Under Australia’s three-tier government system of Federal, State and Local, transport regulation falls into the responsibilities of State and Territory governments. The growing popularity of Uber and ridesharing platforms in the last year has seen the $62.5 billion-valued company fight battles in multiple states to have it legalised.

Ridesharing Laws in Australia

Uber is a ridesharing service that allows its customers to submit a ride request through their smartphones, then be connected with a driver. Before the existence of Uber, ridesharing laws were not in place in Australian States and Territories. It was the popularity of Uber that forced States and Territory governments to create a set of laws and regulations for ridesharing practices.

Inconsistent Ridesharing Laws

Transport is regulated on State level is so it can adapt according to each State and Territory’s specific needs. Considerations for state economies are an important factor for governments in deciding whether or not the legalisation of Uber is in the state’s best interest.

For example, for government-worker based ACT and central business hub NSW, it may have been more beneficial to the population to be given another option regarding transport, and may even boost the economy with more competition. On the other hand, the small population and more regional Northern Territory may have less of a need for Uber and taxi drivers may need more support from its government.

The Current Landscape

At the moment, only the ACT and NSW have officially legalised Uber. On 1 July 2016, Uber will also be officially legalised in SA and WA. In Tasmania, Uber has become a step closer to becoming legalised after the passing of a bill in Tasmania’s Lower House with tri-partisan support.

On the other hand, Victoria has stated it will not rush into making a decision as it considers whether or not to legalise Uber. Similarly in Queensland, Uber has not yet been officially legalised and currently operate illegally under taxi regulations. The Queensland government in fact recently passed new regulations imposing higher fines of up to $2,356 for Uber drivers and $23,560 for administrators of illegal ridesharing services.

In February 2016, the Northern Territory announced that it had made a decision to ban Uber from operating in NT altogether.

How do the Regulations Differ?

It’s significant that while Australia is becoming increasingly Uber-friendly, regulations differ and not all of them are in Uber’s favour. In the States that have legalised Uber, each of them has offered an assistance package to taxi drivers to ease the transition. This package offers a levy of $1 for every trip, applied to both Uber and taxis, which will go towards the assistance scheme. Each government has also implemented additional costs and checks for Uber drivers.

SA is considered to have implemented the most expensive regulatory state for Uber so far. In SA, an individual who wants to be an Uber driver must pay for third party insurance at $269, a lifetime support levy of $77, vehicle accreditation fee of $85 in addition to costs relating to getting a Working with Children Check, National Criminal Check and medical and eyesight certificates.

While it is relatively cheaper in the ACT, NSW and WA, Uber drivers must still be prepared to hand over a hefty sum. In the ACT, they are required to pay $100 per year for a Public Vehicle Driver Authority Card along with police character checks, driver history checks and health checks. In NSW, Uber drivers must apply for a one-time private hire vehicle accreditation at $45 along with the necessary criminal and health checks.

Key Takeaways

The landscape is rapidly changing for Uber in Australia as more states give in to the pressure and pass regulations to legalise the ridesharing service. However, Australia is still not completely Uber-friendly. Consumers should ultimately be aware of where Uber stands in their State or Territory and their rights in the circumstances.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at info@legalvision.com.au

View Privacy Policy