Although legalised in New South Wales, Western Australia and the ACT, the Northern Territory Government has announced it will not make any legislative changes to allow Uber to operate legally in the region.
The decision came following a cabinet meeting discussing the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Review Report.
“This was a Cabinet decision where we would stop Uber at the moment from coming to the NT,” Transport Minister Peter Chandler told the ABC.
Uber has been in talks with the NT Government to try to reach an agreement on legislation that would allow it to operate legally in the NT.
“I think the Territory does risk being left behind,” Uber’s Brad Kitschke said regarding the decision. “And that’s something Territorians will have to consider if they don’t have a government that’s willing to look at progressive changes, embrace competition.”
NT Taxi Council executive officer Les Whittaker said “There’s so many issues regarding Uber and the likes of Uber that worry me. Safety issues and those types of things.”
“If Uber did come in it would destroy our industry,” said Taxi driver George Papantonakis.
A code of practice and further recommendations to the taxi industry also came out of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Review Report, including a “mystery shopper” program to increase standards, 13 more taxi licenses for more competition, and a cap on eftpos surcharges of 5 per cent.
Mr Chandler doesn’t rule out Uber being introduced into the territory in the future, saying “It may just be a bridge too far to put these big reforms into an industry and at the same time accept that Uber might go into the NT.”
“Companies like Uber may operate here one day. If and when they do let’s make sure we’ve the right regulation.”
Uber will continue to push to become legalised in the NT, but although it hasn’t stopped the company before, has ruled out operating in the region against the wishes of the government.