Introduced legislation to legalise ridesharing and modernise the taxi industry.
In February 2016, Fiona Patten introduced a private member’s bill to the Victorian Parliament to lift restrictions on ride-sharing services such as Uber. She did so in the context of an ongoing Government failure to keep pace with innovation and recognise emerging sharing economies.
The purpose of the Ride-sharing Bill was to establish a system for regulation, accreditation and administration of ride-sharing services across the state. The bill would have legalised the provision of ridesharing services in Victoria, imposed duties on facilitators of ridesharing, provided exemptions for ridesharing from certain provisions under the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, and amended the Transport Integration Act 2010 to recognise the undertaking of rideshare journeys as a transport service.
The bill was due to be brought on for debate in June 2016, however following an 11th hour deal with Transport Minister Jacinta Allen debate was adjourned, the Minister undertaking to work with Patten to fine-tune a Government bill with the same purpose.
The Government ultimately introduced reform of a distinctly different structure to our proposal, which Patten was integral in amending to secure a fairer deal for drivers and passengers. The state government accepted Fiona Patten’s recommendations for a $1 levy, and for the Essential Services Commission to determine when the government had recouped the amount paid in compensation. The levy funds will be used to compensate existing taxi licence holders. Patten said:
“I had to force the government to act, but as a result of this reform, Victorians will now be able to legally access and work within a business model with massive growth and an exciting future,”
“A lower levy is a win for consumers, means full financial assistance can flow and cuts in half the amounts operators will have to pay the government.”
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