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Question – What is the regulator doing about illegal operators?

Mar 4, 2021 | News, Parliament

Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:17): My question is to Minister Pulford, representing the minister for transport. Back in 2020 laws were changed that made online advertising of commercial passenger vehicles which are not registered with Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) illegal.

However, there has been little to no enforcement of this legislation, as reports of individuals advertising their services on Airtasker and Gumtree are still being ignored by the regulator. This complete lack of enforcement of those clearly doing the wrong thing contrasts starkly to those in the industry who are registered, paying insurance and following the guidelines and who are still being harassed with fines from the regulator. Therefore my question to the minister is: what is the regulator doing with the enormous amount of people operating vehicles which are not registered with Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria and are advertising their services illegally online?

Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business) (12:18): I thank Mr Barton for his question. I will seek a response from Minister Carroll for him.

Question – What is the regulator doing about illegal operators.

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Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:18): Thank you, Minister. Due to the lack of enforcement, I am aware of individuals using club plates to provide illegal services. Club plates are given to vintage and classic vehicles. These plates are cheap and allow the owner to avoid stamp duty. Club plates cannot be registered as a commercial passenger vehicle. Victims of this electronic touting and those who have been taken in by this illegal online advertising are unaware that these vehicles they are getting into are not registered and may not be appropriately insured. It is not a stretch to imagine that those who are willing to offer these services without registration with the CPVV will be willing to not meet their statutory obligation with levy collection et cetera. Therefore my question is: what is the regulator doing to stop the explosion of people attempting to use club plates to illegally offer commercial passenger vehicle services?

Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business) (12:19): I thank Mr Barton for his question, and it is a concerning matter that he raises. Those regulatory arrangements exist to ensure the safety of the travelling public, and indeed club plates are very much designed for occasional use rather than frequent use of vehicles, as Mr Barton knows well. I will seek a written response from Minister Carroll for you on that matter.


Response from Minister Pulford 16 March 2021

I thank the member for his questions.

Any booking service provider or vehicle that provides commercial passenger vehicle (CPV) services must be registered under the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017 (the Act) and the driver must hold CPV driver accreditation. As the industry safety regulator, Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) pursues and takes action against industry participants who advertise or provide CPV services without the relevant registration or accreditation.

Most recently, unregistered booking service providers have been the target of an ongoing CPVV compliance operation. As of 19 February 2021, 101 cases have been activated, 59 cases have been closed and 42 remain active with one currently at the prosecution stage and the remaining 41 being investigated.
CPVV has also previously completed a joint compliance operation with Victoria Police related to illegal services and directly communicated with social media site administrators and Facebook.

VicRoads also introduced changes to its club permit scheme in 2020, which make it illegal for club-plated vehicles to be used to provide CPV services. Where VicRoads can determine that a vehicle is being used in breach of the general conditions, the Club Permit will be suspended and cancelled. VicRoads will also inform CPVV and the State Revenue Office, as well as the permit holder’s club, for consideration of potential further action.

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