4X4/Off-Road Licence: Your Reply

Australia Says NO to a 4X4 Licence

The voices of the people have spoken out! The conversation has been strong and divisive… A licence is not the answer.

Clearly, there is vehement opposition (easily over 90%) to a 4X4 or Off-Road licence classification or endorsement of any description. This is hardly surprising to anyone, as the freedom of remote travel and 4WDing is a large part of the lure.

The last thing any of us want to see is more locked gates
The last thing any of us want to see is less freedom to explore Australia

There have been very few comments regarding supporting an existing national body or even supporting the existing state bodies to keep tracks and areas open and reopen closed areas. An interesting dynamic, we want our freedom and will howl at any idea that might encroach upon it. Yet we don’t care to fight for it beyond facebook and blog comments?

Stop, it’s a money grab!

All the “It’s just another tax” crowd can exhale now, there was never any government, industry or otherwise pressure behind the conversation, just a recurring theme spouted forth by a few of the louder voices in the 4X4 media…

While we are on the topic of money, how many of you have already been to a private 4X4 park? How about some of the National Park tracks that require a nominal (or sometimes exorbitant) fee for access? Do you purchase a National Parks pass?

Private 4X4 parks are relatively uncommon but becoming more popular. In the UK there is very little of what Aussies would recognise as off-road except for ‘pay&play’ sites in old quarries.

Interestingly, the second loudest call is in support of a towing licence classification or endorsement. Fun fact, you can get your Heavy Rigid truck licence without ever having towed a trailer, never mind reversed one. That’s right, licensed to tow a 9 tonne trailer behind a 30 tonne truck without having hitched a trailer on ever before. Our sister publication RV Daily is playing its role in towing education: RV Daily Practical Guide to Modern Towing Series


What is the best way forward to educate novice 4X4 drivers? Mates are of variable quality, and birds of a feather flock together…

Training is and has been available for many years. Clubs have their place with some people but others have no desire to join a club-a few have had bad experiences too. Watching videos from some media outlets is a bad introduction lacking mechanical and environmental sympathy.
Ideas people, spread yours here…


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  • Not ever going to hand over my hard-earned for a 4by license.
    40+ years of accident free driving has to be worth something!
    Next will be compulsory hi-viz, steel caps, hard hats, ear plugs, safety goggles, gloves, JSAs and SWMS and exhorbitant compulsory insurance premiums before getting off the black top.
    I’d rather go to gaol.
    Common sense isn’t as common as it used to be.

  • Perhaps a possible answer is the way sport shooters have approached their problems. That is by way of Nationally organised clubs. I realize there is a lot of 4X4 clubs about but a national organisation would be able to create so much more pressure on politicians and bureaucrats. This would not be achieved overnight and would take someone with considerable media and promotional expertise as well as a knowledge of off road vehicle usage to spearhead such a project.
    Just a thought

  • I don’t believe that a dedicated 4WD licence is necessary. I do however, support all those 4WD clubs that offer training to support an off road adventure and offer training to suit.

  • I think it’s a great idea it will stop people buying 4x4s just to say that they own a 4×4. I think that a off road driving course should be a part of the test, and should apply to hi-ride vehicles as well. Hopefully it will stop all the idiots who don’t know what their doing and expecting everyone else to get them out of trouble using your recovery gear because they don’t have any. The first question I always ask is “have you let your tyres down “ 99% of the time the answer is why would I do that. At which point I say see ya later and drive off leaving them still stuck. I know it’s not the right thing to do but I’m over this type of stupidity and having my recovery gear destroyed as well as the extra fuel used as most are not just a easy snatch out but hours of hard work and half a tank of lpg (I run straight lpg in a series 2A Land Rover with a Holden 253 V8) I had been off roading for more than 25 years and have done a driver course about 10 years ago and going to do another one soon, never can know to much. Well that’s my bitch session. Love the magazine keep up the good work
    Thanks Shane a

  • Just another money grab so who thought of it can change the world an say look what i done stuffed it up them 4×4 drivers ps crawl in your hole clowns

  • I just cannot understand the rationale for a 4wd licence. It seems like the daft idea of spotty-faced 22 year olds who have just left uni and got a policy job with State government bureaucracy, who have no life experience, have never worked on a farm or the heartland of Australia where the roads are dirt that turn to mud after rain, where you must drive a 4WD for both practicality and safety, where roos or camels are a constant hazard. Simply nuts!

  • I just cannot understand the rationale for a 4wd licence. It seems like the daft idea of spotty-faced 22 year olds who have just left uni and got a policy job with State government bureaucracy, who have no life experience, have never worked on a farm or the heartland of Australia where the roads are dirt that turn to mud after rain, where you must drive a 4WD for both practicality and safety, where roos or camels are a constant hazard. Simply nuts!

