The commercial passenger vehicle industry is in a mess and it’s time the Government did “the right thing” to make it safe and viable again according to Transport Matters Party leader Rod Barton.
In parliament this week Mr Barton took the opportunity of the debate on an fishing licence compensation bill and emergency service superannuation legislation to remind the Government of the damage it had done to the taxi and hire car industry and the importance of fairness across industries.
“The very generous compensation package offered to Gippsland Lakes commercial fishing licence holders is an insult and a kick in the guts to an industry that is crippled with debt and is on its knees,” said Mr Barton.
Following passing of the bill yesterday Gippsland lakes Fishing Licence holders will receive market value of $371,000 for each licence, a further $60,000 to retire their fishing equipment, plus loss of income compensation calculated on a “golden” harvest period.
“Where is the compensation for the loss of income for the taxi licence owners and their drivers? They were impacted then and it continues today. The Andrews government should go back to the valuer-general and look at the income for, say, the three years prior to the illegal entry of Uber and compensate those who were so badly affected. Those reforms and the explosion of illegal rideshare more than halved their rates of income to below the living wage,” he said.
Mr Barton said the Commercial Passenger Vehicle industry was a joke with more than 100,000 drivers and over 70,000 cars fighting in the streets for jobs.
“There is an alarming increase of young women being harassed in the streets and some have been assaulted by unscrupulous people masquerading as rideshare drivers. This legislation has created an environment that provides opportunities for those predators to act in this way.
“After years of regulations having been developed because of the need to make taxis safer with cameras, GPS tracking and education, we have allowed a foreign rideshare company to set the rules that suit them. They have played this government off a break,” he said.
Mr Barton quoted from hansard in 2013 and 2016 when current Government Ministers showed their support for the taxi industry and acknowledged that taxi licences were a form a superannuation for the industry.
“Perpetual taxi licences were seen as superannuation—in fact encouraged by Labor governments. They were held as collateral by banks and rolled into superannuation funds, and they served as a source of ongoing retirement income for those retired from the industry but able to lease out their licence for a fair ongoing income. Owning a taxi licence was superannuation,” he said.
Mr Barton said it was never too late to do what was right and said he would continue to fight for fairness and the rights of those hurt by the CPV reforms.