Memo to Black & White Cabs Licence Owners, Operators and Drivers
KAP signals end of the road for illegal taxis
“It’s the end of the free ride,” said KAP Member for Mt Isa Rob Katter, the first in Australia to table legislation against the ever growing illegal taxi industry.
During this Sitting Week, Mr Katter and Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth intend to introduce the Transport Legislation (Taxi Services) Amendment Bill 2015 which will provide harsher penalties for those caught operating illegal taxi services.
“Since these services have been in operation they have been fined over $1.7 million, yet these illegal organisations continue,” Mr Katter said.
“These are multinational companies with deep pockets who are paying the fines for their drivers and side stepping our tax system – no-one should be above the law.”
“We simply hope to uphold Queensland’s law and transport regulation system for those who have done the right thing,” he said.
It is proposed a penalty of 3 demerit points will be applied for the first offence and a penalty of 6 demerit points for every offence after.
Mr Katter said the introduction of this legislation was important for the small business owners and the safety of Queenslanders.
“Our taxi drivers are small business owners and hard workers who have followed each and every one of the regulations that have been set out by the state government,” Mr Katter said.
“These measures are put in place to ensure safety and access for all; the other services don’t offer that yet take the cream from the top.
“The industry is staring down the barrel of a multinational monopoly – I will not see another industry slaughtered by deregulation,” he said.
Mr Katter also highlighted the contribution of $90 million in GST revenue the industry makes to the Commonwealth yearly.
“If we do nothing, this is money that will eventually be taken offshore instead of flowing back into the services we need,” Mr Katter said.
Member for Dalrymple Mr Knuth said it was important this bill was introduced to push the Government to act before small regional operations were decimated.
“The taxi industry is legally required to have a capped rate of charge no matter the demand, and offer services to some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Mr Knuth said.
“In many small towns the taxi service is the only form of transport available for those in wheelchairs; these illegal taxi services do not offer that.”
Under the Community Service Obligations (CSO), taxis transport over 1 million wheel chair bound individuals per annum at no extra cost, which are cross subsidised with profitable routes.
Taxis also offer transport to approximately 250,000 Department of Veterans Affairs passengers (DVA’s). This service is funded by the Commonwealth (Taxi Council Queensland).
“Sure, these illegal services are shiny and new but what they are really doing is making it harder to provide transport to those in need,” Mr Knuth said.