“We need to increase the number of tests available to ensure that people do not face months and months more waiting, when some have already been waiting since March.
“Testing has been on-again, off-again this year, and to an extent that is understandable, but our would-be drivers should not be further penalised by being linked to a Melbourne lockdown timeline instead of our own.
“Surely VicRoads has been planning to make the best of this for everyone involved – it’s not as if they didn’t know it was coming. The government needs to be looking at the total numbers on hold and coming up with a staffing solution to fix it, and fix it fast.
“But city decision-makers still don’t get the importance of licences for country people. We don’t have public transport options as an alternative, meaning people who need a licence to get to work or apply for a job are being left stranded indefinitely.
“The resumption of licence testing is an important first step, but it alone is not a solution.”
Ms Kealy said VicRoads had confirmed hardship applications would continue to be available until testing availability returned to normal.
VicRoads will contact regional customers with a postponed appointment to reschedule their test, in order of cancellation, and anticipates taking new bookings in November.
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