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In Australia, to progress from a Learner's license to a provisional driving license, you need to drive for 120 hours supervised by a person who has a full license. However, I know that it is illegal in Queensland to pay someone who isn't an instructor for those hours. Is this the same in New South Wales?

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  • There may be a issue about uncredited driving teachers on public roads but I cannot see how paying some poorly trained teacher on a dirt road could be illegal
    – Neil Meyer
    Nov 13, 2021 at 18:21
  • The road construction material and the ownership and access rights of the road are two entirely different things. You may also be surprised to find it's illegal to do some things regardless of how private they are.
    – user4657
    Nov 14, 2021 at 4:53

2 Answers 2

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Yes, it’s illegal

The relevant law is the Driving Instructors Act 1992:

6   Unlicensed driving instruction

A person must not act as a driving instructor unless the person is the holder of a licence.

Maximum penalty—50 penalty units.

s7 makes it illegal for the person engaging the unlicensed instructor - with the same fine.

A person who is not paid or otherwise rewarded for the instruction is, by definition, not a driving instructor.

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  • It would seem that if the supervisor doesn't put up a pretence of giving instruction, but only supervises, that that would exclude them from having acted as a driving instructor even when they are paid, right? I mean, if they don't either assess the driver, nor instruct them, but only supervise their driving, there shouldn't be a reason that's illegal, no? See here Nov 14, 2021 at 3:42
  • I edited the title to better reflect that. Well I mean to ask about the legality of paying for supervision, and not of the legality of paying an unaccredited driving instructor. It seems to me that the 'Driving Instructors Act 1992' prohibits acting as a driving instructor without holding a licence, rather than acting as a supervisor. Nov 14, 2021 at 3:59
  • "Supervision by a person who has a full license" doesn't mean "driving instructor".
    – gnasher729
    Nov 15, 2021 at 11:33
  • What is a "penalty unit"?
    – Someone
    Nov 11, 2022 at 18:58
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Only if the person isn't acting as a driving instructor.

Full disclosure: I have no idea what I'm talking about.

As Dale M points out, Driving Instructors Act 1992 makes it illegal for anyone to "act as a driving instructor" if they do not hold a license under the act:

6 Unlicensed driving instruction

A person must not act as a driving instructor unless the person is the holder of a licence.

Maximum penalty—50 penalty units.

However, 4-3 adds a carve-out for the regulator to decide whether an individual is instead deemed to be a "supervisor":

4 Meaning of “driving instructor” (1) For the purposes of this Act, a driving instructor is a person—

(a) who—

(i)  instructs another person for the purpose of teaching that other person to drive a motor vehicle, or

(ii)  tests or assesses another person for the purpose of enabling that other person to obtain a driver licence or have it varied, and

(b) receives a monetary or other reward for so teaching, testing or assessing (whether from the person being instructed, tested or assessed or otherwise).

(1A) Subject to the regulations, any other reference in this Act (including subsections (2) and (3)) to a driving instructor or other person giving driving instructions to another person includes a reference to testing or assessing another person for the purpose of enabling that other person to obtain a driver licence or have it varied.

(2) It does not matter whether the driving instructor gives instructions on the instructor’s own account or in conjunction with any other person or as the agent or employee of any other person.

(3) However, the regulations may provide that certain persons or classes of persons are not driving instructors for the purposes of this Act.

I'm not sure what "the regulation" refers to, but the NSW Government provides its own definition of a "driving supervisor":

Licensed driving instructors are qualified instructors who can teach others how to drive.

In NSW, a licensed driving instructor is anyone who receives money, or any other reward, when teaching you to drive or assessing your driving ability.

A licensed driving instructor is different to a driving supervisor.

A driving supervisor is anyone who holds a current full Australian driver licence,such as a family member or friend.

So I guess it would come down to whether the courts would consider the act of paying someone to change them from being a supervisor to instructor. I'd be comfortable paying a friend or family member for their time to teach me on the basis that the regulation clearly defines them as a supervisor. If the individual was not someone known to me (e.g. a friend of a friend) then it's less clear.

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