Melbourne Airport has been in disarray as touters have continued to illegally harass passenger arrivals.
Illegal touts hang around the arrivals area, touting their services often without a registered commercial passenger vehicle license and many to scam travellers with excessive fares. These touts have been known to be aggressive and predatory with many refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer.
The Victorian Government passed an amendment of the Transport Legislation Bill in 2019 making touting illegal again in Victoria, after an explosion of complaints. Since then, touting has continued to take place, putting the safety of the travelling public at risk.
Cross-bench MP Mr Rod Barton says it is one of the most repeated complaints he receives. He believes the industry’s regulator, the CPVV, until recently has not been taking this issue seriously.
“Despite the touting ban being introduced in 2019 we have only just seen the CPVV begin to enforce the ban in the past weeks. Touting remains a problem. You only have to spend a minute in the Tullamarine arrivals hall to see just how prevalent touting still is,” he says.
Mr Barton says that touting is not only dangerous but also means work is being unlawfully stolen from registered drivers who are following the rules.
“The last few years have been incredibly difficult for the taxi and hire car industry. It is frankly unfair the regulator has allowed this illegal activity to take place for so long as it undermines the ability for legal drivers to earn a living wage.”
The taxi reforms of 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant financial suffering in the taxi and hire car industry. This was exacerbated by the fact that many non-employing sole traders were unable to access support during the pandemic.
Mr Barton believes it is more important more than ever that the government and the CPVV work together to create a clear pathway forward for the industry. He believes the measures taken by the government and the CPVV this past week is but a small step forward.
“Unfortunately, it has taken a huge number of complaints to convince the CPVV that enforcement is needed. It is my understanding from discussions with key stakeholders that the CPVV has faced pressure from both the government and the industry to step up and fulfill its role as the regulator.”
Media contact: Norm Dunn, Chief of Staff Rod Barton MP, 0438 175 113