Ride-sharing service Uber began operating in defiance of the law and the West Australian Government did nothing to quit it, the WA Supreme Court has been told.
About 400 taxi plate owners have launched legal action against the State Government, claiming it need to never ever have allowed Uber to operate.
Lawyer Martin Bennett, acting for the owners, said taxi owners and drivers have been possessing to pay a series of expenses associated with regulations while Uber drivers did not.
He said taxi plate owners and drivers had borrowed income to fund the purchase of plates, had complied with regulations, fitted cameras and paid insurance coverage, however Uber drivers did not.
Mr Bennett said there was no commitment to pursuing any new legal cases against Uber, and Premier Colin Barnett had suggested Uber was “right here to remain”.
He stated the industry was affected by “disorderly, defacto deregulation” and much more prosecutions of Uber drivers must have proceeded.
Transport Services Manager Director Nina Lynne told the court 29 Uber drivers had been or have been getting prosecuted, and no more charges would be laid till these cases had been completed.
Government lawyer Craig Bydder told the court the contact for higher prosecution was “contrary to authority”.
Mr Bydder stated there was a distinction between not prosecuting and not taking action, and situations were ongoing.
Obligation to prosecute will be clarified: lawyer
Outdoors court, Mr Bennett stated the case was not about compensation.
“Potentially it will clarify the government’s obligations in relation to Uber, no matter whether or not they are obliged to prosecute or whether there’s a constructive policy of not prosecuting,” Mr Bennett stated.
“This is not about compensation, it’s about a level playing field and the government’s attitude will be identified at the finish of a green paper followed by a white paper.
“That is all 3 to 5 years off, the market wants to know the position just before then.”
One of the named applicants, Peter Martin, read from a statement outdoors court in which he accused the Government of corruption and incompetence.
“The Government is stealing our plates and without paying any compensation to us,” he mentioned.
“We abide by the rules of purchase, and operating our taxis, set by the Government, but it is supporting the overseas, illegal operations of these illegal ride sharers.”
Justice Tottle has reserved his choice.
Topics: courts-and-trials, road-transport, government-and-politics, perth-6000