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1Taxi and Hire Vehicle Industries Regulatory Review

The key elements of the existing taxi and hire vehicle regulatory framework have been in place since 2008 with some refinements in 2011. The emergence of ride-sourcing was not predicted when the current framework was designed and it does not adequately accommodate ride-sourcing.

The Department of State Growth has lead the Tasmanian Government’s Regulatory Review of the Tasmanian Taxi and Hire Vehicle Industries. It is now preparing to implement the changes identified in the review. This will ensure that existing and new service providers, consumers and the community more broadly, are well positioned to face the challenges and seize the opportunities that come about as new business models and technologies continue to emerge.

2What is proposed to change?

The framework seeks to deliver a level playing field for all those in the industry. Annual administration fees, safety requirements and accountabilities will be applied fairly across all industry participants.

The key elements of the framework are:

  • Suspension of the release of new Taxi licences – suspend the mandated release of new owner-operator taxi licences (OOTLs) for four years (2021 to 2024), and no change to the number of taxi areas but minor modifications to boundaries.
  • Reserve prices for new owner-operator taxi licences– values will be set by the Economic Regulator but for years 1-5 the value of taxi licences determined by the Economic Regulator will be no less than 90 per cent of the previous year.
  • Maintain the existing luxury hire car and restricted hire vehicle licences – ride-sourcing vehicles will remain unlicensed but services will be captured in the regulatory framework through the accreditation of the booking service provider.
  • Regulation of booking service providers – key industry participants who benefit financially from the industry, including ride‑sourcing platforms, such as Uber, and taxi networks, will be regulated and able to be held accountable for any breaches in safety.
  • Introducing a chain of responsibility model – all parties who have control or influence over passenger transport services are responsible for complying with, and for breaches of, these laws.
  • Introducing a primary duty of care – each party in the chain of responsibility will have a primary duty of care to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and other persons while they are engaged in providing the service.
  • Regulation of drivers – through regulations, ensure that drivers are suitable to be providing commercial public passenger vehicle services.
  • Regulation of vehicles – through regulations, ensure that all vehicles are safe to be transporting passengers.

3 How has the review been affected by COVID-19?

The introduction of the Bill, which is the first step of implementing the new framework, has been delayed by the COVID-19 situation. This was partially a result of Parliament adjourning early, and partially to allow a review of the Bill to ensure that no further changes were warranted as a result of the pandemic.

The Government recognised that this delay might cause the statutory release of taxi licences to go ahead, causing further financial distress for licence holders.  To provide certainty to the industry, the COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No. 2) 2020 included a mechanism to prevent the release in 2020.

4Consultation

The Government commenced its Review into the Taxi and Hire Vehicle industries in late 2016. The Review has comprised industry consultation, market research on consumer habits and preferences, and detailed research and analysis of evidence from Australia and beyond.

A draft framework was released for public consultation on 30 September 2018. Seventy four submissions were received, predominantly from taxi licence owners and owner-operators, but also from the two ride-source platforms that were then operating in Tasmania (Uber and Shebah), Equal Opportunity Tasmanian (EOT) and TasCOSS. Most stakeholders were generally supportive of existing regulation in the taxi and hire vehicle industries.

A new regulatory framework for the on-demand passenger transport sector was released late last year for public consultation, including a draft Bill which will give effect to many of the changes. The consultation period closed on 21 February 2020 and feedback received was considered by the Government.

Taxi and Hire Vehicle Industries Regulatory Review Consultation – Submissions Register

Taxi and Hire Vehicle Industries Regulatory Review Consultation – Compiled Submissions

If your submission has inadvertently been presented incorrectly or you have any questions regarding the above, please contact
taxireview@stategrowth.tas.gov.au.