Driver's licence lunacy: two-week delay at registry's one-stop shop

RESIDENTS could be left without photo identification for up to two weeks while they wait for new driver’s licences to arrive in the mail from Parkes, now the state government’s policy of “centralised printing” of photo ID cards has reached Orange.

Helen Mulholland discovered the change when she renewed her five-year driver’s licence at Service NSW last Friday and was given a paper receipt as a temporary licence which states it “must not be used as a proof of identity document”.

When she later needed to prove her identity, to finalise paperwork at the post office, she was told her old licence could not be used as it had been hole-punched.

“I got the biggest shock of my life,” she said.

“I’ve been disadvantaged by it, but someone out there will be worse if they don’t know.

“I have a birth certificate, but no passport so it makes it very hard.”

The change affects all state government photo ID cards including mobility parking scheme cards, NSW Photo Cards, firearms, and security licences.

Mrs Mulholland’s receipt states it could be up to two weeks until she receives her licence in the mail, but expires after one month.

“They [Service NSW staff] said if you get pulled up [by police] show them this [receipt] to say you’ve been in and your getting your licence sent out,” she said.

Up until the licensing dilemma Mrs Mulholland said she had been pleased with Service NSW, but is now angry Bathurst residents can still have their licences printed on the same day at the city’s motor registry.

“I would have thought that’d you’d go forward not backwards,” she said.

“I got the biggest shock of my life ... I’ve been disadvantaged by it, but someone out there will be worse if they don’t know"

She took her complaint to member for Orange Andrew Gee and is concerned others will be unaware of the change until they are forced to wait for weeks without photo ID, affecting daily life and barring them from hotels and clubs with ID scanners.

Mr Gee was unavailable for interview.

In a statement he said he did not support the change and had raised the issue with Roads Minister Duncan Gay, but “sadly” it could not be reversed.

“It is more convenient and preferable to have a driver’s licence processed on the spot,” Mr Gee said.

“I’m certainly happy to wait while my licence is processed, so I can appreciate Mrs Mulholland’s frustration.”

While Mr Gay was very sympathetic, according to Mr Gee, he said all licences around NSW will be processed centrally within 18 months.

“So everyone is going to be in the same boat,” Mr Gee said.

“[Mr Gay] also said that security concerns and data protection are also reasons licences are now centrally processed.”

The change was being phased in as ageing computer systems were replaced and more Service NSW centres replaced motor registries, according to Mr Gee.

An RMS spokesman defended the change, saying the more efficient centralised printing had been available in NSW since the 1980s and was current practice for most Australian states.

“It helps reduce wait times for all customers, shortening the time required to apply for a licence,” he said.

“There is a five-working-day time frame for customers to receive their licences.”

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