Business urges caution on regulation of on-demand economy

| February 27, 2019

The on-demand sector is benefitting Victoria’s economy and the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce should take care to avoid recommending regulatory changes that damage opportunities for on-demand businesses and workers.

The Inquiry is examining the on-demand sector, also known as the gig-economy, which has rapidly established in response to technology developments, and consumer and worker demand. Examples include ride-sharing and food delivery businesses, Uber and Deliveroo, and platforms for hiring freelance workers, Airtasker and Freelancer.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said the reason why the on-demand economy is so successful is because, like sole traders and many small business operations, it offers flexibility, service integration and responsiveness.

“On-demand platforms can allow businesses to scale up and down according to customer demand, which is especially relevant to small business and start-ups,” he said.

“These platforms are disrupting and challenging the way Victorians work, traditional business models and the regulatory environment.”

To ensure that this innovation is not compromised, the Victorian Chamber submission argues that any policy or regulatory response should:

o   only occur at the federal level

o   not impair innovation or competition, while ensuring competitive neutrality between traditional and on-demand businesses

o   only target vulnerable workers, without impacting high-end on-demand work facilitated by platforms

o   not impede the broader use of independent contracting by businesses and consumers.