Victorians gearing up to get their Learner and Probationary licences no longer have to pay for a test.

    The scheme is part of VicRoads’ privatisation, and officially came into force on August 15. Learner drivers in Victoria will now save up to $51.40 in licence and online testing fees, as well as $133.30 in online hazard perception testing fees.

    Motorists with a clean record in the three years prior to their licence renewal will also get a 25 per cent discount from October 1.

    A driver with a clean licence for three years will save $73 on a new 10-year drivers licence. The scheme is being reintroduced after being abolished in 2013.

    These changes are part of a wider deal which sees the Victorian Government pair with three companies to overhaul the state’s licensing, registration, and Custom Plates systems.

    Aware Super, Australian Retirement Trust, and Macquarie Asset Management have teamed up on what’s called the VicRoads Modernisation process, committing to a 40-year partnership with the State Government.

    The deal is worth $7.9 billion for Victoria. That money won’t be poured back into roads, nor into electric vehicle infrastructure. Instead, it’ll be invested in the “new Victorian Future Fund to help manage our pandemic debt”.

    Victorian Treasure Tim Pallas previously indicated a private partner to the Government will earn a share of Victorian registration and licensing earning, which in 2020 totalled $1.8 billion, when he announced the privatisation plans in March 2021.

    The State Government retains ownership of VicRoads, which “will ensure control over regulation and policy, data and privacy provisions and pricing of essential fees, with information to remain secure and stored in Australia”.

    When the privatisation push was announced, Mr Pallas said the move will allow VicRoads to modernise its computer systems and processes, with the goal of providing better customer service.

    The Government says it’s created 80 jobs to oversee the partnership and support its rollout. It also says it “delivered on its commitment to protect the jobs of existing VicRoads employees”.

    As reported by CarExpert, the Government used generous bonuses to prevent an employee exodus from VicRoads when the partnership was announced.

    Some workers were offered bonuses of up to $22,000 to stay when the Government-run Registration & Licensing and Custom Plates departments become part of a for-profit partnership with the new consortium.

    CarExpert understands around 900 people will be offered jobs in the joint venture, however it’s not clear how many qualify for the bonuses.

    A range of departments represented by different unions are involved in the switch.

    Some employees were being offered a $2000 sign-on bonus for committing to the new public-private partnership, followed by a $10,000 bonus three months later.

    A further $10,000 is being offered to those who stick around for two years, according to an internal presentation viewed by CarExpert.

    “Redundancies are not on the table as part of this transition process,” VicRoads employees were told.

    Current full-time staff were being guaranteed a three-year contract, and have been offered assurances they’ll be employed in the Victorian Department of Transport if their role is swallowed by the joint venture (JV).

    Employees have told CarExpert they’re worried the move to even partial private ownership and management will degrade their working conditions.

    MORE: VicRoads privatisation: Cheaper licence tests, $7.9b for State Govt
    MORE: $22,000 bonuses being offered to keep employees in VicRoads private switch
    MORE: Registration and licensing being partially privatised in Victoria
    MORE: VicRoads hazard perception test moves online

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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