Labor has this morning quietly announced a return to licence testing in regional Victoria but failed to provide important details on how the thousands of Victorians waiting to get their licences will actually be able to do so.
In a further kick in the guts to those already waiting to get their licence, the more than 25,000 Victorians who were unable to book a test during the period licence bookings were not being taken, will have to wait until the end of November before they can even TRY and make a booking.
Just like Labor's previous return to testing plans, this announcement, that should be providing certainty and clarity, really just creates more questions than answers – questions that the Liberal Nationals have been seeking answers to for months.
Labor's Roads Minister, Ben Carroll must provide answers to these questions to provide the certainty to the thousands of Victorians who are desperately trying to get their licence:
Will testing capacity in regional testing centres be increased?
Increasing the operation of testing centres from only a couple of days a week to at least 5 days a week will dramatically increase the number of licence tests that can be conducted. This capacity must be increased immediately.
When will the computerised Learner's Permit test be delivered in an online format?
An online test will significantly reduce the large and ever-increasing backlog.
Will there be additional pop-up testing centres in regional Victoria?
Labor should be ensuring that additional testing capacity is created by introducing pop-up testing locations across regional Victoria.
Will VicRoads be hiring more staff to help process the ever-growing backlog?
The Liberal Nationals have been calling for accredited professional driving instructors to be contracted by VicRoads so they can administer the tests.
Are licence tests to be rebooked in the order they had been cancelled?
Labor has provided no details on this. When licence tests were cancelled last time there were reports of inconsistent and illogical methods of rebooking.
The Liberal Nationals AGAIN call on the Andrews Labor Government to provide answers to these questions so that the 25,000 drivers waiting to get on the road in regional Victoria can do so sooner rather than later.
Victorians have lost confidence in the Andrews Labor Government and this latest failure to deliver a clear roadmap to resume licence testing is yet another bungle added to an already long list.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Rural Roads, Roma Britnell:
“Once again, the Andrews Labor Government has let prospective drivers in regional Victoria down with this half-baked plan that provides a gob-smacking lack of detail.
“Labor's last plan failed miserably to make any difference to the skyrocketing number of Victorians trying desperately to get their licence.
“The Andrews Labor Government just doesn't understand the importance of getting a licence in regional Victoria, our young people can't just jump on a tram or a train to get around.
“There are tech companies that can set up online testing in just days. For heaven’s sake - online banking can be done safely, and so could an online Learner's Permit test if Labor actually worked to deliver it.
“I’m also getting reports that people applying in regional Victoria for a hardship testing appointment – people with a proven need for a licence to get to and from their job – have been denied. This is completely unacceptable.
"Labor must urgently provide clarity to Victorians about how this return to testing will actually work. Without it, prospective drivers in regional Victoria will once again be left in the dark.”