The Taxi Council of Queensland has expressed shock and disappointment that the LNP State Government has decided not to honour the commitment of the former Labor Government to implement a taxi disability subsidy.
The subsidy would have provided $6.50 for each trip taken by wheelchair-bound passengers to compensate drivers for loss of revenue due to the extra time taken to pick up customers.
The Council’s CEO, Benjamin Wash, said the industry had lobbied for this subsidy for over ten years and it was a bitter pill to have lost it before it had even started.
“I received a call from Transport Minister Scott Emerson last night to advise that the Government had decided not to honor the commitment,” he said.
Mr Wash said the scheme was long overdue and the commitment was well below that offered by all other state governments.
“Western Australia has just increased their subsidy to $20 and even $30 in some circumstances, and we can’t even provide $6.50.”
He said it was particularly surprising because the money was not coming from State Government revenue, but from overpayments of GST.
“The money the former government had allocated was federal money so I’d imagine this money is still there.”
Mr Wash said drivers often sacrifice higher fares to pick up disabled customers. “They do so gladly and professionally so they deserve this compensation.”