Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:09): My question is for Minister Pulford, representing Minister Carroll in the other place. The regulator has now decided that it is incumbent on booking service providers, BSPs, to ensure that servicing is conducted by suitable and qualified mechanics. BSPs are also expected to audit the suitability of mechanics being used to provide their servicing. Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) can direct independent vehicle owners to provide evidence that servicing and repairs are being undertaken by suitably qualified professionals. This appears to be yet another barrier for taxi services. We can hardly expect an independent vehicle owner to conduct an audit of their mechanic. The CPVV now call themselves the safety regulator. They have lowered the bar on safety so low you can now stub your toe on it when you are trying to get over it. So my question is: does this regulation apply to rideshare operators as well, so that Uber must audit the mechanics of their 50 000 employees?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Resources) (12:10): I thank Mr Barton for his question, which has been directed to Minister Carroll in his capacity as a minister for transport. I thank and recognise Mr Barton for his ongoing, strong, consistent and effective advocacy for people in this industry that he knows so well, and I will seek a written response in accordance with our standing orders.
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:10): Thank you, Minister. As it stands, the CPVV have introduced two different vehicle safety standards which are acceptable for commercial passenger vehicles. A roadworthy certificate issued by a licensed vehicle tester is a thorough examination of a vehicle. It costs between $170 and $200. However, the CPVV will also accept a RedBook inspection for rideshare drivers. Let me make this clear: RedBook is not a licensed vehicle tester in Victoria. RedBook offers pre-purchase vehicle checks that are traditionally used by the second-hand car buyer to determine if they are buying rubbish. RedBook offer a test for rideshare operators for $52.80. My supplementary is: does the minister accept it is inappropriate for the CPVV to let rideshare drivers purchase a $52.80 vehicle check from an unlicensed vehicle tester while demanding taxidrivers conduct their own audit of their mechanics to ensure they are suitably qualified and provide evidence of this audit to the CPVV?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Resources) (12:11): I thank Mr Barton for his supplementary question, which engages part of Minister Carroll’s responsibilities in the roads portfolio as well but is definitely a question around the regulator, the role and intersection with RedBook and safety standards as well. I thank Mr Barton again, and I am sure Mr Carroll will be happy to provide a response in accordance with our standing orders.
Response received 23 November 2021
Substantive Question Response:
I thank the Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region for his question.
All passengers should have access to safe commercial passenger vehicle services. That is why safety is the Andrews Labor Government’s number one priority.
All commercial passenger vehicle owners have a safety duty to ensure their vehicle is in a fit, serviceable and safe condition when providing services.
CPVV has issued a code of practice to provide practical guidance to safety duty holders, including vehicle owners, on complying with their safety duties. In relation to vehicle safety, the code sets out that vehicle owners should, among other things:
– get their vehicle regularly serviced;
– ensure that vehicle repairs or servicing are completed by a qualified professional;
– ensure basic maintenance tasks or checks are completed by skilled personnel; and
– ensure that servicing and repairs are undertaken and consistent with manufacturer guidelines.
The Code of Practice also provides guidance to booking service providers about developing, implementing, and auditing policies for the maintenance and inspection of associated vehicles.
There is no requirement that booking service providers audit the mechanics used by affiliated vehicle owners.
CPVV undertakes monitoring, compliance and enforcement activity to ensure that all booking service providers and vehicle owners are complying with their safety duties. This includes audits of booking service provider safety systems and processes, as well as individual vehicle inspections.
I note that the Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee – of which the Member for the Eastern Metropolitan Region is a member – is currently conducting an inquiry into the safety standards for members of the public that travel on the Multi Purpose Taxi Program (MPTP), including a review of the minimum safety requirements for commercial passenger vehicles operating within the MPTP scheme. The Government looks forward to the recommendations of the Committee in due course.
Supplementary Question Response:
In addition to the vehicle safety measures outlined in response to the Member’s substantive question, as an additional safety measure, all commercial passenger vehicle owners are required as a condition of registration to ensure their vehicle undergoes an annual safety inspection. These requirements apply to all vehicle owners, regardless of whether the vehicle is used only to provide booked services (rideshare or hire car) or booked and unbooked (taxi) services.
There are two ways all commercial passenger vehicle owners can meet the annual safety inspection requirement, by either:
- an annual roadworthy inspection known as a VSI26 inspection; or
- a CPVV-approved commercial passenger vehicle inspection.
In both cases, the inspection must be completed by an individual with Licensed Vehicle Tester (LVT) qualifications. Currently there is one approved commercial passenger vehicle inspector, RedBook Inspect Pty Ltd (RedBook). VicRoads manages the LVT program and CPVV verifies the qualifications of individual LVTs working for RedBook with VicRoads regularly.