UPDATE, Tuesday, 8.15am: The state opposition is calling on the State Government to open up driver licence testing across Victoria and extend hours to clear the growing backlog.
Opposition spokeswoman for Rural Roads Roma Britnell said thousands of Victorians, particularly young people applying for their licence, had been delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and the backlog of applications continued to grow by the day.
She said the opposition would push VicRoads to open testing immediately, with the appropriate safety precautions, extend its weekday hours and introduce weekend testing to clear the waitlist.
The MP said Premier Daniel Andrews had not detailed a plan to handle the backlog of cancelled tests and new bookings once testing is reopened.
"Getting your Ps is a rite of passage for young people, but in rural and regional areas, having a driver's licence is essential. Access to public transport is often non-existent, and people are living kilometres from towns and services," she said
"Having driving tests cancelled is a kick in the guts, especially for young people. But having some idea about what will happen when restrictions are lifted will provide some comfort."
Opposition spokesman for metro roads Brad Battin said the premier had made sure the state's cafes, pubs and clubs were the last in Australia to open.
"He's made sure our kids have been last to go back to schools and he has no plan for the thousands of Victorians delayed in getting their driver licence," he said.
"A licence gives a young person independence, it means they can access part-time work, education and, when things return to normal, to have social time with their friends."
Earlier: Learner drivers have been left in limbo after COVID-19 put the brakes on testing in Warrnambool and there has been no word yet on when the services will be given a jump start.
The state opposition's spokeswoman for rural roads, South West Coast MP Roma Britnell, said that for young rural drivers, getting a licence was essential and cancelling tests was a "kick in the guts".
She wants the state government to outline plans for the resumption of testing while also calling for resources to be ramped up to clear the backlog.
Ms Britnell said several young people who had pre-booked appointments had contacted her, frustrated they still haven't heard anything from VicRoads after license testing was cancelled on March 25.
"Having driving tests cancelled is a kick in the guts, especially for young people. But having some idea about what will happen when restrictions are lifted will provide some comfort," Ms Britnell said.
"Getting your Ps is a rite of passage for young people, but in rural and regional areas, having a driver's licence is essential.
"Access to public transport is often non-existent, and people are living kilometres from towns and services."
Warrnambool teen Noah Best, who works in Port Fairy, recently bought his first car and had been booked in to get his licence on Monday but he - and his friends - are still waiting to hear when they will be able to sit their driving tests.
"We're trying to get to work and we have to rely on parents and grandparents to get us there and they still have jobs as well. They have to take time out of work to get us there," he said.
He said he was concerned that there could be a massive backlog which would further delay his driving tests, and he called for them to look into other options to be able to sit the online component to speed up the process.
A Department of Transport spokesperson it was working on a plan to resume services and said those who had appointments cancelled would be prioritised.
"As part of our return-to-service planning for licence testing, we are considering a range of options to address the backlog," the spokesperson said.
Ms Britnell said young people wanted to know if their pre-booked appointments had been put on a waiting list or if they would have to re-book.
"They want to know why they can't do the Hazard Perception Test remotely - it's an online test, every other organisation has made concessions and moved to an online model, but VicRoads doesn't seem willing to do the same.
"Completing the Hazard Perception test remotely would go some way to help ease the waiting times when restrictions are lifted.
"I completely understand why testing was cancelled, but it's now been over a month and there is no word about plans to get testing happening again."
Ms Britnell said she wanted assurances from the Andrews Labor Government VicRoads would be given increased resources to help get through the inevitable backlog when testing recommenced.
"I'm calling for an increase in staff and an increase in business hours to make sure the list is cleared as quick as possible while still ensuring high standards of testing," she said.
"A licence gives a young person independence, it means they can access part-time work, education and, when things return to normal, to have social time with their friends without having to rely on their busy parents."
The Department of Transport spokesperson said the decision to resume testing would be made in conjunction with the latest medical advice and communicated to customers.
"We understand this is frustrating - we ask for everyone's understanding as we seek to protect the health and safety of our staff and customers," the spokesperson said.
Prior to the suspension of testing on March 25, up to 3800 drive tests were being conducted each week across Victoria.
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