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Fair and equitable compensation for taxi plate owners.

SHOOTERS FISHERS & FARMERS PARTY Legislative Council Hansard – 24 May 2018 – Proof – TAXI INDUSTRY

sff logoSHOOTERS FISHERS & FARMERS PARTY  FIGHTING FOR THE NSW TAXI INDUSTRY IN STATE PARLIAMENT HOUSE

The Hon. ROBERT BROWN (18:25): Tonight I speak about the New South Wales taxi industry: specifically, the hardworking, law‑abiding small business taxi owners who have been left high and dry and in the lurch by this Government. The introduction of revised legislation for point to point transport to allow rideshare in the New South Wales economy is having disastrous consequences for those who had legitimately purchased and operated taxi plates to support the much‑needed New South Wales integrated transport system on a 24/7, 365‑day basis.

 

This bureaucratic treachery—not too strong a word, in my view—has been a kick in the guts for those small business operators who have invested their life savings in the taxi business, encouraged and regulated by the Government, only to have the Government commit to promises of compensation that have subsequently not been delivered. The consequences of the Government’s failure to deliver has included banks and other lending institutions refusing to lend against the value of the owner’s plates—why would they when they are devalued by two‑thirds? Other consequences include calls on loans that have resulted in bankruptcies; people losing their homes; marriage breakdowns; and, in many cases, severe health consequences—both mental and physical—for those who have been affected by the Government’s actions.

 

It is an absolute disgrace for any government to do this to small business owners, let alone a conservative government. The very fact that big businesses like Uber and Google have been allowed to have free rein to flout the law for nearly five years is an indictment on the poor rollout of point-to-point transition by this Government. The very poor attempt by the Government’s new commission to regulate the new players in point-to-point transport is now clearly evident—F for “fail”. The result is a significant benefit to those big businesses at the expense of small business owners, and the destruction of their businesses. Right hand wins; left hand be damned.

 

Compensation levies have now been placed on every user of taxis and rideshare in this State, but not a cent in hardship compensation has been paid, or even announced, for those whose lives have been turned upside down by this Government policy. The Government originally allocated $250 million to “compensate” owners, and $98 million has been paid to offset initial income loss in the transition period. That is $20,000 per plate, taxable as income, for a maximum of two plates—plates that were worth $450,000. An additional $142 million for hardship—compensation claimed by the Minister to be the “most generous in the world”—has never been released. Not even the conditions of application have been released. Applications were supposed to open in November 2016 and close in July 2017. By my reckoning, we are in May 2018.

 

This is now a critical situation, with taxi licence values continuing to fall and the viability of regional operators, in particular, now in serious question. These people do not want their futures to be reliant on Federal Government social security. They are not dole bludgers; they are hard workers. Many of them are migrants who start in the taxi industry here and claw their way up. They invest by mortgaging their houses and they saw the taxi industry as a way to protect themselves down the track as a superannuation fund. They are proud people who love their industry and their country, and who have worked hard on lengthy and sometimes dangerous shifts—it ain’t no fun being a cab driver—to provide for their own financial security and that of their families and deliver a safe and secure service for the travelling public. To be blunt, the hurt which has been initiated by this Government is unforgiveable. To quote former Premier Mike Baird:

 

… the Government has sold and regulated taxi licence plates and has a responsibility to offer some protection for the mums and dads and investors who own the plates.

 

The current Minister for Transport and Infrastructure has said that current regulations should be looked at closely to ensure a “more even playing field” and to guarantee a strong future for taxis. Pig’s backside. To date, the only people who have suffered are the taxi owners and operators, who have been denied natural justice and have not had the promises of the Government delivered. The taxi industry in New South Wales employs well over 10,000 full-time tax-paying workers dedicated to lifting standards and service delivery across the board. It is critical that we recognise the importance of this industry at all levels to our travelling public and put a halt to the wrongful hardship it has had to endure. It is time to correct the wrongs that have been inflicted. As I often say in this place to the Government, “Do it now!”

 

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardFull.aspx#/DateDisplay/HANSARD-1820781676-76527/HANSARD-1820781676-76564

DOWNLOAD THE SPEECH Taxi Speech No. 1 (pdf)

 

SITEMAP

VISIT the SITEMAP LINK which represents the interests of all taxi plate owners and operators and drivers.

Goal

We are representing the interests of all taxi plate owners in response to financial losses in income and asset value forced upon us by the NSW Mike Baird Liberal State Government and other NSW parliamentarians.

DISCLAIMER

Please visit the Taxiowners Disclaimer which states it position on taxi matters in Australia.