Posted: 9:39 am on 17th March 2014

l-plateFor the last six years and a half years, learner drivers in NSW (WasteWatch’s home) have been subjected to more and more onerous conditions in order to qualify for their provisional licence.

For licences issued before 1 July 2007, learners had only to complete 50 hours of accompanied driving.

Then, the requirement jumped to a ridiculous 120 hours.

Next, the NSW government recognised the ridiculousness of this requirement, and created a little exemption.

If a learner driver took a 1-hour lesson with a certified instructor, they could record 3 hours in their logbook, up to a total of 10 hours of lessons.

(NB: All young WasteWatchers should check their local licencing laws to find out what crazy conditions apply this week.)

Then, the NSW government realised that since driving lessons can cost $80 an hour, and since not every learner in NSW can get a fully-licensed relative or friend to take them on 120 hours of accompanied driving, they were setting up a licencing system that could make the cost of a provisional licence close to $10,000.

So, in the manner of governments around the world, they got together in a smoky room somewhere and had some meetings, and thought very hard.

The upshot was not a change to the NSW licencing requirements (or other states and territories), but yet another government program, this time at a federal level.

After the 2007 election, the Rudd Government committed $17 million across 5 years to a program called Keys2Drive, which subsidises driving lessons for learners.

After the recent 2013 election, the Abbott Government committed a further $10 million across 3 years.

Oh! the magic of government programs.

WasteWatch can hardly wait for the next instalment in the drama.

William Shrubb, Research Assistant

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