- Transport (Road Passenger Services) Bill 2018 and associated amendment Bill have now passed the Legislative Council
- Biggest reforms to the on-demand transport and taxi industry in WA history
- Voluntary taxi plate buyback scheme can now progress towards implementation
- McGowan Government delivers major election commitment
Historic reforms to Western Australia's on-demand transport and taxi industry passed the Legislative Council late yesterday.
These reforms can now be implemented to provide a level playing field whereby all drivers and booking services will operate under the same rules for the first time in WA.
The reforms, to be rolled out from early 2019, will enable a range of improvements to how the taxi and on-demand transport services operate. The legislation will also end restrictions that have made it difficult for taxis to compete and give the industry greater certainty.
Safety is a major focus of the reforms, establishing clear accountability for all those operating in the industry. In particular, all booking services will now be required to be authorised and will be responsible for making sure the vehicles and drivers they dispatch are also authorised and safe.
Additionally, under the new legislation, booking services will be required by law to report serious safety incidents to the Department of Transport for potential investigation.
The benefits of the reform will:
- Create a fairer and modernised system for all operators;
- Promote competition and innovation across the industry, removing regulation and costs;
- Remove restrictions on when, where and how taxis can operate;
- Introduce a strengthened duty of care for passenger safety; and
- Create one annual authorisation for all types of on-demand drivers.
The legislation will also enable the McGowan Labor Government to deliver its election commitment to implement a voluntary industry funded taxi plate buyback scheme.
Plate owners will receive between $100,000 and $250,000, less any hardship payments already received, and depending on how long they owned the plate.
The buyback scheme will be industry funded over four years, through a temporary 10 per cent levy on total fare revenue generated by operators.
The wider reform package will encourage greater competition and innovation in on-demand transport throughout WA, providing customers with greater choice and easier access to safe and smart services.
Minor amendments, including exempting electric vehicles and regional operators from the taxi plate buyback levy, were made during the legislation's passage through Parliament to achieve broader support across parties without impacting the intent of the reform.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"This is the most comprehensive overhaul of taxi and on-demand transport industry in the State's history and will ultimately give customers more choice of improved services.
"Since coming to Government, resolving the uncertainty in the industry has been one of my highest priorities as Minister for Transport.
"We have seen people in the industry suffer under the previous government's inaction and it is now time to even the playing field through these carefully developed and well-consulted reforms.
"I am pleased that the State Government can now proceed with an industry funded buyback scheme for privately owned taxi plates. Not only will the buyback provide certainty and finally allow the taxi industry to modernise, importantly, it is the right thing for government to do.
"I understand that not everyone is happy with the reform, but I believe it strikes the right balance.
"I would like to thank Dr Tony Buti for his work in co-ordinating one of the most comprehensive consultation processes in the history of the on-demand industry in WA.
"For customers, these reforms mean more choice, stronger safety standards and ultimately reduced costs for industry and customers.
"It is long overdue reform and creates consistent regulations for the on-demand transport sector as a whole to grow and innovate into the future."
Comments attributed to Taxi and On-Demand Transport Reform Coordinator and Armadale MLA Tony Buti:
"I would like to thank the Minister for appointing me to conduct a fresh round of consultation of the taxi and on-demand transport industry early last year.
"Throughout 2017 and 2018 over 60 hours of consultation took place with plate owners, taxi drivers, management companies, industry associations and booking services.
"We have worked hard to seek input from all sectors of the industry and I am confident that both the reforms and the buyback are fair and allow those taxi plate owners who choose to, the ability to continue to operate.
"I look forward to seeing increased safety requirements, greater flexibility, reduced costs for the taxi industry and ultimately better services for the public."
Minister's office - 6552 5500