My adjournment this evening is for the Assistant Treasurer. The government has allocated further funding to the Business Acceleration Fund, previously named the Regulatory Reform Incentive Fund. My understanding is that this fund is aimed at reducing the regulatory burden on small businesses, especially when it comes to regulators duplicating their requests for data. Currently small businesses in the commercial passenger vehicle industry have been unfairly overburdened by, frankly, unnecessary data requests from the regulator. I have deep concerns regarding the regulator—the Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) data collection requirements for booking service providers in the commercial passenger industry. Under the current regulations all booking service providers are required to keep and submit records of trip data, including things such as kilometres travelled and the fee charged as well as the date, the time and the GPS coordinates of where the trip started and ended.
One may think this data would only be called for when it is found relevant to a specified incident or complaint, but the CPVV is demanding that all of this data be submitted at regular intervals.
There exists little clarity about why this data is being collected, who will protect it and how it will be used. Not only does this create issues over client consent but also the strict and specified format of the reporting data requirements is near impossible to be fulfilled by smaller industry operators without the technological know-how or the time to record, maintain and submit this information. These data requests have not been justified by the regulator and threaten to cripple struggling commercial vehicle operators.
This is not the only regulatory absurdity. There is also a significant issue of duplication of requests between the CPVV, VicRoads, the State Revenue Office and the Essential Services Commission when it comes to data requests for operators. I often have those in the industry inform me they have had multiple requests for the exact same data from multiple regulators. It is almost beyond belief. This can be fixed. The industry needs a review that can reduce the unnecessary duplication of data requests and the onerous regulatory requirements for small vehicle operators, who provide an essential service to our community.
So Assistant Treasurer, will you undertake a review as part of the business acceleration fund of the unnecessary and onerous regulatory burdens imposed on the Victorian commercial passenger vehicle industry with the aim of improving efficiencies?
Response Received 27 June 2022
I thank the Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region for his question and acknowledge his longstanding advocacy on behalf of workers in the commercial passenger vehicle industry.
The $40 million Regulation Reform Incentive Fund (RRIF) has funded over 60 initiatives across departments, regulators, and local councils to deliver quicker approval times and make government easier to deal with, including by digitising how regulators work. This will deliver over $200 million to Victorian businesses in annual benefits through more efficient and reduced regulatory burden once fully implemented.
The RRIF has already funded an initiative to reduce the regulatory burden on the taxi sector and driving instructors.
This initiative has seen the creation of a new online system for booking service provider (BSP) applications. This has replaced old and outdated paper-based applications and made it simpler and easier for applicants to become accredited BSPs.
This project been completed, with the benefits currently flowing to businesses.
Building on the success of the RRIF, the 2022-23 Budget allocated $10 million to a new regulatory reform fund – the Business Acceleration Fund (BAF). The BAF’s objectives are to fund regulatory reform initiatives that support Victorian business growth, boost Victoria’s productivity, and improve job quality for Victorians.
All departments, regulators and local councils will have the opportunity to submit reform proposals to the BAF. BAF proposals will be assessed and prioritised according to those that will deliver the highest overall benefits to Victorian business. In the past we have supported projects that make tangible and speedy improvements to the regulatory burden on businesses, like the project referred to above, rather than open ended policy reviews.
In relation to the part of your question about data and record keeping, I refer you to the response I provided to your adjournment question on 16 February 2021.
Hon Danny Pearson