More than 20 per cent of accidents on the Great Ocean Road involve international drivers. When international drivers don’t have the skills or knowledge of road laws to drive on Australian roads, they pose a real danger to themselves and others. Just yesterday in Torquay there was another accident involving an international tourist driving a minibus. In Victoria, any foreigner on a temporary visa, including a work or student visa, can drive on their country-of-origin drivers licence for the duration of the visa, providing it’s in English or has an English translation. Even permanent residents don’t have to apply for an Australian drivers licence for six months.
The states, which have constitutional responsibility for driver licensing, are not doing enough to ensure that international drivers have the requisite skills and knowledge of our road laws. This is a massive issue in the Corangamite electorate—a significant tourism precinct—and much more action must be taken. I’ve been a very prominent champion of tourism and the Great Ocean Road for many years, but the Victorian government must take strong action. They must ensure vehicle hire companies are doing more and putting ‘keep left’ stickers on dashboards. I’d like to see the airlines get involved and an online test to ensure that international drivers on our roads have the right skills to make sure they’re safe and others are safe.