A Private Member’s Bill Could Finally See Uber Legalised Fully In Victoria

It’s taken its sweet-ass time to happen, but Victoria is finally taking one step closer towards catching up with NSW, Western Australia, and the ACT on the inevitable march towards legalising and regulating Uber.

A few weeks back the Victorian County Court overturned a previous legal decision that effectively made Uber legal (or, more accurately, not illegal) in the state.
And now the state government could be forced to stop dragging their heels on the issue, with a private member’s bill set to shove the whole thing squarely under Premier Daniel Andrews‘ nose.
Sex Party MP Fiona Patten will put the bill onto the floor of parliament as early as later this week, in a move she says “can’t wait any longer.”

“I am at a complete loss as to why the Andrews Government and Transport Minister Jacinta Allan have been dragging out the issue of regulating ride-sharing services.”

“I can only presume they are suffering the backlash of the taxi industry but this matter simply can’t wait any longer.”

Patten’s bill proposes Uber drivers face stringent, government-regulated criminal history checks before being allowed to drive. It would also see drivers banned from using vehicles that are over 10 years old.

Drivers would also be banned from driving for life if convicted of any sexual or violent crimes, and bans would also apply to drivers convicted on select drug offences.
Regulators who do not enforce the measures would be slugged with fines in excess of $181,000.
The aim of the bill is to tame the veritable wild west of the ridesharing market, and ensure drivers and operators are held to regulatory account. This increased and more stringent accountability would, in turn, be extended to taxi drivers as well.
Whilst the bill is unlikely to pass through Victorian parliament sight unseen, it is expected to provide the framework for a Labor party-sponsored regulatory bill, which would likely involve some sort financial compensation for taxi operators whose plate value has plummeted as a result of a suddenly flooded market.
Transport Minister Jacinta Allen stated that the bill would be considered by the Victorian Government, but must satisfy a fair and balanced approach to both existing and new operators, as well as preserve access to reliable transport for Victorians with a disability.

“[Any potential bill has to be] workable, fair to existing industry participants and protects access to taxi and hire car services for people with a disability.”

The Andrews Government, reportedly, is still yet to adopt an official position on the matter.

Uber continues to operate at will within the state of Victoria.

Source: Herald Sun.
Photo: Adam Berry/Getty.