EVERYONE loves getting into a taxi and having a chat. Everyone but the State Government according to Taxi Council Queensland, which says it has been ignored as the livelihoods of operators free fall.
As Uber has hit taxi operators around Queensland, including 63 in the Mackay and Whitsunday region, licence holders have been voicing their concerns as the plates on their cars, once worth about half a million dollars, are now impossible to sell.
It has prompted the State Opposition to bring out its own policy for taxis and ride sharing, which has created a communication stoush between the ALP, LNP and Taxi Council Queensland.
ackay and Whitsunday Taxis general manager Gerry Lucas said most licence holders had planned to sell their licences to give them money to retire with.
As an example of the pressure it had put on licence holders, Mr Lucas said a 79-year-old Mackay woman has had to go back to work.
Mr Lucas said as people's livelihoods continued to diminish there had been no consultation between the government and the taxi industry.
But standing next to Shadow Minister for Transport Andrew Powell, Mr Lucas said that finally, someone was listening to the industry group.
This was to have an independent commission and commissioner responsible for policy, legislation and enforcement of the industry.
Mr Powell said this commission and commissioner would be separate to the Department of Transport.
"It is about creating a fair, safe and stable industry, and restoring value back into the licences so there is a viable future for the industry,” he said.
"This is about insuring the industry has got a voice within the government agency.”
Mr Lucas said he wasn't against competition but currently the competition wasn't on a level playing field as running a taxi was more expensive than running a ride-share such as Uber.
"Personally, the reason I bought a taxi licence was because it was a secure investment,” Mr Lucas said.
"It is a contracted licence with the Queensland Government. How much more secure of an investment would you like? It was a secure investment, was in capital letters.”
He said since Uber had entered Queensland it had been a free fall to the bottom and the Labor Government had done nothing to help.
"There has been no consultation. Taxi Council Queensland has spent in excess of a million dollars on facts to present to (the government) and I doubt that they read it because absolutely nothing comes out of it,” he said.
"Moving forward, if there is consultation with the industry I am sure something can be worked out.”
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