26 Feb

State Wide Review of Restricted (Work) Licences

drink drivingRestricted licences, are commonly referred to as work licences.  They permit a convicted drink driver to drive for work purposes.  The licence holder is subjected to a series of conditions regulating the type of vehicle they might drive, the hours they can drive and whether they might carry passengers.

The current drink driving discussion paper is looking at either abolishing work licences or tightening the criteria.

Current restricted (work) licence eligibility.

Under the current provisions a drink driver is eligible for a restricted (work) licence if they can demonstrate:

  1. They are a first time drink driver (nothing in the last 5 years);
  2. Commit an offence with a BAC of less than 0.015%;
  3. Not have committed the offence in the course of their employment;
  4. Hold an open Queensland Driver Licence;
  5. Not have had a driver licence suspension, cancellation or disqualification in the past 5 years.

An applicant would also need to demonstrate that they require the licence for the work.  The Court needs to be satisfied that if the person was not granted a restricted licence they would lose their employment.

In 2015, there were 2,377 restricted licences granted, which accounts for a little over 10% of drink driving offences.

Other Jurisdictions

Queensland is one of four jurisdictions that has a power to grant work licences.  Work licences are not available in:

  1. Victoria
  2. New South Wales;
  3. South Australia; or
  4. the Northern Territory.


Work licences are available for an offender with a BAC of  less than 0.010%. Unlike Queensland the Court may grant an ACT motorist a restricted licence where they have responsibilities to assist someone with a medical necessity.  Queenslanders have no such eligibility.

Western Australia

Extraordinary licences are available for all offences, regardless of the BAC.  An extraordinary licence is also available where the applicant has responsibilities to assist or care for someone with medical necessities.


Work licence eligibility is similar to Queensland with 0.15% the cut off.  Tasmania is slightly more stringent, an offender can not have committed an offence within the last 3 years compared to 5 years for Qld drivers.

Abolishing Restricted (Work) Licences

The first of the proposals is to abolish allotter the right to apply for a restricted work licence.  With first time disqualification periods of between 1 and 12 months, the impact upon first time offenders will be significant.  In 2015 the Courts granted a total of 2,377 restricted (work) licences.  The court was satisfied in each of those matters that without the application being granted they would loose their employment.  This represents a significant loss of employment if the discretion was taken away.

Those in favour of the abolition, point to the unfortunate statistic that 15 – 20% of restricted (work) licence holders re-offend within five years.

Exclude Mid Range Offenders

The second proposal is that mid range offenders be excluded from applying for a restricted (work) licence.  This would mean that any driver over 0.010% would not be eligible for the licence.

Any change to the current regime will impact upon the employment of many Queenslanders. Those in Regional  Queensland are not well serviced by public transport and will be further marginalised if they are unable to work.  The loss of licence has a broad impact upon a full participation in society, with the  impact often felt by the offenders family.

Clearly the rights of the offender and their family have to be balanced against the appalling road toll.


The Queensland Government is seeking feedback from interested Queenslanders.  The survey can be accessed here.  The survey closes at midnight on 7 March 2017.


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