Updated September 10, 2018 09:43:15 It’s been a year since the launch of the car rental industry in Victoria and the national debate around car rentals is heating up.
Victoria is the first state to make car rental legislation mandatory, with the legislation to be phased in over the next four years.
In Melbourne, a new law was passed last year requiring car rental companies to provide customers with an app to check whether the car they’re renting is available.
The app must be available in Victoria on all platforms and must show that the car is available on the day the customer pays.
The legislation also requires car rental businesses to ensure that their app allows users to check availability on all devices.
Queensland introduced similar legislation last year.
The new law also requires rental companies and operators to offer their app to users in Queensland to make sure the car can be rented in Queensland.
The new laws in Melbourne will come into effect from June next year, but they won’t go into effect until December 2019.
In Queensland, the legislation was passed in the Senate on Thursday, with Labor supporting the bill, and the Coalition opposed.
As with most of the national car rental debate, the debate is centred around affordability, with consumers keen to find a car they can afford and find the best deal on the market.
Victoria is the only state in Australia where rental rates are set at a fixed rate of $30 a week, and those rates have gone up by about 25 per cent in the past year.
A total of 16 car rental properties were listed for sale in Melbourne in the first four months of the year, according to listings data provider Carrefour.
There were 563 car rental deals listed in Victoria in the period of June to September.
Of those, a total of 547 were available for rent on the same day the listing was made available.
More: What’s happening in car rental market?
The Victorian Government’s push for car rental reforms is set to be backed by the National Car Rental Association, which says that the new laws will help the industry “protect its most valuable asset, its customer.”
The car rental sector has been in the spotlight since the Australian Bureau of Statistics last month published its annual car rental survey.
The ABS said that around one in five people in Victoria used car rental services in the three months to July.
“The data shows that most people who use car rental and other car-sharing services, such as those in Melbourne, do so because they want a car,” said the ABS data scientist, Dr Mark Latham.
Latham said that the Victorian Government was targeting the market at people who want a vehicle but are reluctant to rent one.
He said the government’s legislation will help encourage car rental firms to offer car-rental services in Melbourne.
Car rental companies that want to introduce the new legislation are expected to come out of the “early adopter” phase of the rollout, which includes an online booking system and a trial period of three months, Latham said.
However, car rental business owner and co-owner, Mark Papp, said the new rules would be controversial.
“There’s a lot of anger that’s been directed at us and at the industry,” he said.
“It’s a big jump in rent-a-car prices.”
Mr Papp said he would be surprised if the industry’s move to allow car rental is welcomed.
Mr Latham, who runs Carrefours car rental website, said it was difficult to predict how much people would be willing to pay.
“[The legislation] will be very difficult to get through the Senate and the Upper House because people are very keen to see it happen,” he added. ABC/AAP