NSW Labor leader wants to regulate Uber-style services

Luke Foley says governments should embrace the shared economy

New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley will introduce a private member’s bill later this year to regulate Uber-style ridesharing services in the state.

In an opinion piece, Foley wrote that a new regulatory framework must involve the regulators, platforms and users.

"Political leaders in NSW cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the exciting potential solutions the sharing economy offers to our structural problems," he wrote.

“Yes, we must act carefully and be cognisant of the risks, but I refuse to believe the only role for government in this bold new economy is to weakly sandbag levees that are destined eventually to break."

According to Foley, Uber's ride-sharing arrangements could dramatically ease congestion on NSW roads while online property rental company AirBnB could help open the tourism sector up to a whole new market.

He pointed out that Uber celebrated 1 million UberX trips in Sydney recently while another ride sharing platform, Lyft, is looking to launch in Sydney. This is despite ride-sharing remaining illegal in the state.

In March, Uber encouraged customers of its ridesharing service to contact candidates ahead of the 28 March NSW election to push for regulatory reform.

"The taxi industry has been pressuring politicians and candidates to shut down Uber," states an email sent to NSW Uber users by the company.

"They want to stop you from having a choice about how you get around your city."

The company has faced an uphill regulatory battle in Australia. In NSW police raided its offices in 2014. In Queensland over the past 12 months it's reportedly racked up $1.7 million in fines.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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