An offer by the Queensland Government’s Office of Small Business to provide mentoring services to the taxi industry has received a qualified welcome by the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ).
The Office of Small Business is partnering with TAFE Queensland to offer free mentoring services for taxi and limousine license holders and operators. The aim is to help them respond to industry change.
“Of course, we are not sure what experiential learning public servants and TAFE officers would have that is relevant to the plight facing small business people in the taxi industry,” said TCQ chief executive officer Blair Davies.
“Our members have been bruised and battered competing with a global giant that has been prepared to operate outside Queensland laws and that has been prepared to lose literally billions a year to subsidise their fares and undercut taxi fares.”
Uber reportedly lost a staggering US$3bn last year (or almost AU$4bn) and is possibly on track to lose a similar amount this year.
“There is no real parallel for what small business taxi owners and operators have experienced. They have been thrown under the proverbial bus by the Government. Now, the Government seemingly wants to appease them by offering some free mentoring to help them cope.”
Mr Davies said the State Government is looking at the impact of their regulatory changes through rose coloured glasses.
“It is offering band aids to people who have been seriously injured,” he said. “Our members don’t need to be helped to feel better about their financial losses.
“What they need is serious financial assistance, something that they can take to the bank.
“We doubt that the banks and lending institutions are going to back off pushing our members for loan repayments just because they have a more positive outlook.
“Free mentoring may be better than nothing, but it is no substitute for the Government accepting its responsibility to put meaningful dollars on the table to help the industry adjust to the new regulatory environment.”