About a quarter of the people at Mt Pleasant Tavern on Tuesday night arrived in taxis with Uber on their minds.
Despite Uber not yet ride-sharing its way into Mackay, the value of taxi licences and regulating the taxi industry was brought up no fewer than five times at the Liberal National Party's listening tour with Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan, Opposition leader Tim Nicholls and deputy leader Deb Frecklington.
Taxi drivers, licence holders, Mackay and Whitsunday Taxi general manager Gerry Lucas and Mackay-based Taxi Council Queensland president Max McBride made up a quarter of all the people there.
"Nothing is off the table, road construction, dams, crocodiles, mental health, education,” Mr Costigan said to the audience and then received a clap when he said "the taxi industry”.
Two questioners asked what the LNP would do to save what was left of their retirement nest eggs, which were tied up in taxi licences, once worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and now valued in the tens of thousands with the uncertainty around the industry as a result of Uber.
"Our goal is to level the playing field up with ride share operators,” he said
He said they had been meeting with people of all walks of life and "most would say the compensation is mostly inadequate”.
Mr McBride spoke about how the government issued taxi licences in 2012 for a cost of about $350,000.
"Those licence holders have got $20,000 back and now, by way of assistance, may get another $9000,” he said, adding that it was gut wrenching how much more they had lost in value to their licences.
Read More: https://www.dailymercury.com.au/news/give-us-a-crack-mackay-taxi-industry/3155127/