Labor Bill sells out the taxi industry

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Proposed changes to the taxi industry that would result in a $2 levy applied to every fare are unfair to both passengers and licence holders according to Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy.

Mr McCurdy said Labor’s Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill 2017 removed taxi licence fees and enabled easier entry into the commercial passenger vehicle industry while creating a $2 permanent tax on every passenger-carrying trip made by a taxi or ridesharing vehicle.

“The $2 levy will hurt passengers by putting up the cost of every fare while for taxi licence holders the level of compensation this levy is supposed to fund is insufficient,” Mr McCurdy said.

“There has been a lack of consultation with the taxi industry regarding this bill which is appalling. Regional Victorians are absolutely disgusted with the lack of consultation that has taken place.

“A small number of taxi licence holders will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the reforms, but many others are feeling disenfranchised and many families will be affected by this bill.”

Mr McCurdy said he had met with a Wangaratta taxi driver who told him the average fare he collects is $12-15.

“So $2 as a share of that amount is a much higher rate than a metropolitan fare where the average might be $25-$30. Again, regional Victorians are paying more than their fair share.”

Mr McCurdy said Labor’s Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill 2017 sold out the taxi industry.

“We know that some of the older, more vulnerable passengers in our community using the subsidised multipurpose taxi program might reduce their number of trips and hence be even more vulnerable to social exclusion or not going to the doctor when they need to,” he said.

“This is an underhand way for the Labor Government to reduce the number of trips made under the multipurpose taxi program that assists the travel needs of people with severe and permanent disabilities by offering subsidised fares.”

Mr McCurdy said Labor had ignored many recommendations in the ground breaking inquiry into the taxi industry by the Liberals and Nationals.

“As a result regional Victorians will suffer,” he said.

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