  • When we first bought “The PAJ back in 2011 we had no clue on how to use our vehicle off road or what a snatch strap was for that matter. So we did some research and found out the weekend courses were in the vicinity of $600 or join a club and meet lots of like minded people. It was a no brainer, joined the club and never looked back. The trick is shop around and find a decent club that’s going to be suitable for you.

  • For workwe did an off road course, it was accredited, and was invaluable. If you don’t regularly go off road, and aren’t in a club, this should be compulsory. Or a smart person would happily do one. Would save a lot of headaches for rescuers later! B ut i’m an average user, not thinking I am “hard core”

  • How about talking to the 4×4 manufacturers about there adverts ford ranger. Holden colarado going flat out getting air, water crossings flat out, i thought 4×4 ing was slow steady and safe. Not smashing your new car around or even an old one at that.

  • Re the payment for National Parks.
    This is completely wrong in my view and the Simpson is the classic example. We pay enough in state and federal taxes for our vehicles not to mention the duty on fuel. The state /federal taxes and duties pay for road maintenance on roads that most tax payers will never drive on. I don’t necessarily have an issue with this, so why should we pay to enter a national park in our Country? The fact that not all national / state parks apply a fee would seem to be evidence that this is not needed, they are still maintained and facilities provided (in many). Paying to go into private property is a totally different issue and completely justified as this can be seen as a business for the owner of the land.

  • I agree with Richard, I’m a heavy rigid truck driver and tradesman, and I’ve never heard of a law that said I could tow a 9 tonne trailer behind a truck with a HR license, if it was a HC license then I would understand. Please get your fact’s straight before publishing on line. As for the 4WD license, they can shove it where the sun doesn’t shine…

    • Yes, if you have a tipper and a tandem trailer on the back for the mini excavator, you only need a HR licence providing it stays under 9T. Need a HC if the trailer has a front bogey axle though. 9T on a 30T truck is a little different to 3.5T on 2.5T ute though, especially when everyone is so focused on requiring 600+ Nm to drive like they are in a hot hatch a racing people off at the lights, when 15 years ago 450Nm was acceptable.

  • Thank you Mark for raising this discussion it is not surprising that 90% of people do not feel they need another license to identify them as competent drivers. And yes education is the key because having a license simply means you have the basics to drive that class of vehicle the rest of it comes from experience and not making bad choices or taking unnecessary risks. People who drive sports cars do not need a separate license, they can pay for the privilege to drive their sports car on private race tracks when they feel the need to drive over 200km/hr, not all people that own sports cars feel the need to drive over 200km/hr. In saying that 4×4 drivers do not need to drive their vehicle like a sports car, they do not need a separate license to be able to drive their 4×4 over 200km/hr. If you’re asking about how do we educate new license holders how to competently drive (any vehicle) you simply can’t. Because if you want to cover every possible behaviour scenario then you will need a separate licence for alcohol, mobile phones, eating/drinking, operating the radio, sat nav and so on and so on. Simply doing a training course pass the test and your good to go nothing bad will ever happen because you have a piece of paper that says so does not necessarily work. No one has common sense anymore new vehicles come equipped with ABS, DBS, ECA, ECS, Autonomous Breaking, Lane Departure just about every possible scenario, there are apps that tell you when to breathe, when to move it is a mindset that has encroached in our everyday lives. No one needs to think for themselves, we don’t need to think about our actions because there is something that will protect you from making bad decisions more rules, regulations, enforcement everything has a politically correct agenda solution, the do gooders always think they can control every single person every possible scenario. We have failed, we have lost the ability especially the young/new drivers to USE YOUR BRAINS to think about your own actions, consequences that doing donuts is not appropriate when in national parks or on the Pacific Hway or any other public place is absolutely a bad decision. If they feel the need to do this behaviour they can pay for the privilege and go to private 4×4 parks or any other private place and do all the donuts to little hearts content. But seriously if you really want to educate, then sit down with that driver in the video and maybe explain to them what they did wrong, why and what their better judgment should/could have been. You are right in saying that peer pressure and stigma goes a long way in helping inexperienced or in this case behaving badly or making bad choices. Maybe explain what it means to be a responsible driver for themselves, their passengers and everyone else around them something that is not being taught when their learning how to drive and hopefully help them to make good/better choices, actions and behaviour. It all starts by being responsible and accountable for yourself your own choices, actions, behaviour and understanding the consequences.

    • How did all of us educated and full of common sense learn all this so called correct and appropriate behavior. By getting caught or stuffing up, and getting our buts kicked for the privilege.
      I fully support education, but life is educational.

      You make the right decision through experience. You get experience by making the wrong decisions.

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