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'They're being ripped off and they don't even know it'

TOTAL RORT: Andrew Gale said the system targets young people who don't have much money.
TOTAL RORT: Andrew Gale said the system targets young people who don't have much money. Kerri Burns-Taylor

YOUNG and vulnerable learner drivers are being ripped off, and many of them don't even know about it said local driving instructor Andrew Gale.

"A lot of people don't notice because they're so happy they passed their driving test," Mr Gale said.

"It's morally wrong."

Learner drivers are forced to fork out $166.10 for a learner licence that is valid for a minimum of three years - which is no small sum when you're 17 years old.

But regardless of how long they have held their learner licence for, drivers have to cough up another lot of cash when they switch over to their provisional licence.

The rule applies exclusively to learner drivers.

For those transferring from a provisional licence to an open licence, the licence carries over until it expires and there are no additional costs.

It's a rort that seems to be targeting the most vulnerable - those with little money and no power to vote.

"It's an absolute gouge, a complete rip off," said Mr Gale.

He said it's something he has seen a lot among his driving students.

"I had one student whose learner licence expired but she had to renew it before her test.

"She only held it for one day and then she had to buy a whole new licence.

"It should just carry over, it's as simple as that."

Mr Gale said learner drivers were usually so happy and relieved to pass their test, they didn't think twice about the cost.

"But quite often they are young people who don't have large incomes," he said.

On top of paying for a new licence, learners also have to pay $23.90 to take the leaner knowledge test, $55.95 to take the practical driving test and $19.75 to take the hazard perception test.

Topics:  department of transport learner driver learner licence licence fees rip off


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