The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) is concerned that changes to the Taxi Subsidy Scheme in yesterday’s state budget will disadvantage the most needy and vulnerable in the community.
From July 1 next year, a new annual limit of $400 per person will be placed on travel under the scheme, meaning higher users will have to pay more or forgo travel.
Chief Executive Officer of TCQ Benjamin Wash said the changes were made without industry consultation and may have a major impact on the lives of the aged and people with disabilities.
He explained that based on an average fare under the scheme, eligible users will be limited to less than one taxi trip per week.
“Many mobility impaired customers work in regular jobs and need travel up to twice per day. In addition elderly customers tend to travel twice per week – or 100 plus trips per year - simply for normal grocery shopping.
“Others travel more than twice per week for medical and other reasons.”
Mr Wash said the changes, which were “snuck into the budget” come only weeks after the Newman Government scrapped the proposed $6.50 wheelchair subsidy for the industry.
“The changes announced in the budget don’t make any sense. They affect the more vulnerable people in the community as well as taxi drivers, who are small business people, and they don’t save the Government much.”
“The Government has kept the same overall allocation to the scheme but reduced the ability of people to use it. It’s like saving money by stealth.”