NSW moves to regulate peer-to-peer economy

The New South Wales government has moved closer to implementing a "flexible" regulatory framework for the peer-to-peer economy, arguing that it will drive innovation and fuel start-ups across the economy.

A policy position paper released by the NSW government last week – The Collaborative Economy in NSW – stated that by implementing “sensible” and "flexible" regulation, a significant “boost” will be provided to start-ups and entrepreneurs.

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said the peer-to-peer or collaborative economy represents significant economic opportunities for the state.

“Digital innovation is transforming the way people do business in every city and every country around the world. The reality is the collaborative economy is here to stay,” Mr Dominello said.

“We are living in the information age and it is vital that government policies embrace new technologies and enable businesses to operate with certainty.”

The paper introduced five guiding principles, developed to help government agencies navigate the regulatory challenges created by new business models within the collaborative economy.

These include: support a culture of innovation; ensure regulation is fit for purpose in the digital age; maintain consumer protection and safety; promote competition; adopt an agile approach to government procurement.

In a report commissioned by the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) in October last year, Deloitte Access Economics found that the growth of the collaborative economy in NSW has been fast – contributing $504 million to the NSW economy last year.

Moreover, the report said that the key businesses within the collaborative economy can be found within the financial services sector.

"We recognise that Sydney has an advantage in financial services which could see significant development," the report said.

"Nonetheless, as the activity grows, the risks associated with financial services means that appropriate regulatory oversight will likely be more important in this sector than any other."

[Related: Will P2P lending threaten mortgages]

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