Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 October 2015) . . Page.. 3772 ..

Perhaps their alternative approach is to try the ineffective strategy of failed enforcement, to ban ride share, to try to prosecute individual drivers, and take their demerit points off them, as some jurisdictions have tried, to try the big-stick approach which has not had any success in any other jurisdiction—nowhere. What has actually happened in other jurisdictions is that taxi companies have been left with the existing regulatory system they have, and ride share providers have just been able to come in and operate with impunity—no costs, no regulation put in place. That is in stark contrast to the proactive approach that the ACT government has taken.

The approach in other jurisdictions does not really help taxi drivers, it does not help operators, it does not help plate owners, and it does not even help consumers. It just means ride sharing services operate under the radar. It gives none of the benefits to taxi operators that we have put in place, such as the reduced licence fees and a range of other red tape removals that the Chief Minister has spoken about.

Perpetual plate owners are not insulated from new markets anyway, because ride sharing continues to operate and continues to grow. Consumers are not guaranteed that their ride sharing driver or ride sharing vehicle has had important checks; whereas the ACT system ensures ride sharing vehicles and drivers will undergo accreditation and registration, including police checks, driving history checks, medical assessments, vehicle inspections and insurance. The ACT approach also protects drivers of ride share vehicles, ensuring they have access to workers compensation.

To create a level playing field and ensure taxi operators can exist in an environment with similar and comparable levels of regulation to those running ride sharing businesses, taxi licence fees are being progressively reduced.

It is widely recognised that the ACT has taken a smart and considered approach to ride sharing. We have acknowledged the reality of new technology and we have set up a measured regulatory regime to manage it. We are the first capital city in the world to regulate for ride sharing before it started operating.

I met with the taxi industry as the ACT reforms were being developed. They obviously had concerns about the reforms, especially about the detail. I can inform the Assembly that the task force in the directorate that was working on these reforms also met with the taxi industry on a number of occasions. We also received an extensive written submission. The government sought to use all of that information and the concerns identified by the taxi industry to level the playing field. They raised a number of specific concerns, and I think it is fair to say that many of those specific concerns have been addressed in the process of creating the regulatory scheme.

As I have touched on, government sought to reduce the regulatory requirements and cost structure for the taxi industry, whilst at the same time putting a range of regulatory requirements in place to ensure both a level playing field and a level of protection for consumers that our community expects us to have.

The Chief Minister has touched on this, but in terms of Mr Coe’s observations about the value of a perpetual plate, it is worth noting that the taxi industry retains exclusive

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video