VicRoads has admitted in a letter to a customer that fees it introduced in 2016 for previously free services were intended to “strengthen its financial position”.
The fees bring in up to $4 million a year for the authority.
On Thursday a customer, Trevor, told radio 3AW he received the letter after complaining to VicRoads about the $18.50 fee for an appointment.
“VicRoads has introduced fees to previously uncharged services as part of its measure to strengthen its financial position through reducing debt and restraining Government spending,” his letter from VicRoads reads.
“The fee will also create a source of funds to allow VicRoads to invest in improving transaction services,” it says.
When contacted by The Age about the matter, VicRoads said the letter to the customer had been “poorly worded” and that it would contact him to apologise.
The licensing authority said it introduced the fees to cover the cost of providing the service, not to raise revenue.
It said the fees were intended to cover the cost of more than 20,000 missed appointments each year.
An appointment fee of $17.80 was first introduced in 2016. It was increased, indexed with CPI, to $18.20 in the 2017/2018 financial year and to $18.50 for 2018/19.
VicRoads customer service director Paul Santamaria said the fees were crucial in helping pay for a variety of services.
“Appointment fees help us cover the cost of a range of essential registration and licensing services we provide to over four million Victorians,” he said.
VicRoads has said that the introduction of the fees was publicised when the initial fees started in 2016.