Page 3996 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015

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Services) (Taxi Industry Innovation) Amendment Bill. The bill was introduced as a concrete step to realising the government’s strategic transport vision for Canberra and our broader public transport improvement plan. The bill focuses, refreshingly, on consumer outcomes. As a component of this, it specifically addresses passenger safety, new opportunities for on-demand travel and new levels and structures of prices.

The amendments in this bill encourage long-term innovation and new means of on-demand public transport. But in doing so, the amendments also support several key priorities of the government, including economic growth, stimulating healthy and sustainable competition for the benefit of consumers, and developing Canberra into a leading digital city.

The amendments in this bill are well considered and they reflect analysis from government, independent economic modelling and the experiences of other jurisdictions. Moreover, they also reflect the extensive and continuous community engagement that the government has undertaken during this review process. In fact, of all the issues this year that have generated a significant flow of correspondence, this one has been at the top of that list, and overwhelmingly positive regarding the approach that the government has taken.

From the beginning of the year we started a conversation with the community about the future of on-demand transport in the ACT. We released a discussion paper that asked specific questions, and through an extensive public consultation phase the government listened to Canberrans. And consumers made their voices heard overwhelmingly. We understood how so many of them wanted new ways to travel, new ways to book that travel and new ways to pay for it.

We also engaged with industry—with the existing taxi and hire car industries, as well as future businesses and potential ride share providers. We listened to what, I would have to say, was a wide range of needs, wants and concerns across all of those parties. Through this legislation we have sought to balance what were on many occasions competing interests and widely divergent views. Through all of this, we focused on the consumer and on safety for the whole community. We also determined that the best way forward for industry was to put in place risk-based regulatory settings that provided for a level playing field.

The bill presents a regulatory framework that will more fully allow for innovation and for competition within the taxi and hire car market—again, for the benefit of ACT consumers. It will address aspects of innovation and new business models. It also addresses public safety, accessibility, consumer protection and ongoing provision of existing services through a more level, competitive playing field.

Firstly, the bill will allow for the long-term presence of ride sharing in the on-demand public transport market. Specifically, it will formally introduce the concept of ride sharing and define its associated participants and trade equipment, which include booking platforms and services, drivers, vehicle owners and, of course, the vehicles themselves. The bill introduces the concept of the transport booking service, or TBS, to apply across all on-demand transport business types. This will make the oversight of transport business models—existing and new—much easier.

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