These are the states and territories where Uber is (and isn't) legal

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Queensland has announced it too will legalise ride-booking services like Uber which have shaken up the taxi industry, leaving the Northern Territory as the only hold-out in Australia.
However, while all the other states and territories have announced plans to legalise Uber, not all of them have passed the relevant legislation, nor have they got the exact same regulations.
This is where the law currently stands around Australia.

ACT

The ACT was the first among Australia's states and territories to legalise Uber, doing so in October last year.
Its regulations include background checks, vehicle inspections and insurance requirements for drivers.

New South Wales

The New South Wales Government also legalised ride-booking services last year, with Uber drivers being required to have criminal and car-safety checks.
As a result of the change, traditional cab drivers were given a $250 million "industry adjustment package".
Taxis still have exclusive access to cab ranks and "hail jobs" — where taxis are hailed on the street rather than booked in advance.

South Australia

Uber and other services like it have been allowed to operate legally in South Australia since the start of July.
Taxi services were offered compensation including $30,000 per licence and all metro taxi trips will have a $1 levy to fund this assistance.
There's also a new maximum penalty of $15,000 for breaches of the Passenger Transport Act — which covers failing to meet safety standards and not having the correct accreditation.

Queensland

Ride-booking services will be legal in the Sunshine State from September 5.
As part of the regulatory changes, there will be a $100 million assistance package for the taxi industry, which includes $20,000 one-off payments for taxi licence holders.

Victoria

Uber was effectively legalised in Victoria by a court case earlier this year, but the State Parliament then counter-acted this by boosting the powers of the Taxi Services Commissioner.
An announcement on how ride-booking services will be regulated in the state has not yet been made, but Victoria is getting closer to legalisation after the State Government struck a deal with the Sex Party on what the regulations should look like.

Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government has tabled legislation that would allow Uber to operate legally in Tasmania.
It has cleared the Lower House, but is yet to pass in the Upper House.
As part of the laws, drivers will be required to pass medical and police checks and be authorised to work with vulnerable people.

Western Australia

The state has announced a plan to deregulate the taxi industry and allow competitors like Uber to operate, but the Western Australian Government says the full overhaul of the laws is unlikely to be completed before the 2017 election.
The plan includes a $27.5 million "transition assistance package" to help the taxi industry adapt. This includes compensation payments of $20,000 for taxi plate owners.

Northern Territory

Uber remains banned in the Northern Territory as a result of the Government's decision earlier this year not to make changes to the law which would have allowed it to operate legally.
However, the Government has not ruled out legalising ride-booking services at a later date, and says the Department of Transport is reviewing interstate legislation.




Uber to be legalised in Queensland, $100m assistance package offered to taxi industry

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Ride-booking services such as Uber will be legalised in Queensland from September 5, with a $100 million assistance package to be offered to the taxi industry.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe made the announcement following a review of options for personalised transport in Queensland.
To help the taxi industry, 80 pieces of red tape will be cut; that is on top of the $100 million assistance package, which includes a one-off payment of $20,000 per taxi licence, capped at two licences, and $10,000 per limousine licence.
Taxis will continue to have exclusive access to hail and rank markets, the maximum age limit for taxis will be removed, and annual renewal fees will be waived for 12 months.

$100m assistance package for taxis

  • $20,000 one-off payment for taxi licence holders, capped at two licences
  • $26.7m hardship fund
  • $4.3m waived fees for 12 months
  • $5.6m incentives for wheelchair accessible taxis
  • $3.75m for business advisory
Ms Palaszczuk said it was time the Government created a level playing field for limousines, Uber and taxis.
"This is because the taxi industry is different from many other industries that have faced disruption, because it has been heavily regulated by Government for generations," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"We are embracing innovative new technologies and business models right across our economy and up and down our state, and the personalised transport sector is no different."

