Bi-partisan Interest in Autonomous Vehicles must lead to Effective Regulation

8 March 2016


Canberra Business Chamber has welcomed the strong interest expressed by both ACT Labor and Liberals in autonomous vehicles, but wants this quickly converted into regulation which establishes the Territory as the leading jurisdiction when it comes to the trial and introduction of this technology.

“We welcome the Chief Minister’s address today publicly proclaiming ACT Government support for autonomous vehicles and note this follows the bill recently tabled by Alistair Coe,” Canberra Business Chamber Chair, Glenn Keys said.

“This excitement about autonomous vehicles must now turn into action. Canberra Business Chamber calls on all parties to support a regulatory environment that tells the world the ACT is at the forefront when it comes to application of autonomous vehicle technology.”

Canberra Business Chamber believes regulation must be enacted as soon as possible, as this will attract autonomous vehicle trials and investment to the ACT.

“The Chamber understands the ACT can already allow trials through disallowable instruments,” Mr Keys said. “However, rather than taking a piecemeal approach to trials, where companies will have to seek permission and wait for a process to be completed, we would encourage regulation that makes Canberra a canvas where developers are encouraged to come and create.

“We agree safety, red tape and other challenges have to be addressed, but we are confident that as both parties have indicated their support for autonomous vehicles, they can successfully work together to implement effective legislation.”

The Chamber would like to see the regulatory framework in Canberra attract commercial interest and enable an autonomous vehicle ‘social application’ trial to commence this year.

“As the Chief Minister pointed out, Canberra’s roads, size and population, and internationally-respected research bodies make us the perfect location for autonomous vehicle trials,” Mr Keys agreed.

“We commend the Government for its stated commitment to working with the Chamber, the community and a range experts to understand how it can best support a trial. The ACT needs a timeline for introduction of legislation and implementation of autonomous vehicle trails – preferably to occur this calendar year.”

The Chamber has formed a steering group to consider and inform the next steps leading up to the commencement of a trial and will also work with legislators to ensure the legislative framework for the ACT is appropriate.

Media Contact: Robyn Hendry, CEO Canberra Business Chamber 0418 462 151