By Shelby Brooks

TODAY Leongatha VicRoads passed the region’s newest drivers after almost three months of postponements of licence tests.

Learner permit and licence testing including driving tests were shut down on March 25, but the state government announced on Thursday that appointments would be progressively resumed from Monday, June 15.

New appointments won’t be made until the backlog of the 50,000 postponed driving tests are complete.

Leongatha Driving School student Macie McNaughton was ready to book in for her driving test in May when she turned 18.

But the Korumburra Secondary College student said she was told the waitlist to book a new appointment might take until March next year. She is trying not to be too disappointed by the long wait.

“It’s not just me, its everyone, so you’ve got to think of it that way,” she said.

However, Macie will look into applying for an exemption because she has to travel to TAFE and work placements for school.

During the shutdown, VicRoad’s approved more than 2700 licence tests for people who would have faced undue hardship from not having their learner’s permit or licence.

Greg Goss of Leongatha Driving School said he had several students who had been ready to take their test.

“(Before COVID-19 restrictions) I’d average about one test a day,” he said.

Greg is able to take driving lessons again after shutting down for seven weeks and is taking every measure to ensure his cars are safe and clean.

The same goes for taking the driving test with VicRoads.

The Chief Health Officer outlined measures including appropriate cleaning of vehicles used in tests, proper comprehensive hygiene for applicants, instructors and testing officers and the use of disposable seat covers, particularly if the customer is using their own vehicle to ensure tests can commence safely for everyone.

As part of the resumption, more than 200 new staff will be hired to help work through the postponed appointments as quickly as possible.

Six new, temporary licence testing sites will also be established to increase testing capacity.