VicRoads charging for compulsory appointments

I have recently moved back to Victoria and discovered that VicRoads is now charging $19.80 for making an appointment. If, like me, you need to change your licence and vehicle registration, that is two appointments so nearly $40. In contrast, in Queensland no appointment is necessary, I turned up at the office and everything was done in under an hour.

It appears in principle unjust to charge taxpayers to attend government appointments that are required to comply with the law. When I asked VicRoads about this charge, they said it was due to no-shows, but this doesn’t appear to be a sufficient justification. After all, it’s not a service, it’s an obligation - and making it harder undermines the incentive for people to comply with the law. I know most people told me not to bother changing my licence registration, and now I rather wish I hadn’t. Further, Victoria already makes it harder than other states by requiring an appointment in the first place (and, for the first two months, I wasn’t even able to get an appointment within 60km of where I was). The online system also doesn’t allow you to book two consecutive appointments for licence/vehicle transfers, so I had to go into the customer service office to make the appointment.

6 Likes

I guess the argument against the Vic government for that would be: OK, pre-auth $20 on the credit card and if the person doesn’t show then commit the charge, otherwise cancel the charge. So you punish the “no shows” without punishing everyone else.

Licence and vehicle registration are also obligations in their own right - and the government charges for both. Right?

I suppose the theory is that it is “user pays”. If the cost of delivering those registration functions is paid for out of general revenue then people who don’t have a drivers licence and/or don’t have a vehicle are subsidising those who do.

1 Like

No doubt Vic Roads charges for changing licenses and registrations so that should cover the cost of having to have an appointment.

2 Likes

Do you mean like those folks without children that fund schools?

1 Like

$292.80 for 10 year renewal in Vic?
Seems like general revenue is already taking a fair share without the need to add a service fee of $20.

I recently renewed my license in Qld. I had to do it in person because my expiring license was in the old not so digital system. Take a number and join the queue. Fortunately there were still some seats spare in the waiting area. 45 minutes and finally just 5 minutes to swipe the CC fir payment, sign the paperwork and the digital pad plus an updated mug shot. Card will be in the mail. No added charge although 5 years only, at just over $198. Perhaps $20 is worth it for the faster service.

And that is the easiest way to ‘fill the government’s coffers’, if you ever get pulled over for anything:

and this link.

The $19.80 (revenue raising) to book an appointment would be inconsequential.

Vicroads also applies card surcharges. Nothing seems off limits for revenue protection and maintenance. OTOH lots of things can be done online, but when it cannot… ka-ching.

3 Likes

An interesting diversity of views! I feel the central point, though, isn’t the extent of the charge (although I don’t think $19.20 is a nominal charge, and certainly not for those on low incomes), it’s that governments shouldn’t operate on a ‘user pays’ principle, at least for delivering government functions that a) are required by government or under law b) without any (legal) option for people to choose an alternative or refuse to do. Government isn’t just a ‘service provider’ - in these cases, it is a monopoly provider that creates and enforces the rules. It’s also undermining those rules by making it difficult or frustrating for people to comply with them, failing to recognise that we are not just ‘customers’ but citizens.

To the point about licences and registrations being an obligation - yes, they are obligations but they are obligations that only attach to the privilege of driving or owning a car (and why the cost of appointments cannot be included within those charges is beyond me). Changing your licence between states and territories, on the other hand, doesn’t really provide me with a benefit (and, while I might get fined for continuing to use my interstate licence, since the drivers licence is the only official proof of address most of us have and I’ve only been pulled over once in my 20-year driving history, it’s not much of an incentive).

Finally, the ‘appointments’ problem really is one of VicRoads’ own making. As another poster has pointed out, in at least NSW and Queensland (where I have changed my licence too), you simply turn up at an office and wait in line. You don’t have a problem with no shows as a result. Further, the problem of ‘no shows’ is partly created because often there can be a long wait until there’s an appointment anywhere near you, because there aren’t that many VicRoads offices and your appointment can be months and many kilometres away (my first two attempts at online booking their website said I should book my appointments 66km away). If that was really the problem (as another poster noted), you could charge a no-show fee - but in fact, if you don’t show up, then you have to pay another booking fee.

