Government initiatives

What we’re up to

NSW Government has undertaken a number of initiatives in and around several Collaborative Economy sectors. Our intent is to ensure customer safety and that all businesses – whether operating a ‘collaborative’ model or not - can operate in a fair environment.

Read more about our initiatives in the following areas:

Property inspection reports
Short term letting
Car sharing
Ridesharing
Timebanking

Property inspection reports

An Australian first

Pre-purchase inspection reports can be an expensive outlay for potential home buyers. Many market disruptors have emerged in the property industry, including some offering peer-to-peer sharing discounts when multiple consumers request a report.

NSW is the first Australian jurisdiction to require that real estate agents, when listing a property, disclose inspection reports that have been taken out by vendors or buyers, including reports that an agent may have arranged. This includes pre-purchase building inspection reports, timber and pest reports, and strata reports.

This increased transparency will encourage greater competition and encourage participation of startups and disruptors in the property market.

Find out more at NSW Fair Trading.
 

Short-term Letting

The government has accepted many of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee looking into the adequacy of the regulation of short-term letting in NSW, which concluded that it should be permitted in NSW. During the inquiry, the Parliamentary Committee considered the impact of short-term holiday rentals on existing industry, customer safety, neighbourhood amenity and land use. It found that short-term letting contributes to the local economy and assists homeowners earn income from underutilised assets.

What’s Happening?

The government will be undertaking further consultation before deciding on what the regulatory approach to short term holiday letting looks like. A further consultation paper will soon be released that will explore different approaches to address land use and planning issues, as well as the best solution for people living in strata schemes. 

In the meantime, residents should continue to refer to their local council’s current zoning permissions before considering whether to let their property through a sharing economy platform.

Car sharing

Government shares to cut costs

In August 2015, the NSW Government announced new fleet arrangements that leverage the Collaborative Economy. Car sharing is now used by public servants in metropolitan areas.

Government starting using car share vehicles when we saw that they offer an opportunity to save money. By using car sharing services, we have reduced the size and cost of government car pools.

The value of car-sharing to government was tested during a three-month trial conducted by the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation in early 2015. The trial used services provided by GoGet and Hertz 24/7. During the trial over 160 staff used share cars for 352 business-related trips.

We evaluated the trial by analysing pool and share car trip data. We compared the costs of pool vehicles and share cars, and brought the data together with feedback from staff, pool administrators and car share providers.

Disruptive technologies can often present a challenge for existing regulatory regimes

Ridesharing

Following an extensive review and consultation, government has introduced changes to the regulation of taxi, hire car and ridesharing services to provide more opportunities for all drivers, as well as stronger safety mechanisms, better competition and choice for customers. The NSW Government has recognised the existing laws increased the costs of delivering services and limited opportunities for innovation. As a result, more than 50 pieces of regulation will be removed to create a more level playing field.

Read more about the reforms

Ridesharing drivers can now operate legally in NSW, provided they get a hire car driver authorisation and have a business registration for their car. In addition, drivers need to undergo medical and criminal checks. Companies will be free to set their own fares, but the government will continue to set maximum fares for taxis hailed on the street. We’ve also made sure that wheelchair-accessible services remain available.

Government recognises that these changes will have a significant financial impact on taxi licence owners. An assistance package has been introduced to help owners adjust, including hardship support and a licence buy-back scheme.

These changes apply to all current and new rideshare drivers who provide booked services through a rideshare app. A new Point to Point Transport Commission is being established to manage compliance with these new reforms.

What next?

Since government announced the legalisation of ridesharing, the industry is growing and is subject to even greater competition. Ride and car sharing services have expanded into regional areas and Uber and the taxi industry is now competing with other businesses including GoCar, GoBuggy, My Country Taxi, Liftango and Rydhero.

Government gets into Ridesharing

On 4 March 2016, the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation became the first NSW Government agency to include ridesharing as a transport option for its employees.

DFSI employees who are required to travel for work will now be able to choose the most suitable and best value option from amongst taxis, ridesharing and public transport.

Seniors Card partners with Uber

In April 2016, Seniors Card announced a new partnership with Uber that will provide members with a discount on using the service, as well as the opportunity to become a driver.

In announcing the partnership Minister for Ageing, the Hon John Ajaka MLC, said:

"We know that seniors in NSW are incredibly active with many relying on public transport to help them get around. This alliance will provide an affordable and reliable transport option, as well as raising awareness of the opportunity for them to become driver partners with Uber and re-enter the workforce on a schedule that suits them."

Read more about the initiative, including how to use the service or become a provider.

Compulsory Third Party insurance

All NSW drivers must have compulsory third party (CTP) insurance to protect drivers for personal injuries caused during an accident. The cost of insurance varies depending on the use of the vehicle, with taxis and hire cars paying significantly more than private use vehicles.

Since the legalisation of ridesharing, the government has been reviewing the NSW CTP Scheme to ensure the industry is fair for all point to point transport providers.

Under the new premium arrangements, taxi and rideshare vehicle owners will pay a base premium, plus an additional variable component based on their vehicle usage. This dynamic pricing system will be based on data gathered via the use of in-vehicle technology. The government’s insurance body has already been provided with the power to collect necessary data from point to point transport providers to assist in setting usage-based premiums.

For more information, visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority

 

Timebanking

Timebanking is an online system where members can exchange volunteer services that the local community needs. It is an innovative way to encourage community participation, acknowledge local strengths, and recognise people’s contributions to their community.

There are 72 active Timebanking communities providing a local access point for the population in NSW. Timebanking in NSW is the largest single system of its kind in the world. Since Timebanking was launched in November 2012, more than 27,000 hours of support have been exchanged. To date this community program has seen over 6,500 members earn credits when donating their time, and then use these credits to receive support from another volunteer.

Timebanking is most active in smaller communities where participants already know one another, or are introduced by someone they know. Opportunities exist not just for individuals to participate, but also for community-based organisations, schools, councils and local businesses to become involved. More than 500 organisations have already joined as members.

Neighbourhood and community centres are the largest group of participating organisations. They produce some of the most successful engagement by linking local people to Timebanking services.

Timebanking is proving to be a unique mutual aid system that strengthens communities through social inclusion and civic engagement, while providing support to people who need it most.

The enhancement and growth of Timebanking is a major initiative of government's NSW Volunteering Strategy 2016 – 2020. Through refinement and further innovation, Timebanking has grown and redefined volunteering and what it means to be a volunteer. It has broadened the scope of volunteering within NSW and forged healthier, happier and more productive individuals and communities.

Dorothy and Fiona’s stories

Dorothy is a retired librarian in the Blue Mountains. She is an active volunteer at a local op shop, but struggles to maintain her garden and manage the ironing.

When she signed up to her local Timebanking community, she was able to bank her hours volunteering in the op shop and exchange them for help with the ironing provided by Fiona, a local Timebanking member and part-time nurse.

Dorothy says “The program works miracles; you can get these basic things done which you're unable to do yourself while doing the type of volunteering you enjoy.

"Volunteers can set their own hours and do what they love, whether it's gardening or teaching someone to play the piano."

Fiona registered with Timebanking because she was new to the Blue Mountains and wanted to make friends. She has found the social interaction is another benefit of the program.

"It's the genuine sharing economy, where people simply help other people," she said.

Fiona is using her banked hours to arrange help with home maintenance, with one member doing repairs and another weeding her back garden.

Through the Volunteering Strategy, Timebanking will continue to expand participation in community life and develop new volunteering options.  

Find out more at NSW Volunteering and www.timebanking.com.au