Page 3810 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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ACT, Canberrans will expect a strong baseline of safety from all of them. Therefore, under licensing and accreditation requirements, the government requires all public passenger drivers participating in ride share to undergo a police background and traffic history check and a commercial driver health assessment. Vehicles using ride sharing must also undergo a safety check, by either the Road Transport Authority or an accredited vehicle inspection provider. The bill also enables our Road Transport Authority to collect data on drivers and vehicles to help in monitoring and enforcement. These requirements and others are central to upholding the safety of our community and of travellers in the territory. I would like to reiterate that these safety measures will be required even during the first phase of reforms that begin tomorrow.

I have spoken this morning about a great deal of industry change. But it is important that we make clear that there will be no change to the wheelchair accessible taxi service, the WAT service, or the centralised booking service for WAT passengers and drivers’ use, or of the taxi subsidy scheme. Over the next two years, we will observe the WAT service carefully and make sure the customer experience is not impacted in a negative way.

Secondly, the taxi subsidy scheme will not apply to ride-sharing services in the ACT. The scheme represents a substantial fare subsidy arrangement, and this decision reflects another important way of supporting the quality and standard of the WAT taxi service. Thirdly, standard and WAT taxis will continue to play an exclusive role in providing rank and hail services. This type of service continues to be vitally important to both Canberrans and travellers to the territory.

Whilst this bill provides a framework, significant transition requires the government to undertake an ongoing process of review and ability to make changes, if needed. The regulatory framework proposed in this bill lays the foundation for a safe, accessible, competitive and sustainable on-demand transportation industry. Over the next 24 months we will observe and evaluate consumer and safety outcomes; supply, demand and pricing behaviours; and other factors that affect the broad range of stakeholders. We will determine over time if any interventions are needed.

The timely regulation of ride sharing in the territory, and our broader goal to bring innovation to this industry, reflects leadership in bringing forward innovation for the benefit of Canberrans. We do this so that the ACT becomes an even better place to live, to work, to study and to travel in.

Through this bill, Canberra will be the first capital in the world to regulate ride sharing before it operates. The ACT will be one of only a handful of jurisdictions of any kind in the world to do this. These “firsts” reflect our focus on introducing innovation and supporting innovation that benefits everyone.

The government embraces innovation, and this bill will contribute specifically to our goal of being a leading digital city. But our objectives for this city run deeper than that. Over time, we want to embrace new ways of supplying goods and services and new ways of consuming them, provided that these new ways firmly fit with our values and community expectations. These values include safety and privacy; the opportunity to choose and to have better consumer experiences; the opportunity to get more value

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