Why are we making changes to the existing regulations?

These regulation changes are part of the regular sunsetting process.

Sunsetting is a mandatory legal process where regulations cease to exist after a specific date unless further legislative action is taken to extend that law. Most jurisdictions in Australia have sunsetting regimes for regulations. 

Sunsetting is an important mechanism to review and justify existing regulations to ensure there is still a requirement for them, that they address community and business needs. The process aims to reduce red tape and deliver clearer laws. 

What is the process for making changes?

The Department of Transport has worked with VicRoads to develop preliminary recommendations for changes to the existing regulations. This includes a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) which provides opportunities for stakeholder and community input. 

The community is invited to participate in the 32-day public consultation process by sending through their submissions. 

After submissions on the RIS have been reviewed and any changes made, a final version of the regulations is produced and provided to the Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC for approval. The regulations will include a commencement date to allow for the implementation of system changes and communication to the wider community. 

What is changing in the Driver Regulations?

The regulations are staying substantially the same as they align with licensing practices in Australia and internationally. There are also a number of national agreements that set standards which Victoria has agreed to follow. 

The main change will require all residents to obtain a Victorian driver licence within six months of being a resident. 

How will the changes benefit the community?

It will provide the community with a clear and simplified approach to the implementation of government regulations in Victoria. It will also address community needs and concerns.

Which other regulations are sunsetting in 2019?

The regulations which will be managed within this project are:

- Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2009 
- Road Safety (Vehicles) Regulations 2009 
- Road Safety (Traffic Management) Regulations 2009
- Road Safety (General) Regulations 2009
- Accident Towing Services Regulations 2008
- Melbourne City Link Regulations 2009

What are the key elements of each set of regulations?

These regulations incorporate both licensing and registration requirements for vehicles and drivers. 

The Traffic Management Regulations set out the responsibilities of road authorities and other bodies exercising road management functions in relation to the installation, operation and maintenance of traffic control devices, on road activities and requirements for a traffic management plan. 

The Drivers Regulations covers all the regulations around driver licences and learner permits, including the general authority to drive a motor vehicle including the procedures for granting and cancelling licences. 

The Vehicles Regulations cover licensing for all classes of vehicles (cars, trucks and motorcycles), vehicle standards and regulations around safety, repair and control of emissions. 

The Road Safety (General) Regulations covers regulation relating to speeding, traffic infringements, and alcohol and drug offences. 

The Accident Towing Services Regulations facilitate the safe, efficient and timely provision of accident towing services and impose requirements on tow truck licence holders.

Who is responsible for the process of Sunsetting regulations?

The primary responsibility for managing sunsetting rests with Department of Transport who is responsible for the regulations. 

When will the other regulations be released for public consultation?

The Drivers Regulations and the Traffic Management Regulations are the first to be published for public consultation. The other Regulations will have a staggered release after them.

What does this changed requirement to obtain a driver licence mean?

The current system requires interstate and New Zealand drivers to obtain a licence within 3 months, permanent resident visa holders have six months and those on temporary visa do not need to change over at all. 

This requirement is confusing and does not consider the changes that have occurred with a more mobile Australian and world population. 

The proposed requirement will mean that as soon as you set up residence in Victoria everyone will have to swap over your driver licence within 6 months. After 6 month you will no longer be able to drive on your interstate or international driver licence. 

Why six months and not three months or shorter?

Most people will swap their licences over as soon as they can as the driver licence is very useful in the community as a proof of identity document and helps with employment.

For some people it takes longer to settle here and they need to get other things sorted in their life, like obtaining a job, before they can start and afford the process of changing their licence over.       

For Australians who live and work between different states this change will reduce the need to change over to avoid being unlicensed in Victoria. 

If the period was shorter it could also impact anyone residing here for a temporary period like tourists. 

This change we enable a simple message to be given to new Victorians, ‘swap over your licence within 6 months or become unlicensed’. ‘If you need additional training on driving and the roads rules start it now’. 

Will any of the other requirements for changing over to a Victorian licence change?

No, the current requirements will remain the same. 

For interstate, New Zealand and recognised countries drivers can swap over their licence without test.

For non-recognised countries drivers will need to pass the knowledge test (road rules), hazard perception test and the drive test. If they fail the drive test their right to drive on their international licence will be removed. 

What countries are recognised as not requiring a test to convert and why?

Austria, Germany, Isle of Man, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Canada, Guernsey, Japan Singapore, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Jersey, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, Malta, Sweden, Finland, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, USA, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, (must be held for a minimum of 12 months), Lithuania, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, South Africa, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Romania, Taiwan, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and Serbia.

These countries licence testing, novice driver and proof of identity regimes have reviewed and have been found to meet or exceed those of Australia. Based on this they have been exempted from testing. 

Are we softening the regulations for international drivers?

No, we are toughening them. All residents will need to obtain a licence within 6 months. If they fail to do this and continue to drive they are driving unlicensed which is a serious offence. 

Employers will also need to make sure that drivers they employ with international licences have not been residing here for more than 6 months. If they do not check this, they could be committing a serious offence by allowing an unlicensed person to drive.

Are international tourists more likely to be involved in an accident or fatality on the roads?

The number of international tourists visiting Victoria increased from 1.5 million in 2006 to 2.9 million in 2017. In the last 10 years there has been a 100 per cent increase in international tourists to Victoria. 

Victorian crash data indicates 2.7 per cent of fatal and injury crashes in Victoria involve international drivers, and 3.2 per cent involve interstate drivers. The significant increase in international visitors to Victoria has not seen a corresponding increase in crashes involving international drivers.

A number of reviews on crashes involving international drivers have all concluded that they were more likely to be involved in fatigue related crashes, failure to keep left, incidents associated with disorientation and rollover crashes rather than lack of road rule knowledge.

International drivers were less likely to be involved in high-risk driving behaviours like drink-driving and speeding than Victorian drivers.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of all road users and providing better information and education for tourists driving in Victoria.

Will this be difficult to enforce?

Victoria Police have been consulted and support this change as it is simpler to determine residence and does not require visas to be checked. 

Residence can be proven in a number of ways, by the registration of a vehicle, talking to employers, connection to services etc. 

Will the public be able to read and comment on the proposed regulations?

The proposed regulations are currently published for consultation. The public has 32 days (7 June 2019 to 8 July 2019) to provide feedback which will be considered by the Department of Transport for inclusion in the new Regulations. You can provide feedback by sending us a submission on our website.

What is a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)?

A Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) is an analytical tool which guides policy development and decision-making, prepared by VicRoads for regulatory proposal. It describes the issue that has given rise to a need for regulation and compares various possible options for dealing with that issue. An assessment of the costs and benefits of each option is included followed by a recommendation supporting the most effective and efficient option. The RIS once approved is released for public consultation. This is the opportunity for the community to comment on the proposed changes and for the government to respond. 

When was the last review of the regulations undertaken?

The last review of the regulations was undertaken in 2009.

When will the current regulations end?

The current regulations were due to end in August 2019 however an extension to the 25 December was granted.