More taxi assistance, lockout laws scrapped in early signs of election
Sarah Vogler & Madura McCormack, The Courier-Mail
Taxis’ latest weapon
MORE help could be on the way for taxi and limousine owners struggling after the legalisation of ridesharing services such as Uber as the Queensland Government moves to neutralise another contentious issue ahead of a looming election.
The Courier-Mail understands Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and his department have been holding meetings with industry to discuss compensation and other measures to help ensure a level playing field following last year’s decision to legalise ridesharing services in Queensland.
The Government is due to introduce a second tranch of changes later this year to help the sector cope with reforms.
It is understood changes are being considered to the compensation available to affected licence holders while limousine licence holders could be allowed to keep their limo plates to distinguish their service from other options available to the public.
Currently the compensation scheme allows for $20,000 per taxi service licence, capped at two licences per licence holder, and $10,000 per limousine service licence (other than special purpose limousines) with no licence cap.
It follows changes to the lockout laws approved by Cabinet yesterday.
When asked about the changes, Mr Hinchliffe said he had been working with the industry to “build an even fairer system and a level playing field for all operators”.
“So far more than $18 million has been paid to eligible taxi and limousine licence holders through the Palaszczuk Government’s $100 million industry assistance package to help operators adjust to the industry’s new regulatory framework,” he said.
“That’s more than 746 applications paid to date to eligible licence holders. And there’s more on the way with the majority of the remaining 834 applications to the QRAA for assistance processed and awaiting payment.”
Mr Hinchliffe said the Government had been working with industry to ensure “a co-operative and productive approach to the second stage of the State Government’s reforms which are expected to be introduced to Parliament in the coming months”.
“I’m committed to continuing to work openly and constructively to achieve that for both the industry and passengers regardless of where they operate or travel in Queensland.”
One Nation seized on discontent within the taxi industry last year, following the ridesharing changes, and pledged to campaign in a state election on giving the industry a fairer deal.