The changes will be introduced in two stages - the Government will regulate to allow Uber to operate from early next month without a special licence, however a new licence system will come in next year, which will require legislation.
There will be no new tax on passengers, as was introduced in New South Wales.
Mr Hinchliffe said the reforms would deliver an estimated $474 million benefit to the state.
"[It] will open up the market and create opportunities for new and existing participants to respond to market changes, which will ultimately drive competition," he said.
In an email response, Uber thanked customers for their support.
"This is recognition of the positive impact ridesharing is having in our state as a result of your ongoing support - thank you," it read.
"It means more people right across Queensland will now stand to benefit from more choice to safe, reliable and affordable transport."
The RACQ has welcomed the decision saying it is the best option offered by a review of personalised transport.
Taxi Council Queensland chief executive officer Benjamin Wash called the review into personalised transport a waste of millions of dollars.
"It appears as though the Government has deceived Queenslanders by pretending to establish an independent review when the results were clearly predetermined," he said.
"It's basically a carbon copy of what happened in New South Wales, which is already creating problems and causing the Government there to reconsider aspects of their foolish decision."


Uber gets green light to operate in Victoria

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Victorians could soon be slugged a $2 levy on every taxi, Uber or hire car trip under an industry shake-up that has outraged taxpayer and commuter advocates.
The levy is part of the state government's plan to legalise ride-sharing services like Uber, while compensating existing taxi drivers and also funding a $378 million buy-back scheme.
The government will buy back a single taxi licence for $100,000 and pay $50,000 for the second licence of owners, with a so-called "fairness fund" providing $75 million of immediate hardship support.
Taxi fares will also be deregulated by 2018.
Who will be charged?
All commercial passengers vehicles will be charged the levy, which the Andrews government expects will raise $44 million a year, and is to run for at least eight years. 
The new levy will be introduced from 2018, but individual operators will be able to choose how they pass the levy on to passengers.
"It may well be less than $2 for a short trip and perhaps more than $2 for a longer trip," Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Tuesday.
"It will be a matter for them [providers] and that will be another point of competitive difference."
Mr Andrews said the changes would create level playing field for the taxi industry.
"There will be more choice. There will be greater value," he said. "This is comprehensive reform, but it is grounded in fairness."
'Outrageous tax slug'
However, the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance has condemned the government for introducing what it described as "the world's largest tax on ride-sharing consumers".
"This is an outrageous and economically damaging tax slug by a government that is clearly more interested in bailing out mates than the taxpayers of Victoria," said Tim Andrews, executive director of the alliance.
"There is no economic justification to bailout a dying industry, because it has failed to keep up with technology.
"To use hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to pay off cabbies is simply morally repugnant. This craven cash grab means Victorian will be slugged with the world's highest tax on ride-sharing. In the United States, only one state (Massachusetts) has instituted such a tax - and it was five cents."
State opposition public transport spokesman David Hodgett said Mr Andrews had broken an election promise by announcing a "new tax".
"There is nothing fair about slugging consumers $2 every time they take a taxi or Uber," he said.
"This means Victorians will pay more for Uber than any other state."
Uber 'reasonably comfortable'
While he was "reasonably comfortable" with the proposed regulations, Uber Victoria general manager Matt Denman said the company wanted more detail on exactly what the $2 levy will be spent on.
As the company was still reviewing the new laws, Mr Denman would not say whether the fee would be passed directly on to customers who use the service.
He also declined to say if driver earnings would be protected.
"Uber's position is that anything that makes transport more expensive is a bad thing for consumers," he said.
"We would ask and urge the government ... to provide a full justification and economic modelling for any proposed levy."
Mr Denman also called on the state government to be transparent about who receives compensation from the taxi bailout war chest and why.
Victorian Taxi Association chief executive David Samuel said the taxi industry had to adjust to a changing market, but wanted fairness for people who had invested in it.
He said he hoped fares would be cheaper in the future. 
"We can't say at this point by how much," he said. 
With Uber paving the way for the legalisation of all ride-sharing, Mr Denman expected other competitors to begin popping up in Victoria.
"We're more than willing to see that competition; that can only be a good thing for consumers," he said.
London Rides director Elgan Potter said the latest announcement meant the company could bring a fleet of accessible cars to Victoria. London Rides cars are fitted with wheelchair access.
"We're aiming to lift the standards of taxi industry in Melbourne - we will deliver a superior service for the same price of a regular taxi," he said.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the government wanted to make sure taxi drivers were treated with respect.
In the coming two years the current taxi licensing system will be replaced with a single registration regime for all commercial passenger vehicles, including taxis and ride-sharing services.
There will also be a $75 million "fairness fund" for people experiencing hardship as a result of the changes, including funding to maintain transport options for people with a disability.
The new rules
Two pieces of legislation will be introduced to allow the changes to proceed.
The massive shake-up will result in the removal of taxi licensing, which will be replaced with a registration process for all operators.
All drivers, including Uber drivers, will need to be accredited by the Taxi Services Commission. They will all have to pass police, medical and driving history tests.
The knowledge test that is currently part of the taxi driver registration process will also be scrapped. However, drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles will have to complete an assessment.
The government will buy back a maximum of two taxi licences per licence holder. The government will pay $100,000 for the first taxi licence and $50,000 for the second per licence holder.
Sex Party MP Fiona Patten had introduced a private member's bill to legalise Uber before the government moved to make its own changes.
Ms Patten welcomed the latest announcement but said the $2 levy was too high. "I'd like to see the business plan and modelling for how they came to that figure," she said.
Taxi payments company Cabcharge chief executive Andrew Skelton said he hoped the reforms would create a fairer industry, but described the buyout package as "inadequate".
"While compensation for plate owners is imperative, it's fundamentally unfair that Victorian passengers will be made to subsidise what is essentially the government's decision and responsibility," he said.


