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Everything you need to know to pass your driving test (update)

Learning to drive is a big milestone in anyone’s life, and it’s a very regulated process.

Learning to drive is a huge milestone in anyone’s life, and, wisely, 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 (DKT) - 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.

Most state government bodies offer an online learner’s practice test service and driving test tips that enable people to practice the various  test questions before actually attending a motor registry office.

If you’re wondering “How much does it cost to get your learners?” or “How much is a driving test?”, it depends on the state or territory in question. 

Here’s a brief rundown of the requirements around Australia.

NSW

A learner must be 16 years and over, and will need to pass the 45-question DKT 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 logbook records the driving experience) and pass a driving test and Hazard Perception Test (HPT) to progress to a a Provisional Licence – stage 1 (red Ps).

Various rules apply, including a speed limit of 90km/h no matter what the signposted limit is.

They then hold the P1 licence for a minimum of 12 months before progressing to Provisional Licence – stage 2 (green Ps).

A P2 licence must be held for a minimum of two years before being able to graduate to a full licence.

The NSW government is also offering learners a free lesson via its keys2drive program.

Fees

Driver Knowledge Test - $47 each attempt

Driving Test - $59 each attempt

Hazard Perception Test - $47 each attempt

Learner licence - $26

Provisional P1 licence - $60

Provisional P2 licence - $94

Unrestricted licence (gold) - starting at $60 for one year

Australian Capital Territory

A learner can obtain a licence from 15 years and nine months in the ACT for $48.90, but must have successfully completed a Pre-learner Licence course, including passing the ACT Road Rules based computerised knowledge test.

Drivers must undertake a minimum of 100 supervised driving hours (50 if you’re over 25). 

Learners can travel at posted limits, but must observe NSW’s 90km/h learner's limit if travelling over the border.

To progress to a provisional licence ($123.40), drivers must hold their learner's permit for at least 12 months, have completed an online HPT, completed the required driving hours and successfully completed the one-off practical driving  assessment  with a Government Assessor or the Competency Based Training and  Assessment through an Accredited Driving Instructor.

The provisional licence is broken up into P1 (12 months of red P plates) and P2 (two years on green P plates). Those over 25 can progress straight to P2. 

Victoria

After a learner passes the $43.60 learner permit knowledge test and pays $25.20 for a one-year licence, they must drive for 120 hours with a licenced driver then pass a HPT and driving test to get red Ps for 12 months before graduating to green Ps for a further three years.

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.

Queensland

You’ll need to pass a driver assessment test comprising of 30 questions, which costs $25.75, and record 100 hours of driving with 10 hours of night driving to graduate.

Passing a practical driving test ($60.25) moves you to a provisional licence (starting at $82.15). This includes red Ps for 12 months, then green Ps for another 12 months after you pass a HPT.

Queenslander learners can also travel at posted speed limits.

South Australia

It costs $38 for the learner test, and $67 for a two-year learner’s permit licence.

An L plater 100km/h limit applies, no matter the posted limit.

South Australia enforces P1 for 12 months and P2 for two years. A provisional licence costs $161.

Western Australia

It costs $19.90 to sit for the 30-question test, plus $24.50 for a hazard perception test and $9.45 for the log book (logging 50 hours is compulsory).

A one-off $109 new driver licence application fee (including one practical driving assessment) is required.

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.

Tasmania

In the Apple Isle you’ll need to successfully complete a DKT regarding Tasmanian road rules and log 80 logbook hours, with your speed restricted to 90km/h. 

After 12 months you can sit the P1 (red Ps) driving assessment and HPT, with the speed limit lifting to 100km/h. 

Twelve months on P1 leads to P2 (green Ps). Depending on your age, you’ll hold a P2 licence for either one or two years.

It costs $33.63 for licence and a Ps test cost of $90.05.

Northern Territory

A driver is on Ls for six years, 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, DriveSafe NT driver education enrolment $110, a two-year licence is $24, while Ps for U25s are $49 and over 25s is $32.

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 May 2021.

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