Sharing economy an opportunity for NSW, says Govt paper


news The NSW Government has released a position paper suggesting that the burgeoning collaborative or sharing economy offers opportunities for the state.

The sharing economy is typically based on Internet platforms that link customers directly with providers.

Typical services offered include car sharing, accommodation, secondhand goods, and personal and employment services, while Airbnb and eBay are examples of successful businesses employing the sharing economy model.

The NSW government said that “significant economic and employment opportunities” are presented by the rapidly growing sector, and that it is worth around $504 million per year to the state, according to Deloitte Access Economics research.

In order to take advantage of these opportunities in NSW, the position paper (available online) outlines some guidelines for government, such as importance of promoting innovation, ensuring regulation is fit for purpose and protecting consumers.

Promoting competition and adopting an agile approach to government procurement are also cited as key factors.

That the collaborative economy does present some challenges is also acknowledged, and the paper sets out how the government plans to ensure regulation is “fair and flexible for all market participants”.

Following consultation, the NSW Government found that the collaborative economy has developed over the past 20 years, with a rapid recent increase in the number and types of services available in the state.

To appraise itself of the current state of the collaborative economy in NSW, and to identify future opportunities, the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) engaged the services of Deloitte Access Economics.

The resulting Deloitte report provides a number of statistics that illustrate the potential for the collaborative economy in NSW:

  • Key businesses in the most developed sector currently contribute approximately $504 million to the NSW economy
  • 53% of consumers had ‘tried’ offerings of collaborative economy businesses in the past year
  • Of the businesses that originated in Australia, two thirds are from NSW
  • 30% of startups at major incubators and accelerators in NSW are services and labour hire-related businesses, and a further 15% provide financial services.

Since the NSW economy is very service-driven, Deloitte concluded, the state represents an area of potential growth for the collaborative economy.

NSW Fair Trading is also conducting research to understand the view of consumers and suppliers of goods and services concerning their rights and responsibilities when engaging in transactions on sharing economy platforms.

The NSW Government noted it has consulted with “key industry representatives” from collaborative economy businesses and traditional economy participants in the perparation of the positioning paper.