ACT News

Uber working 'very closely' with government on taxi reform

Uber's arrival in the territory may be one step closer after ongoing co-operation with the ACT government and the release of a federal competition review.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he supported Uber coming to Canberra and welcomed the federal government's Harper Review of competition as a reassurance of the need to reform the taxi industry

Uber going to  Canberra has the support of ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
Uber going to Canberra has the support of ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.  Photo: David Ramos

The comprehensive review urged state and territory governments to remove restrictions on ride-sharing and embrace new technologies to encourage more competition.

"I support Uber coming to Canberra [and] the taxi reform will specifically address allowing Uber to operate in the territory," Mr Barr said.

In late January the government launched an innovation review to consider reforming licensing regulations and encouraging the use of new technology in the taxi industry.

An Uber spokeswoman said the company had  been working very closely with the government since the launch of the innovation review.


"Uber would love to come to Canberra," she said.

"The Chief Minister made it clear in his state of the territory address that he wants Uber in the ACT, and we want to be there.

"We are extremely pleased and encouraged that Andrew Barr has taken a leadership position on these issues and is choosing to act in the best interests of the people of the ACT."

A spokesman for Mr Barr said the innovation review was launched with the intention of being guided by the findings of the Harper Review.  

"New technologies have already been introduced by Canberra operators, and we know there is potential for further innovation through alternative digital technologies and business models," he said.

"There are foreseeable benefits to having ride-share models like Uber operate in the territory but we want to ensure the right regulatory systems are in place to avoid some of the issues other jurisdictions have faced with Uber operators."  

The review said many restrictions in the taxi industry were creating barriers to entry and preventing innovation.

"The advent of ride-sharing services both in Australia and overseas has been particularly controversial with regulatory agencies questioning their legality and fining drivers," it said.

"Any regulation of such services should be consumer-focused, flexible enough to accommodate technical solutions to the problems being regulated and not inhibit innovation or protect existing business models."