Adjournment – VicRoads Licence Testing

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Roads in the other place, and the action I seek is an immediate extension of testing hours at VicRoads licensing centres to clear the backlog of delayed licence tests. The government made a huge deal about reopening testing last week and how they were going to clear the backlog, but when you drill down into the detail there are actually no new appointments until September. There is no tangible extension to the testing procedures and processes. This is a comment left on my Facebook page by a constituent on Thursday last week:

I went to Vic Roads today with my daughter to try and make an appointment, they basically laughed at us, told us we couldn’t make an appointment and it will be months before my daughter can make a booking due to the backlog. But not once in all the phone calls that I’ve made to them have they added her name to any list. My daughter cried when we left Vic Roads today.

So in an effort to clear one backlog the government is actually creating another. No new appointments until September means anyone who turns 18 between now and then will be waiting for three months. When new bookings are being taken again, waiting times will blow out. If you are not fixing the problem, you are extending it. In my electorate the Warrnambool office does tests four days a week, while the office in Portland tests one day a week. I understand testing days increase to five days a week in Warrnambool and to two in Portland during the busy times. The same can be said for Hamilton and Ararat, but right now it needs to be more.

The normal processes for busy periods will not suffice; this is not a normal situation. Testing days need to be extended beyond the norm at all testing sites until we are back to normal waiting times. I am talking five or six days a week at all offices. Later into the evening and weekends should be looked at. Staffing will of course be an issue. So I ask: is there anything stopping accredited driving instructors being recruited as licensing assessors? These people are already accredited to teach our kids to drive, so surely there must be some way they can be recruited as assessors even in the short term.

I have also had issues raised with me about people who applied for and were granted an exemption during the shutdown. Are those people now able to have that appointment in their own town rather than having to travel 4 hours-plus from some parts of my electorate to be able to sit their tests in Werribee? I ask the minister to make a real effort to clear this backlog and not create another—extend testing hours, open on weekends, stop pretending everything is getting back to normal when it is clearly not the case.