CONTROVERSIAL ridesharing company Uber has denied it is looking to expand into Ballarat, despite advertising for jobs locally.
A ‘driver partner’ position with UberX has been advertised on the Seek website since Wednesday night for the Ballarat and Central Highlands regions, however, it is expected to be months before certain ridesharing services, including some Uber transport initiatives, will be legalised in Victoria.
Despite the advertisement, an Uber spokesperson said emphatically that there is no “current plans” to launch in Ballarat.
“However, we do know regional communities are suffering from underemployment and unemployment and believe they would benefit from having the economic opportunities that ridesharing brings,” the spokesperson said.
“We would like to launch in more regional centres but we are waiting on a regulatory response from government."
The state government will introduce legislation after the winter break to regulate ridesharing.
Uber canvased Ballarat in July last year, offering an ice cream delivery service to local users. A statement from Uber at the time said Ballarat was targeted for the exercise based on the high number of residents who had the Uber phone application.
Ballarat Taxis Co-Operative chairman Stephen Armstrong said he had no problem with Uber operating in Ballarat if the service was adequately regulated.
“It’s not an issue for us, as long as they’re on a level playing field when they’re regulated,” he said.
“It’s nothing new to us. We’re waiting on outcomes from the state government.”
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said ridesharing services raise complex issues on passenger safety, equity for the existing taxi industry and access for people with a disability that need to be addressed in legislation.
“We are working through those those issues in detail right now, to ensure we get the right outcome for passengers and the industry – in Ballarat, and across Victoria,” she said.
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