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Passenger Transport Act Review (PTA Review)


The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) commenced a review of passenger transport legislation in December 2008.  The aim of the review was to develop and then implement a batter and more contemporary legislative framework, which is clear in its intent, to support the safe, sustainable and affordable delivery of passenger transport services.

Following the conduct of extensive consultation with the Tasmanian community and all sectors of the passenger transport industry, (involving bus, taxi, luxury hire car and limited passenger services operators), as well as with the community transport sector, legislation was developed that largely reflected the views of these stakeholders.  The legislation was also crafted to take into account the need to make the accreditation scheme easier to administer and more flexible.

Current Situation

This Review has now been completed and the three Acts that make up the passenger transport reform package have been passed by both Houses of Parliament unamended.

The three Bills are:

In summary, the first Act deals with operator accreditation, authorisation of regular passenger services, passenger service contracts, review of decisions and other miscellaneous matters.  The Taxi Amendment Act deals with the licensing of restricted hire vehicles (formerly Limited Passenger Services) and with other minor amendments, while the third Act deals with amendments relating to Ancillary Certificates and vehicle inspections.

Key Reforms

The key reforms are:

  • The new legislation makes it clear that, unless using a large passenger vehicle, community organisations that provide passenger transport to their clients do not require operator accreditation.  It should be noted that community transport providers utilising vehicles with 10 to 12 seats will be subject to a modified (less onerous) operator accreditation scheme. 

  • A new framework for operator accreditation that focuses on safety in the passenger transport industry, rather than imposing restrictions on competition, or making it difficult for new entrants to the passenger transport industry. It will also improve the operator accreditation scheme by making it easier to administer, and more flexible.

  • Accreditation will be required by:

    • All passenger transport services provided by a large passenger vehicle (including those operated by non-commercial and community transport organisations); and
    • all small passenger vehicles where:
      • a fare is paid; and
      • the service is available to the general public; and
      • the service is a transport concern.

  • Lowering the definition of a large passenger vehicle to match the Australian Design Rules definition of a bus (which is a vehicle with more than 9 seating positions including the driver, as constructed).  Presently, a large passenger vehicle is defined as ?a motor vehicle with a seating capacity of 13 or more adults, including the driver?. The legislation makes it clear that it is not possible to remove seats from vehicles simply to avoid regulation.

  • A revised vehicle inspection program resulting in a decrease in the number of vehicle inspections, and potentially, audits required under operator accreditation.  This will reduce compliance costs for operators, without compromising safety.

  • Provision of greater certainty, direction and increased flexibility in the approach to be adopted by Government to acquire regular passenger services (effectively bus services) in the future.

  • Removal of a perceived conflict of interest in the existing oversight arrangements, by vesting the contracting power in the Secretary of DIER, rather than with the Transport Commission.  The latter will retain responsibility for safety regulation.

  • Provision of a more streamlined process for the authorisation of new regular passenger services, but also allowing the Transport Commission to take into consideration the potential impact of those services on both existing and planned future services of incumbent operators.

  • Establishment of a clearer process for the procurement of new services, which includes dealing with emergency situations and the scope for the Secretary to authorise the trial of new routes.

  • Introduction of licensing and the requirement to display a licence number plate for Restricted Hire Vehicles (formerly known as limited passenger services) in the same way as taxis and luxury hire cars are required to do. Other than in specified circumstances the hiring of these vehicles must be booked in advance of the hiring.

  • Introduction of a new test to determine when a driver of a motor vehicle needs an Ancillary Certificate. An Ancillary Certificate is required when a driver is driving a vehicle used to operate a regular passenger service or to provide a passenger service where:

    • the passengers, or any of them, pay a fare; and
    • the service is available for use by any member of the general public; and
    • the service is a transport concern.

  • Enabling a vehicle defect notice to be issued in respect of a motor vehicle that is used to operate a passenger transport service that is (or may be) unroadworthy, or the vehicle does not comply with the relevant standards or statutory requirements.

Next Steps

The next stage of this project involves two major tasks.  These are:

  1. Development of supporting regulations to implement the key reforms, which will include the specification of fees and the identification and enactment of new offences.  If should be noted that the development of these regulations will involve consultation with relevant stakeholders.

  2. It is anticipated the implementation of the new legislation and the reforms listed above will occur from mid-2013.  If a staged program of implementation is required, DIER will provide all stakeholders with advance notice of when different systems and obligations will take effect.

Linkages with the Safe Community Transport Review (SCTR)

The PTA Review and the SCTR were initially undertaken as discreet projects but were combined into one project because the legislative instruments for achieving the aims of the SCTR are the same as those required to provide a more modern and up to date passenger transport Act.  With the passage of the passenger transport legislative package the SCTR project has also been completed.

For more information on the SCTR please refer to SCTR Web Page

Further Information & Comment

For any further information about the Review, or if you have any queries, or if you wish to provide any additional information about the proposed changes please contact:

By post:
Kristy Pereira
Passenger Transport Policy
Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources
GPO Box 936

By email:

By phone:
Kristy Pereira
6233 3165