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Fair and equitable compensation for taxi plate owners.

Inuagural meeting of the ACT Taxi plate Owners Association – 9 March 2016

To all Act Taxi Plate Owners,

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Our Meeting last Wednesday 9 March was attended by the owners of 25 plates.  Apologies were received from another 22 plate owners whilst the balance of plate owners on mail out list gave no indication of their intentions.   I wish to thank those who supported us by their attendance on the day and those who advised their inability to attend.  It must be said that while there are many owners who reside outside Canberra and interstate and others away we had owners join us from Sydney, Brisbane and the south coast in attendance.  I thank them in particular for their support.

The meeting commenced at 2.00 PM and was in two parts –

(A) An Address and “Q and A” session lasting just under an hour with Dr Karl Alderson, Director General, ACT Government Directories, Chief Minister’s Policy and Cabinet Office and Mr Brook Dixon, Director of Regulatory Reform area of the ACT government Directories office and

(B) A close session upon their departure to addressing issues relating to the formation of an association.

(A) Dr Karl Alderson and Mr Brook Dixon’s input.

Following introduction Dr Alderson proceeded to address the meeting outlining his area of responsibility.  He is in the process of oversighting several phases of the transposition in government transport policy.  The monitoring of this process will be conducted over a two year period from September 2015 to September 2017 at the end of which a review would be conducted.   The review would sum up the effects on the industry and in particular the sale and transfer of plates and movements in the market place.  He said also that movements in other states were also being monitored and would be included in their final review considerations.  Most of this he related to me at the beginning of last December which followed in fact that which emerged last October.

Dr Alderson said that while the review was spread out from now to September or the end of 2017 there would be in fact be continual monitoring of the industry and input would be welcomed from us.  He appreciates that there will be impacts upon individuals and he would want to know of adverse effects flowing from their “reforms”.   In this regard we welcome ongoing communications with our newly formed Association of Taxi Plate Owners.  He is prepared to submit to government – Chief Minister – those concerns and impacts as they come to his notice.  He pointed out that he didn’t decide policy – government dies that upon reports – so he is unable to decide or determine policy but he can submit matters relating to policy in need of attention or further reform or amendment.

In this regard he again agreed to the suggestion I earlier made to him stating his preparedness to communicate to directly with each owner on a monthly or regular basis.  Later when his assistance was sought in identifying all taxi plate owners by name, plate number and contact details he undertook to facilitate the gathering of such information by seeking approval from each owner whether they wanted their details to be given to the Taxi Plate Owners Association.  This will be undertaken soon.  It being agreed that we would provide a letter for them to send out that would seek their response directly to the Association.

In any event he went onto state that a program of reforms had begun among which inspections for vehicles can be undertaken now in suburban garages and there were amendments to fees schedules about to be issued as well.

Questions asked about plate numbers resulted in his advising that there were 141 government leased plates of which there are 49 on the shelf at the moment.  There are as we know 217 perpetually owned taxi plates and an additional 19 WATS – a total of 377.  He stated that it was not the government’s intention to release plates in numbers off the shelf that would cause others be handed back.  He said that a list of persons seeking to lease plates at $10,000 had been drawn up but no plates had been released to date.  Those who handed plates back in the past would be placed at the bottom of the list.  Details of the list and control over the release of the plates was in the control of ACCESS another area of the bureaucracy and he would arrange for those people to meet be present at future meetings.

What was clear from Dr Alderson’s address was that he was pleased to see the number who showed up there and that he was prepared to communicate with us directly and often if needs be.  We gathered our ongoing communication with them was desired and appreciated.  We have the understanding that through our Association we can raise issues and questions directly with them and get their responses to circulate to directly all our owners.  This we are all very happy with their joining us and addressing the group representing what was to become the inaugural meeting of our association.

(B)  The Closed Session – Formulation of our Association

(i) From the outset it was determined that we needed  rules for our Association.  The Model Rules were presented and Accepted by the group.

Then it was determined that we needed $211 to pay for the application and lodgement fee.  It was thus determined that a nominal amount of $20 per member, per annum, should be set as our joining fee.  That was agreed and monies were accepted from those present.

It was then determined that nominations should be made to fill five positions on the Committee.  As a result Kathy Schlegel (TX22) , Peter Veenstra (TX56) , Chris Nichols (TX198) , Tony Briscoe (TX 126) and yours truly (TX4) were nominated, seconded and elected to the Committee.

(ii) The matter of the Survey Firms was discussed – privacy being the main obstacle.  Their value and merit was pointed out and that an aggregate of our – being a group of people – affected by government policy stated in representations and delegations not the least to perhaps becoming vital in any legal challenges was clear.  It was decided that the submission of the survey would be optional at this point in time.  Any who had submitted would be assured their survey would remain private but used in conjunction with others submitted in the hope that those submitted by option would be enough to represent a sufficient sample as far as aggregates were concerned.

(iii) Our future prospects as Taxi Plate Owners were discussed and it was generally agreed that when and if we each face a lessee advising they do not intend to go on leasing from us that we should then be contacting Phil Skipper at Base who has a list of persons on a waiting list to lease.

(iv) Concerning our communications within the Association we of course have a group Email list of taxi plate owners that is being added to consistently.  It is to hoped that we will have a full and detailed list one day so that everyone has our communications.  As Membership grows an email list of members will be created from those who are paid up.  That group will be sent open messages so that they all know one another and can communicate directly with each other – something that we have never been able to do.  Endre Kovacs (TX 166) advised the group that he was in the process of creating a website and that via mobile phone numbers information could be sent out as group SMS messages.

Communications with government we agreed should via the Association.  Members owners who have issues queries or suggestions should direct them through the Association and me in the first instance.  Replies or queries from government likewise will be to the Association and in the first instance.      It was generally put and understood that in future a cadre of the Committee would act a s delegates in making direct representations to Government and opposition members of the Assembly.

(v) The importance of being united was stressed.  It is not intended to hold too many meetings during the year but only as the need arises and one (1) Annual General Meeting in accordance with our Rules.

(vi) The meeting closed at approx. 1630 hours after which the committee met and decided to fil the three crucial positions of Chair (Me), Secretary (Kathy Schlegel, Treasurer (Peter Veenstra) with Chris Nichols and Tony Briscoe filling the other two committee positions.    Immediate action is being taken to lodge our application and open a bank account.  We need to have a seal and this will be produced early next week.

Phil Button (TX4)

Chair

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