|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
The Taxi Services Commission (TSC) (VA 5010) was established as an independent statutory authority under section 115B of the Transport Integration Act 2010 as amended by the Transport Legislation Amendment (Taxi Services Reform and Other Matters) Act 2011, which received Royal Assent on 5 July 2011.
The establishment of the TSC was a key first step in a process of major reform of Victoria's commercial passenger vehicle industry and the legislation provided for two distinct phases in the life of the statutory authority under parts 2 (initial amendments) and 3 (post-inquiry amendments) of the amending legislation. The initial phase provided for a comprehensive inquiry into the taxi and car hire industry chaired by Professor Alan Fels. The second phase provided for the TSC to be the industry regulator.
While the reform process had already been set in train by the State Government when it announced the planned inquiry on 28 March 2011 and subsequently released a background paper on 12 May 2011, the initial phase of the TSC officially commenced operation on 19 July 2011, when it received written notice of the inquiry from the Minister for Public Transport pursuant to section 191B of the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 (Victorian Government Gazette No. S 241, 25 July 2011). The Taxi Industry Inquiry provided a draft report for public comment on 31 May 2012 and its final report to the government on 28 September 2012.
The industry regulation phase of the TSC commenced on 1 July 2013 in accordance with section 2 (3) of the amending legislation cited above. Under section 108, the primary post-inquiry object of Taxi Services Commission was "to regulate the commercial passenger vehicle industry as part of the public transport system in a manner that is consistent with the vision statement and the transport system objectives." The commencement of this phase coincided with the implementation of major structural change in the Victorian Public Service and the creation of the new Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (VA 5003) previously announced by Premier Denis Napthine on 9 April 2013.
Briefly, the legislated functions of the TSC as set out in section 109 of the amending legislation (i.e. section 115F of the Transport Integration Act 2010 in the post-inquiry phase) included developing and implementing policies, strategies and performance measures in relation to the commercial passenger industry:
- to improve the safety and security,
- to promote competition and innovation,
- to minimise any adverse environmental effects, and
- policies, strategies, etc) for their operation.
Functions also included:
- providing licensing and accreditation services,
- assisting in monitoring and reporting to the Minister on whether the industry meets Government, contractual and community expectations and performance measures,
- provision and dissemination of information about the industry,
- advising the Secretary to assist in the development of strategic policy and legislation, and
- any other conferred functions or duties.
The TSC was to perform its functions in collaboration with the Secretary of the parent department and other named government offices, engaging with stakeholders and conducting relevant research.