No, it’s not the world’s biggest problem, but it does feel like that’s exactly why they get away with it.

6 Likes

Tassie the same. Just need to go to a Service Tasmania office and the helpful staff manage everything you need efficiently and promptly. As their motto says ‘Hello! How can we help you?’, and they do.

I have experience the Queensland system and it is archaic compared to what I have experienced here in Tassie. A Government service agency that actually wants to help you as much as they can, without the services provided been seen as a chore. It is the first time I have ever emailed feedback to a government agency on what a great job they are doing.

3 Likes

Vicroads is a monopoly, and can get away with almost anything. The ‘no show’ reason for booking fees is, in my opinion, a nonsense. If it were true, then whatever was paid in advance would count towards the full cost.

I recently got my marine license. Which involved sitting at a computer and answering a number of multiple choice questions. No staff involved apart from taking a photo if the test was sucessful and accepting my card for payment. Still had to pay a ‘booking’ fee, and then the cost of the license.

To paraphrase Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers guide, the people that run Vicroads will be the first lined up against the wall when the revolution comes.

1 Like

That seems it was in office not online. Perhaps they have been taken over by Ticketek?

All state and territory governments have a monopoly over things like car registrations and drivers licencing. But in NSW, you just go into a Services NSW office and they will update your records on the spot and put a new address label on the back of your licence if it is not due for renewal. Even to renew you licence, you don’t need to make an appointment. Just roll up and they will do the renewal. I think the only things that need an appointment are licence testing for the knowledge and the driving exam. But I don’t think they charge for those appointments.

2 Likes

That would certainly be an example but that sounds like a digression. :wink: I was just trying to explain the concept, not justify the Victorian government’s position on any given “service”.

So to be clear … you are saying that the subsidy is the other way (in this case)? That is, road users are subsidising residents who are not road users?

I don’t know what the situation is in Vic but in NSW with the integrated “Service NSW” model, it would be very difficult to separate out the general costs of running the office from the specific costs of processing any given transaction.

It is unclear whether the OP was converting a Qld licence into a Vic licence (which may be more complex than just renewing an existing licence). Or maybe the OP was just updating the address on a licence.

Quite possibly so. Last time I was there it was an interminable wait and they still didn’t manage to do what I wanted …

As I hoped it would be apparent I used the example as being the same concept to your comment :wink:

There are numerous cases where ‘non-participants/non-users’ effectively subsidise/support/pay for others who need/use a service so bringing that up seemed to be a deflection justifying Vicroads fee. Apologies if that was not your intent.

It seems odd that VicRoads is imposing a financial disincentive to people migrating to Victoria. The Vic government is furiously advertising in SA (and I assume in other states) to poach our nurses, aged-care workers, early childhood educators and school teachers.

2 Likes

It would be the exception to say one does not benefit whether directly or indirectly. Directly when travelling on public transport, riding a bicycle, or less directly when collecting the mail delivered to the letter box out front. Government revenue raising, budgeting and treasury is one big melting pot. Vic Roads apparently have their own online account to receive payments. Where to there after?

1 Like

I think Vic Roads are trying to get people to do more on-line. The stuff you can’t, shouldn’t have a charge against it. If I’m not mistaken, Vic Roads has given some of their services to a private company to handle. Might be wrong, but it would explain the charges.

1 Like

Welcome to the community @akovach

I’m not a Victorian, but I do have a Myki, and multi state toll tag that I’ve relied on when navigating around Melb. For those not familiar with how it is.

Find Victorian Government Services | Service Victoria

The devil may be in the detail. One of the family has had to navigate transferring an interstate license and rego. Somewhat frustrating in the time it took. Is the future any better, as you suggested.

While our states and territories move in different ways, often what happens in one is oft replicated in others. Although with nuanced differences in logos, colour schemes and choice of terminology. You say Myki, I say GoCard, or is that an Opal card in your hand? I’ve one of each. And now the SE Qld rail network has upgraded to tap and go with a CC or debit card.

The Cynic in me read somewhere that the digitalisation of the service delivery in Victoria was supposed to make it easier, more convenient, and delay free to get what one required done. The big bonus was that it would reduce costs saving the customer?

2 Likes

That is amazing😲