After taxi commission loss, parliament considers new Uber regulation

By David Donaldson

May 26, 2016

A Victorian parliamentary committee will review whether and how the state should regulate ride sharing apps such as Uber.

The announcement comes a week after the Taxi Services Commission lost a case against an Uber driver on appeal due to what commissioner Graeme Samuel described as a “loophole” and may have been a drafting error by the parliament.

“It is clear there is a need to address how it is that ride sourcing services can be properly regulated,” says committee chair Joshua Morris. “This public inquiry will be an opportunity for people to share their experiences and views.”

The Legislative Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee will produce a report by December this year. According to the terms of reference, it will consider:

  1. barriers to entry;
  2. consumer protection;
  3. customer safety;
  4. competition;
  5. access for people with disabilities;
  6. remuneration and workplace rights for drivers;
  7. how impacts of such regulation on the taxi industry can be minimised;
  8. industry transition; and
  9. any other issues the committee regards as relevant.

“We will look at the impacts any regulation might have on the taxi industry and how such impacts can be minimised,” says Morris.

The committee will be calling for submissions shortly.

Although it came before the rise of Uber, Victoria’s 2011-12 Taxi Industry Inquiry, chaired by Professor Allan Fels, put Victoria in a better position than other states for dealing with ride sharing. It lowered barriers to entry by reducing taxi licences and made the industry more competitive.

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