Things to be aware of about fixed rate home loans with offset accounts

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How do fixed rate home loans with 100% offset accounts work?

Fixed rate mortgages let you ‘lock’ in a rate for a set period when you sign up to the loan. Lenders tend to offer different rates depending on the length of your fixed term, which will usually range between one and five years. Some lenders also offer fixed rate terms of as little as six months or as long as 10 years.
A fixed rate loan with a 100% offset account lets you link an account to your mortgage, with the balance of that account offsetting your principal loan amount. This can save you a considerable amount in interest, and can actively encourage you to save money. As this is a 100% offset account, the entire amount in the account can be used to reduce your principal.
Things to be aware of about fixed rate home loans with offset accounts
As with all home loan products, there are a few things to consider before applying. Some offset accounts come with account-keeping fees, so you should look into what you’ll be paying and whether this will eat into your savings.
Offset accounts are also not offered on all fixed rate loans, and may only be offered on more fully-featured home loans. These loans tend to come with higher interest rates and fees, so be sure to calculate the costs of the loan in regards of the savings you’ll receive.

How to compare these types of mortgages

  • Fixed term. Think about how long you want to be locked into the rate. As mentioned, terms can range from one to as many as 10 or even 15 years. Choose a term which you’ll be comfortable with, and remember that break fees are payable if you exit your loan before the term ends. If you plan to sell your property in the future ensure your fixed term accommodates this.
  • Fees. These type of loans may come with upfront and ongoing fees that could negate the savings you may make in the long run, so remember to take these into account.
  • Additional features. As well a
  • s an offset account, the home loan may offer you other features, such as a redraw facility, the ability to make additional repayments, or it may come as a package that offers discounts. Check to see if you stand to make any further savings.

Donny’s offset account

Let’s compare two scenarios with Donny, our savvy borrower.
In the first example, let’s say Donny has a home loan with a rate of 6%. His loan size is $400,000, meaning his repayments are approximately $2,398 a month. At this rate he’ll pay a total of $863,353 over the course of the loan, $463,353 of which is interest.
If he has an offset account and keeps $20,000 in it over the course of his loan, he would pay off his loan three years earlier, and would save $55,759 in interest.
His repayments would still be the same, but more of each repayment would go towards the principal (the loan amount) then the interest due. This would pay the loan off earlier.


benefits and danger from offset accounts

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 USING A CREDIT CARD TO MAXIMISE BENEFITS
This is simply an option to maximise the benefit of having your savings offset against your mortgage. If your credit card offers interest free days on purchases, this allows you to pay for your expenses and bills at the beginning of the month and leave your entire income sitting in your offset account. During that month, you pay no interest on your credit card debt, but your income is having the effect of offsetting your mortgage interest for a longer time, as it's sitting there untouched for that month. When your credit card bill is due, you simply transfer your money out of your offset account and onto your credit card so it's paid off in full. Because your credit card has interest free days, you don't have to worry about interest payments on that account at all.
If you don't think you'll remember to pay your bill before the due date, or if you don't want to risk it, you can ask your bank to set up an ‘auto-sweep’ option.
An 'auto-sweep' is when your bank automatically sets up a direct payment into your credit card account from your offset account for whatever amount is needed to pay down your balance to zero before the due date. You're guaranteed never to miss a payment and you don't have to try and remember due dates. It's all done for you.
If you're careful about spending less on your credit card than the amount you earn each month, you'll find that your savings will grow over time so the benefits you receive keep increasing.

