Reading time: 4 minutes

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.

Webinars

Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Online
Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Anthony Lieu
Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards