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TRANSCRIPT – Legislative Assembly – Touting Amendments to Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

Nov 29, 2019 | Parliament

TRANSPORT LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2019

Council’s amendments

The SPEAKER: I have received a message from the Legislative Council agreeing to the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 with amendments.

Ordered that amendments be taken into consideration immediately.

Message from Council relating to following amendments considered:

1. Clause 1, page 3, line 8, omit “Acts.” and insert “Acts; and”.

2. Clause 1, page 3, after line 8 insert—

“(e) to amend the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017 to provide for offences prohibiting—

(i) persons from directly approaching other persons and offering them the provision of a commercial passenger vehicle service; and

(ii) persons from advertising offers for the provision of commercial passenger services in certain specified cases.”.

3. Clause 2, line 12, omit “and 155” and insert “, 155 and 195A”.

4. Page 140, after line 23, insert the following heading—

“Part 8A—Amendment of Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017”.

NEW CLAUSE

5. Insert the following New Clause to follow clause 195 and the heading proposed by amendment number 4—

“195A New sections 267A and 267B inserted

Before section 268 of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017 insert—

“267A Advertising offers for the provision of commercial passenger vehicle services in certain cases prohibited

(1) A person commits an offence if the person advertises in any way an offer for the provision of a commercial passenger vehicle service and—

(a) the motor vehicle to be used for the purpose of providing the commercial passenger vehicle service is not a commercial passenger vehicle; or

(b) the person is not an accredited driver.

(2) A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable to a penalty not exceeding 60 penalty units for an individual or 300 penalty units for a body corporate.

(3) This section does not apply to a person carrying out an activity set out in section 267B(l)(b).

267B Making offers in a certain way, or displaying offers on one’s person, for the provision of commercial passenger vehicle services prohibited

(1) A person must not—

(a) directly approach another person and offer the provision of a commercial passenger vehicle service; or

(b) display on or about their person, in any way, an offer for the provision of a commercial vehicle passenger service; or

(c) offer the provision of a commercial passenger vehicle service through an activity that is prescribed.

Penalty: 60 penalty units.

(2) Subsection (l)(a) or (c) does not apply to a person who facilitates the provision of a commercial passenger vehicle service to a person at a place designated as a place where a commercial passenger vehicle may pick up passengers for the provision of the commercial passenger vehicle service.

(3) A person does not commit an offence against subsection (1) in relation to an activity referred to in subsection (l)(a), (b) or (c) if the activity is—

(a) a prescribed activity; or

(b) carried out in the prescribed circumstances.”.”.

AMENDMENT OF LONG TITLE

6 Long title, omit “and the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983” and insert “, the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 and the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017”.

 

Ms ALLAN (Bendigo East—Leader of the House, Minister for Transport Infrastructure) (17:29): I am pleased to move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

I do not intend to revisit the debate that we had in this place on why the government introduced this Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 other than to remind the house that there were provisions in the bill that went to some important reforms that we need to make in how the Department of Transport and its agencies operate to help the government deliver its policy and project agenda. Also the bill contains some important amendments around offensive advertising on vehicles.

However, the reason why this bill has come back to this place with amendments that have been agreed to unanimously, I believe, in the Legislative Council is that there have been some amendments to the bill to make important improvements to the commercial passenger vehicle industry laws. Members of the previous Parliament will well remember the long and lengthy debates and discussions that were had around reforms to what is now known as the commercial passenger vehicle industry. There was a very large debate over the course of 2016 and 2017 when a substantial piece of legislation went through this place. Those reforms have been successful. They have been achieving the aims around increasing choices available to consumers, increasing competition and increasing supply of services.

I am particularly pleased to note that the recent annual report from Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria states that there has been an increase in wheelchair-accessible taxis, for example. That is an important improvement that has been made in increasing the supply of those vehicles on the road. However, the government does acknowledge that there are some further improvements that can be made. Of course, when improvements that can be made have been identified, we are very happy to consider them, evaluate them, and in this instance agree to their inclusion in this legislation.

There have been concerns raised about touting at key locations, particularly at Melbourne Airport. There have been some media reports about some of the behaviours that have gone on. That is not acceptable for a whole bunch of reasons. Whether you are a visitor to this state or someone who is at the airport for other reasons, that is not behaviour that we want to see. It is predatory behaviour. We have been working very closely with industry, and I would like to particularly acknowledge the member of the Transport Matters Party, Rod Barton, in the other place, who raised concerns about this matter and has been working with the government to look at how we can get the best outcome on this. There has been a lot of discussion, and I know my colleague the Minister for Public Transport has had a number of discussions with the member in the other place, Mr Barton, on this. I would like to thank him for the way he has worked constructively with the government.

The culmination of that work, of course, is an amendment that was moved this afternoon by the member to the government’s Transport Legislation Amendment Bill. That amendment, as I indicated, was acceptable to all members of the upper house. In order for these new provisions to be in place when the bill gains royal assent—in order for these provisions to come into effect almost immediately when royal assent is given—and given we are heading into the busy festive season, there was a timing imperative that this bill be dealt with today. It is pleasing that we have been able to, with the agreement of the house, sit a little bit later to accommodate this amended bill.

There are a number of elements to the amendments. The first provision is for it to be an offence for a person to advertise offers for the provision of a commercial passenger vehicle service in any way through any platform if that person is not an accredited driver and the motor vehicle to be used to provide that service is not registered. The second provision makes it an offence to directly approach another person and offer to provide that person or any persons with a commercial passenger vehicle service. There is a little bit more in the amendment, but in the interests of time and the lateness of the day, I think there has already been extensive debate in the upper house on this matter. I again acknowledge the work of Mr Barton from the Transport Matters Party, and I acknowledge the work of my department and officials who have worked through this and the Minister for Public Transport. With those comments, I commend the amended bill to the house.

Ms RYAN (Euroa) (17:34): I rise this evening to make a few very brief comments on the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 and the amendments that have come back from the upper house, which were moved by Mr Rod Barton of the Transport Matters Party, regarding the commercial passenger vehicle industry. I do know that Mr Barton sought to make these changes to outlaw touting through a private members bill in the Legislative Council, and he has done a significant amount of work on it in recent months, including attracting significant publicity around the issue. I would have hoped the government would have perhaps acted on this more quickly, since we have had Melbourne Airport out there talking about how this is a real issue for the airport, but of course it is also an issue for major events around Melbourne. Since Labor botched the deregulation of the taxi industry, there is no doubt that this has certainly come to the fore as a major issue. It impacts on Melbourne’s reputation as a safe and livable city, and most particularly our reputation with our interstate colleagues and other countries.

Melbourne Airport have particularly put on record their concerns about the fact that when someone is touting for business they cannot confirm the safety of the driver, their commercial licence or whether they have a police check or insurance. It was interesting to see A Current Affair did a report a little while ago where they actually showed people being approached at the airport and then taken over to the McDonald’s across the road where somebody had parked their vehicle and then took them away from there. The airport is receiving hundreds of complaints from people who are being approached, in many cases by people who are quite aggressive in their behaviour. They are receiving complaints about overcharging, and in some cases the harassment of women as well. I think it is a real concern because when interstate and international travellers are landing, particularly at Melbourne Airport, they do not always understand what our system is. Indeed one person who was interviewed said that he just thought it was the Melbourne way to be approached off the cuff by somebody who was not necessarily licensed or in a taxi rank.

As a result of that, we are in support of these amendments. We think that safety should be a priority. I congratulate Mr Barton on the work he has done with the government to bring forward these amendments. It is a shame that the government did not do them themselves, but nevertheless I congratulate Mr Barton for doing that work.

On that note I wish everybody a very happy festive season.

Motion agreed to.

 

The SPEAKER: A message will now be sent to the Legislative Council informing them of this house’s decision.

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