Page 3808 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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We also engaged with industry, both existing taxi and hire car industries and future businesses and potential ride share providers. We listened to the needs, the wants and the concerns of all parties and sought, as good government should, to balance competing interests. But primarily, and I make no apologies for this, we were focused on the consumer and on safety for drivers and passengers. This government took the lead to discuss change, to listen to Canberrans and then to introduce an opportunity for change in the way that we travel in Canberra.

The amendments in this bill foster innovation and new means of providing on-demand transport. In doing so, this legislation also supports several key priorities of the government, including economic growth, stimulating healthy and sustainable competition for the benefit of all residents, and developing Canberra into a leading digital city as well as a great place to do business and to innovate. These reforms will undoubtedly benefit the broader community. The economic modelling undertaken for the government shows that in the five years after the reforms are launched the annual benefit for our economy will be around $3.5 million per year, rising to $4.5 million after 10 years.

Change will be brought about to our on-demand industry in two stages. In the first stage, we have enabled the lawful operation of ride sharing in a timely way through a regulation exemption to be made today. Those agreements have set out strong safety expectations for booking services, drivers and vehicles, including accreditation standards from day one for drivers and vehicles. Also during this first stage, specific and interim compulsory third-party injury and third-party property insurance arrangements will be in place to protect passengers, drivers and the broader community.

Finally, simultaneous with the commencement of the exemption regulation tomorrow, we will introduce, through a notifiable instrument, significant reductions in key regulatory fees and charges for taxi and hire car operators so that they can more readily compete against new modes of travel.

These first-stage amendments will remain in place only until the Assembly’s consideration of this bill is concluded and the amendments to the act have commenced. Through the entire reform process, the safety of consumers and the community is at the forefront of the government’s approach.

The first stage of reform will present an opportunity to further refine requirements. It also allows members of the Assembly to assess initial changes to the industry, to help inform consideration of this bill. The second stage, which is encompassed in the bill and related regulation amendments, presents a regulatory framework that will more fully allow for innovation to, and competition in, the taxi and hire car market, again for the benefit of ACT consumers. It will address aspects of public safety, accessibility, consumer protection and ongoing provision of services on a more level playing field.

Broadly, the bill will allow for the entry of ride sharing into our on-demand public transport market. Specifically, it will introduce the concept of ride sharing and define

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