Uber takes swipe at Queensland government over a lack of dialogue

Uber’s general manager in Australia, David Rohrsheim, has given up on meeting with senior Queensland government political leaders. Photo: Louise KennerleyUber has given up hope of meeting with Queensland government political leaders since the Palaszczuk government announced its review into the ride-sharing industry.
Nanjing Night Net

Uber Australia and New Zealand general manager David Rohrsheim told a business lunch in Brisbane on Tuesday the government needed to embrace new technology if it was to remain competitive.

Mr Rohrsheim said the company had discovered through Right to Information legislation that Queensland Transport staff had devoted 6000 hours on “enforcement activities” targeting Uber drivers.

“But no-one in that department has found one hour to come down to the Uber office to ask us ‘what are your safety procedures’?,” he told the audience.

“So if safety was their top priority, why hasn’t that meeting happened?

“When they do come to our office, they will find out that every single driver hold a Queensland government commercial driver accreditation, they’ll find that every vehicle’s been inspected by a third party, they’ll find there’s insurance in place and they’ll find there’s GPS traffic on every trip.

“But that meeting hasn’t happened.”

After the lunch, Mr Rohrsheim said he had given up on meeting with senior politicians in Queensland following the Palaszczuk government’s announcement of a review into the ride-sharing industry.

Instead, he expected Uber to liaise with the review team.

That review was not due to come back with recommendations until August 2016, which Mr Rohrsheim said was simply too long.

“Across Australia, we’ve seen reviews started and finished in the ACT and almost finished in New South Wales and, just last week, the Queensland government announced the beginning of their review with no plan to complete that before August 2016,” he said.

“In our opinion, that’s just far too long for Queensland to wait. That’ll be more than two years since we launched our service.

“If you want to have a reputation as supporting innovation and being open to new business, start-ups can’t afford to wait two years for a response from the government.

“So I’m up here certainly calling on the government to expedite that review, come down to our office and have a look at what we do.

“I think they’d be very satisfied with our procedures.”

Mr Rohrsheim said there were about 4000 Uber drivers active in Queensland.

“This took one year for the team to build and it’s a huge opportunity if the state says ‘yes’,” he said.

That would be a firm ‘no’ if Katter’s Australian Party had its way.

The KAP’s two Queensland MPs have proposed legislation that would see Uber drivers, who could already be fined under existing legislation, penalised through demerit points.

Predictably, that had the support of the Taxi Council of Queensland.

“Uber are an illegal taxi service, and are spawning copycats across Queensland,” TCQ chief executive Benjamin Wash said last month.

“Right now anyone, anywhere can start to drive their private cars and transport the public and the government is letting it happen.

“This will become a nightmare.

“We’ve already seen assaults with no camera evidence by Uber drivers across Australia, and without enforcement of regulations nothing will be able to stop any sexual predator or person with the wrong motives starting their own illegal taxi service.”

Last week, two taxi drivers faced court charged with assaulting Uber drivers on Brisbane streets.

Mr Rohrsheim said the alleged assaults on Uber drivers were “rare, unusual and very disappointing”.

“I’m happy to say that there were more Uber partners out on the road this weekend (following the assaults) than there was last weekend,” he said.

Stay in touch with Queensland’s best news via Facebook.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.