NSW taxi compo decision offers a glimmer of hope: KAP
25th March 2022
Queensland taxi licence owners whose financial lives were ruined by the legalisation of ride-sharing platforms have been offered a glimmer of hope by the promise of a compensation package in New South Wales, Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.
Mr Dametto said the KAP had never given up the fight on behalf of the 3,000-plus taxi licence holders in Queensland whose livelihoods were destroyed when the welcome mat was rolled out for Uber, and other ride-share operators, in 2016.
He said the party was now urging the Queensland Government, and Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey, to follow NSW’s lead.
“This week in NSW we have seen some long over-due, but still welcome, steps towards finally addressing the injustices that our taxi industry have faced in recent years,” Mr Dametto said.
“At the KAP we have taken up the fight on this issue at the national-level, and it is very welcome to see the NSW Government taking steps towards providing genuine compensation.
“We now need to see the Queensland Government follow suite – at the end of the day, it was their decision that led to our taxi drivers losing everything.
“They invested in good faith, with the comfort of knowing the State Government had regulated the industry for decades and with no view that this would change and overnight, they had the rug ripped out from underneath.
“We understand that progress sometimes needs to happen, but fair compensation is the only compassionate way forward.”
This week it was reported a package had been drafted by the NSW Government’s expenditure review committee, likely to total $1 billion. This would equate to about $200,000 being paid to NSW’s approximately 5,000 licence holders.
It’s understood the scheme will be funded, at least in part, by an ongoing levy known as the NSW passenger service levy (in NSW this levy has applied to Uber since 2018 and amounts to $1 per completed trip).
Queensland has no such scheme.
There is bi-partisan support in NSW for compensation for taxi licence owners, with Labor Transport Spokeswoman Jo Haylen telling The Australian she was encouraged by the developments but that licencees should not have had to “wait this long for fair compensation.”
Mr Dametto said it was important that taxi licensees in Queensland received the same support.
While a nation-wide issue, Queensland’s taxi industry has been among the worst-affected by semi-de-regulation and the introduction of Uber and other ride-share services.
The value of taxi licences in Queensland plummeted from a peak of $500,000 in 2014, down to as little as $16,000 as the standard price for Brisbane licence during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
Semi-de-regulation of the industry fundamentally destroyed the livelihoods and investments of thousands of Queenslanders, many who were mum-and-day investors and battlers who had invested their life’s savings into the licences.