news Australian Sex Party leader Fiona Patten will this week present a new bill to provide a legal framework for services like Uber in Victoria.
If passed, the Regulation of Ridesharing Bill 2016 would establish a system for regulation, accreditation and administration of ride-sharing services across the state.
“The Andrews Government has taken far too long to act on regulating ridesharing,” said Patten. “While other states and territories have been able to tackle this issue, whether in a regulatory or legislative environment, Victoria seems incapable of doing so. Services like Uber are part of our new sharing economy and they aren’t going away.”
Notably, drivers for Uber’s low-cost service uberX have had to pay almost $600,000 in fines since the service started in the state in May 2014.
According to The Age, the state’s Taxi Services Commission issued 355 infringement notices, with fines adding up to around $594,000 to “persons operating without the appropriate accreditation and using an unlicensed vehicle in connection with the uberX service”.
In contrast with the normally licensed uberBLACK service, uberX is not regulated in Victoria, even though drivers must pass criminal and driving history checks.
“The issue of ride-sharing seems to be permanently stalled on Transport Minister Jacinta Allen’s desk,”Patten said. “Roundtables and endless discussions don’t seem to have provided a solution to how we move forward with services like Uber.”
The Sex Party leader suggested the situation will mean more uncertainty for the public and for both ride-sharing and taxi drivers.
“We need to create the guidelines for a fair and safe system,” she said, adding that her new piece of legislation could achieve that aim within a year.
“Premier Daniel Andrews and Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allen must act – we simply can’t let this drag on any longer,” she concluded.
Patten will introduce the new bill in the Upper House on 11 February.