The Victorian Government’s openness to opportunities within the private sector, regarding the Registration and Licensing (R&L) delivery arm of VicRoads, has not gone unnoticed by peak industry body, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC).
“VACC supports any change beneficial to consumers and industry. However, we would expect absolute guarantees in regard to improved service delivery and fee capping,” said VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym.
As the peak body representing the automotive retail industry in Victoria, VACC has a vested interest in ensuring the efficiencies and service delivery of the VicRoads R&L system. Chamber-led bi-monthly meetings with VicRoads Registration and Licensing Services have proven productive, resulting in many benefits for industry and consumers – most notably the implementation of flexible registration. Additionally, VACC meets periodically with C-Suite personnel from VicRoads.
Over the years, the lack of ongoing investment by state governments to completely overhaul the current R&L system has had a negative impact on industry. The much-hyped RandL project was abandoned in 2011, 2012 and 2015, and ultimately VicRoads has relied upon a legacy system for vehicle registration and driver licence purposes.
The current system is unreliable, with outages suffered almost weekly and constant system shutdowns for maintenance and software upgrades. In 2017 there was a period of fourteen days during which the system was completely inaccessible. No new or used car was able to be registered during this time, resulting in major disruption and financial inconvenience for industry and consumers. Taking this into consideration, VACC recognises that private investment may result in improvements.
However, the Chamber insists that government must safeguard against interference from the private operator in relation to future R&L policy direction and outcomes – and learn from past, failed contracts, albeit in other areas. As a key stakeholder, VACC will maintain direct consultation with government before any legislative, regulatory or policy position is considered.
“Policy makers need to approach industry recommendations pragmatically, as well as assist in the reduction of red-tape. It’s in everybody’s best interest,” said Gwilym.
Proper consideration must be taken before any new engagement is considered, and this includes recognising the knowledge and value of personnel within the current VicRoads arrangement.
“No doubt there are areas and opportunities for financial and service improvement with regards to VicRoads R&L. However, changes cannot be made at the expense of service delivery and industry,” declared Gwilym.
VACC has a positive relationship with the Victorian Government and has written to convey this industry position.