Announcing the privatisation of the licensing and registration function of VicRoads today, Victorian Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas also said free online testing and licensing would now be available for learners and P-platers.
This will save aspiring drivers and motorbike riders up to $51.40 in learner-licensing and online-testing fees.
Probationary drivers could save as much as $133.30 on licence and online hazard-perception-testing fees.
The state government will also bring back the 25 per cent discount on licence renewal for safe drivers who have not incurred a demerit point or road safety offence in the past three years.
Under the arrangement inked today, VicRoads will be partly privatised for four decades in a bid to generate $7.9 billion for the state.
A consortium of Aware Super, Australian Retirement Trust and Macquarie Asset Management will run licensing and registration for the next 40 years, while the state government maintains ownership of the service.
The move is the result of a 15-month modernisation program that started last year. Funds raised will go into the Victorian Future Fund to manage pandemic debt.
Pallas said the state government would continue to manage data, privacy provisions and essential fee prices, and would regain control of all operations when the partnership ended.
"This is not a privatisation in anybody's language," Pallas told reporters on Friday.
"We're always looking to see how we can drive better services, better performance, but we will never divest the ownership of assets," he said.
The Victorian Greens argued the decision would ultimately lead to higher fees and worse customer service.
“The sell-off of VicRoads’ licensing and registration function has put the interests of private profit over the public good,” Victorian Greens transport spokesperson Sam Hibbin said.
“The lease, which will not expire until the 2060s, will mean higher fees, lower-quality customer service, and less jobs, lower wages, and conditions for workers for decades to come.
“It will put control over another public asset in private hands.
“The government’s so-called ‘future fund’ is a neoliberal economic policy using the sale of public assets and public land to service debt.”