Latest News


Media Releases

Queensland Taxi Review – Letter to the Minister

Feb 6, 2024 | News

Recently, I have been asked by some taxi licence holders in Queensland if I could write to the Queensland Transport Minister Mellish, expressing my view on the unintended consequences of the taxi reforms that came into play in 2018 in Victoria. Queensland has so far resisted to follow Victoria, however our colleagues in Queensland are concerned that they are heading down the same path! The following is my view.

Subject: Taxi review
Dear Minister Mellish,
Congratulations on your recent appointment to the position of Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads and Minister for Digital Services.
My name is Rod Barton and I was co-founder of the Transport Matters Party in Victoria. In November 2018, I was elected as a member of the Victorian Legislative Council, proudly representing the Eastern Metropolitan Region in the Victorian Parliament, and before this I was the President of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Association, I worked for over 30 years in the taxi and hire-car industry.
I still have skin in the game, I bring a unique experience and knowledge to the current debate re deregulation of the taxi and hire car industry.
It is with this background in mind that I write to you as a new Queensland Transport Minister, while you are considering any changes to the taxi and hire car industry in Queensland. I urge you to consider the unintended consequences that has impacted the Victorian industry since deregulation to accommodate Uber in 2018.
It is my view that it was socially and economically irresponsible of the former Andrew’s government to flood the Victorian market with vehicles from 8000 commercial passenger vehicles to over 100,000. Andrew’s government have left ex licence holders with legacy debt that has led to loss of homes, businesses and superannuation, for those working in the industry we have created the working poor, where ride share and taxi drivers (over 60%) earn below the minimum wage let alone a living wage.
With the Queensland Olympics Games fast approaching. I do this with a clear and underlying concern that Queensland does not go blindly and unnecessarily follow down the same deregulated path that was taken by the previous Victorian and NSW Governments, which has proven to be disastrous for licence holders, operators and drivers, this has led to a lowering of standards to consumers and a diminished service to those vulnerable in our communities needing disability services from taxis.
Issues concerning the legalisation of Uber by Australian governments is no longer of any primary concern, but the future of the taxi industry is! Consumers are rightly concerned over taxi and ride share standards, safety, price gouging, price surging, fare refusals, non compliance of regulations and legislation, touting and a failure to adequately ensure that the disability services within the community are adequately catered for.
The upcoming $182 million takeover of 13CABS (Australia’s largest taxi fleet) by Singapore’s ComfortDelGro if approved by our regulators, will inevitably see the Australian taxi marketplace soon controlled by two foreign companies, both it and Uber, both of whose primary concerns are likely to not necessarily be about any community service standards that should exist, or the needs of Australian people, but perhaps simply about the profits to their offshore shareholders.
I would very much urge you to carefully consider the stated objectives and goals of your relevant legislation and ask yourself whether or not these are currently being met or will continue to be met because of past and future policy decisions? I would also then urge you to consider the financial impact that past and future government decisions may have had or will have on your Queensland business partners who acquired Taxi Service Licenses from Queensland state governments.
I must remind you that these are hard working Australian families who purchased taxi licences, for many english not being their first language, that they are deserving of your compassion, these working families who purchased taxi licences in good faith did so because governments encouraged them too, they were led to believe this was a safe purchase! They bought jobs and worked diligently and should be treated fairly and respectfully. Something we failed to do in Victoria.
If I can ever assist in any way, I would be more than happy to meet with you and share our experiences.
Rod Barton

Share this:

Related News

Would you support S Plates for the Elderly?

Would you support S Plates for the Elderly?

Yesterday, I participated in a conversation with Oliver Peterson on radio station 6PR Perth. "Should we have S plates for senior drivers? We have L plates for learner drivers and P plates for probationary drivers." I say no! Hear the conversation below.

Uber “Kill Switch” Claim

Uber “Kill Switch” Claim

The class action against Uber by Maurice Blackburn is scheduled for the second week of March in the Supreme Court. It has been a long journey, and a long time coming. Much work has been done by an extremely talented team to get here. Over 8000 registrants around...

Tax Cuts

Tax Cuts

From today’s Herald Sun today a scale of the new stage 3 tax cuts. Lot of people are whipping themselves into a frenzy over Albanese Government stage 3 tax cuts because they changed their position in the best interest of the majority of workers. It’s pretty simple to...