ANTHONY TEMPLETON, The Courier-Mail
June 22, 2016 11:59am
THE Taxi Council Queensland has attacked the review into ridesharing services such as Uber and questioned the credibility of the former public service boss leading it.
The review, done by Jim Varghese and the Options for Personalised Transport taskforce, put forward four options to settle the dispute between Uber and the taxi industry and a final recommendation will be put to the State Government in July.
Reforms could include only allowing ride-sharing in the southeast, keeping current rules in place, introducing new categories of license or deregulating the transport industry but retaining an accreditation system.
But the Taxi Council is concerned the results of the review have been pre-determined and chief executive Benjamin Wash labelled the process “farcical”.
“TCQ and other stakeholders have spent considerable money and time to maturely discuss the best outcome for Queenslanders, and we have kept within the terms of reference, but the taskforce seems to be focusing on public popularity and moving the goalposts,” he said.
“The taskforce would have received hundreds of submissions and thousands of pages, which takes time to carefully analyse and consider, so how can they even suggest preferred options at this stage, unless they have another agenda?”
But Mr Varghese said the review did not have any pre-determined outcomes.
“The taskforce has not made a final decision about what we will recommend to government, and will not make a decision until the hundreds of submissions we have received are analysed,” he said.
An Uber spokesman said the company believed the review was a worthwhile exercise to ensure the right policies would be adopted.
“We’re confident the independent review panel is assessing the views from all industry participants, and in considering reform options acknowledges that decisions need to be taken to deliver true reform that benefits the vast majority of Queenslanders,” he said.
Mr Wash said transport policies were crucial to the state’s economy.
“This is an opportunity for the Queensland Government to get this right, and the taskforce needs to stop media comments, read the submissions, carefully consider what is in Queensland’s best interests and stop being influenced by social media commentary,” he said.
It comes as the taxi industry and Uber are locked in a bitter battle for market share, despite the ride-sharing service being illegal in Queensland.
Taxi licence values have halved since the introduction of Uber into the market.
The State Government and Uber have been contacted for comment.