Dangers of offset accounts

While it sounds relatively simple, an offset account can have drawbacks for some customers. This is especially true for those customers who choose to use the credit card option in conjunction with offset accounts and mortgages.
If you don’t use the credit card option and just accumulate the savings in your offset account, you will find that the amounts you pay interest are slowly reducing. But the temptation to spend more on your credit card than you earn is very high for some people. It's very important that you control your credit card spending to add up to less than the amount you earn.
I strongly suggest that consumers should split up their products between different providers as opposed to having them with the same lender. This is key because consumers can get the best products in the market and use finder.com.au to help them compare. I would discourage people from bundling products as usually these prices are not the best.
Perhaps instead use the offset account but transfer a fixed amount to your day to day savings account to use for living expenses. This way you will maximise the extra interest that you ordinarily pay on your mortgage.
This is because your income will be used to auto-sweep your credit card bill at the end of the month. If you don't have enough funds in that account to pay off the whole balance in full, you will retain a balance on your credit card that will immediately begin attracting interest at a very high rate.
On top of this, when your offset account is cleared to pay off your credit card, you risk your account being overdrawn, or simply being emptied. This negates the value of having an offset account at all if it's empty.
But if your lender decides to overdraw your account, you could be hit with overdrawn fees, as well as hefty interest charges on your credit card account. If you really don't feel that you have the discipline to keep your credit card spending under control or if you think you'll spend more than you earn, an offset account is not recommended.

100% Offset And Redraw Home Loans and How 100% offset accounts work ?

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Offset accounts can be excellent for reducing the time it takes you to pay off your mortgage and can save you tens of thousands of dollars in interest.


When you set up your mortgage, some lenders will offer you the option of an offset account. Like the name suggests, an offset account involves your savings compensating for a portion of the amount that you borrowed.

Offset accounts explained

Sample Image

If you owe $200,000 on your mortgage and you have $20,000 in savings in your offset account, your interest will be calculated on your mortgage balance, minus your savings balance. This means you're only paying interest on $180,000 instead of the full $200,000 that you owe.

As your savings grow, the amount you save on your interest bill also grows. Effectively, this reduces the amount of interest charged on your mortgage statement. When you consider that your repayment amount doesn't change, this allows you to pay more of each payment directly off the principal amount and less in interest costs each month.

Earning interest on savings?

While it's true you're not earning any interest on the money you leave in your offset account, you're actually gaining more than you lose. In most cases, the interest you'd be earning on your savings is lower than the amount you're charged on your mortgage. You'd also be paying tax on the amount of interest you earn, so it's reduced even further.

How mortgages benefit from offset accounts

Every repayment you make to your mortgage is comprised of a principal portion and an interest portion. This is because your mortgage payments are reduced which means they're calculated to ensure you pay off your loan over the total loan term, as well as paying your interest charges. As your level of savings increases, the interest that you need pay decreases.



Should I use an offset account or invest in an online savings account?

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Should I use an offset account or invest in an online savings account?

People ask me, 'if I invest my cash in an online savings account and use the interest to pay off my mortgage, does that save me more loan interest than an offset account?' If the purpose is to payoff home loan debt, no is my answer. Online savings accounts earn less in interest than lenders charge in interest for home loans. And, with a savings account, tax will be paid on the interest earned.

What sneaky fees do I need to be aware of?

Some offset accounts charge fees on standard transactions. It is well worth putting the research in as to whether the home loan you're applying for has a dud transaction account.

Variable rate 100% offset account home loans

Offset accounts could potentially save you thousands in mortgage repayments over the life of your home loan.

Home Loan with Offset Account Offer

With the Loans.com.au Offset Variable Home Loan you get a low variable interest rate, plus no application or ongoing fees. Plus a flexible 100% offset account facility.
  • Interest Rate of 4.14% p.a.
  • Comparison Rate of 4.16% p.a.
  • Application Fee of $0
  • Maximum LVR: 80%
  • Minimum Borrowing: $50,000
  • Maximum Borrowing: $2,000,000


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