Learning to drive is a big milestone in anyone’s life, and it’s a very regulated process. That process also varies from state to state and territory around Australia.
As a general rule, a person can apply for and receive a learner’s test once they turn 16, and they will be obliged to hold that learner’s licence for at least 12 months before being able to go for a driver’s test that gives them more freedoms.
The driver knowledge test - sometimes known as the RTA test - is common to all parts of Australia, and comprises a set of questions, an eye exam and a medical declaration. Some states like Western Australia require a new driver to sit for a Hazard Perception Test as well.
Most state government bodies offer an online learner’s practice test service that enables people to practice the various driving test questions before actually attending a motor registry office.
Here’s a brief rundown of the requirements around Australia.
A learner must be 16 years and over, and will need to pass the 45-question Driver Knowledge Test to earn a learner’s licence.
They must hold the learner licence at least 12 months for drivers under the age of 25, and complete 120 hours minimum driving practice (a log book records the driving experience).
Various rules apply, including a speed limit of 90km/h no matter what the signposted limit is.
To progress to a Provisional Licence – stage 1 ( ‘red’ Ps), they must pass an assessment test. They then hold the P1 licence for a minimum of 12 months, then pass the Hazard Perception Test to progress to Provisional Licence – stage 2 (‘green’ Ps).
A P2 licence must be held for a minimum of two years, before a pass on the Driver Qualification Test allows them to graduate to a full licence.
The NSW government is also offering learners a free lesson via its keys2drive program.
$44 test fee
$24 one year licence
Australian Capital Territory
A learner can obtain a licence from 15 years and nine months in the ACT, but must pass a $175 Road Ready Course before applying.
There is no hour requirement for driving, but a driver must develop 22 competencies that can only be signed off by accredited instructors. The ACT government says that it would take “seven or eight” lessons to achieve this.
Learners can travel at posted limits, but must observe NSW’s 90km/h limit if travelling over the border.
Ps last for three years, and if drivers complete an additional Road Ready Plus course, an additional four demerit points are added to their licence.
A learner’s licence pack is $55.90, while a three-year P licence is $110.60.
After a learner passes the $40.90 test and pays $23.10 for a one-year licence, they must drive for 120 hours with a licenced driver to get red Ps before graduating to green Ps after another year.
Learners are permitted to travel at signposted speeds.
You can use your interstate licence for three months in Victoria before you need to change it over.
A driver assessment test comprises of 30 questions, which costs $23.10, and record 100 hours of driving with 10 hours of night driving to graduate.
The learner’s licence is the most expensive in Australia at $160 for three-year licence (the only option).
It’s then $54 for practical test, which moves you on a provisional licensing schedule of red Ps and green Ps that mimics NSW and Victoria.
Queenslander learners can also travel at posted speed limits.
It costs $34 for the learner test, and $59 for a two-year licence.
An L plater 100km/h limit applies.
South Australia enforces just a single level of Ps, but they must be held for three years. A provisional licence costs $143.
It costs $18.50 to sit for the 30-question test, plus $20.50 for a hazard perception test and $18.50 for the compulsory learner guide and log book.
A one-off $75.90 establishment fee is required, on top of a $41.80 for a one-year licence.
The cost to apply for Ps via a driving assessment test is $75.90.
The maximum speed for a learner is 100km/h.
WA drivers are on Ps until they turn 19, with more restrictive red Ps for the first six months.
They are also considered a ‘novice driver’ under a two-tier system for up to three years, which reduces the amount of demerit points that can be accumulated before a licence is cancelled.
You’re also known as a novice in the Apple Isle, with 30 hours of driving needed to go from Learner 1 to Learner 2.
Your L1 can be obtained at 16 and must be held for three months, your speed restricted to 80km/h and 30 hours of driving needed before trying for your L2, which needs another 50 hours of supervised driving in nine months.
Novice drivers are restricted to 90km/h on roads with a posted speed limit of up to 100km/h, and will be able to travel at 100km/h on roads with a limit of 110km/h.
It costs $31.76 for licence, $39.78 for L1 assessment, $65.33 for L2 assessment and test, then $85.05 for P1 assessment.
Your red Ps last for 12 months then your P2s go for another 12 months.
A driver is on Ls for a year, then must hold Ps for two years if they are under 25, or one year if they are over 25.
The theory test is $20, a two-year licence is $23, while Ps for U25s are $47 and over 25s is $31.
What are your thoughts on the current licence structure in Australia? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
*All prices, rules and and speed limit information correct as of August 2016.