I rise to speak on the State Taxation and Treasury Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. This bill makes a number of administrative changes to taxation laws, but what I would like to discuss is the motor vehicle exemption for wheelchair-accessible commercial passenger vehicles. This will save operators nearly $3000 off their next vehicle. This is a win for essential wheelchair-access taxi vehicles in Victoria. Our wheelchair-access taxis are the backbone of local communities and are relied upon by thousands of Victorians with a disability. Putting wheelchair-accessible taxis on the road is expensive and in many cases financially unviable. We also know this because taxi drivers and operators throughout Victoria have been begging for assistance to keep this essential service on the road. Those in the industry have long relied on cross-subsidisation. What this means is that a wheelchair-accessible taxi service can only be provided by an operator if they are subsidised by somewhat more profitable work than normal taxi sedan work.
Extending the multipurpose taxi program to 80 000 Uber drivers has significantly reduced business for taxi operators and reduced the safety for the travelling public. For the past year and a half I have had the industry telling me just how much harder it is to keep wheelchair-accessible vehicles on the road, with operators already removing their vehicles because they cannot continue running at a loss. This exemption acknowledges the importance of our wheelchair-accessible taxis and their essential role in our community. I hope that this small change can help alleviate some of the financial burden experienced by these operators. There are a couple of requirements for this exemption. The vehicles must meet the requirements to provide unbooked work and must be less than two years old. The exemption will be introduced from 1 July this year.
Changes like these make a difference to our industry, and I continue to fight on many fronts for a sustainable pathway forward. I am still fighting for further transition payments for licence-holders, an increase in taxi fares and regulations that will ensure a true level playing field within our industry. You may not be hearing about this every day, but I can assure you not a day goes by when I am not taking these issues to the government. I commend this bill to the house.