- Australian Associated Press
- 9:09PM March 9, 2017
Victorian taxi drivers have declared “war” on the Andrews government after its controversial taxi reform bill passed the lower house of parliament.
The bill was passed on Thursday afternoon just hours after angry cabbies tried to storm through the building’s front doors as a protest outside reached boiling point.
Under the bill, which passed the lower house on Thursday afternoon, Uber will be legalised and existing taxi drivers compensated as the state creates a single registration system for cabs, hire cars and ride-sharing services.
Under the shake-up, all commercial passenger vehicle operators will be hit with the equivalent of a $2 levy per trip from 2018 to cover compensation costs.
A group representing the state’s cabbies are furious the government is refusing to renegotiate its compensation deal.
“They have with a stroke of a pen passed legislation in the lower house to effectively wipe out licences. The gloves are off, war has been declared,” Victorian Taxi Families said in a statement on Thursday night.
“We will bring this city to a standstill, we need everybody on deck. This is war.”
Through the package, taxi licence holders will receive $100,000 for their first licence and $50,000 per licence for up to three more – despite some owners paying up to $500,000 per licence.
The bill passed unamended “despite Liberal attempts to remove financial support for the existing taxi industry,” the government said in a statement.
“The Liberal Party are hell bent on abandoning local, family-run taxi-businesses and giving multi-national companies free-reign to operate in Victoria without accreditation,” Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said in a statement.
News of the bill passing followed a day of protesting outside the state’s parliament when taxi drivers rallied over their compensation payouts and tried to storm the building.
The move forced a lockdown by security.