The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) continues to work with industry members, sometimes above the radar but often below the radar, in the lead up to the poll on 25 November 2017.
Further to the previous update, TCQ has written to the ALP, LNP, KAP and PHON to encourage each of the parties to stand up for Queensland taxi businesses getting a “fair go”. To date, the Katter Australian Party and Pauline Hansen One Nation Party have confirmed that they are serious about fixing the mess created under the new rules applying in the Personalised Transport sector. We continue to push the ALP and LNP to commit to stronger positions on key issues like safety, fairness and levelling the playing field.
Regarding PHON’s position, Suncoast Cabs’ Director and TCQ Councillor, Clark Chapel, has recorded an interesting video alongside Steve Dickson (State Leader, PHON). There is clearly a lot of support within PHON for helping the Queensland taxi industry. That support is also being reciprocated as we see many taxi licence owners throwing their weight in behind PHON candidates and offering them help with pre-polling, as well as handing out how-to-vote cards on polling day.
Clark’s video can be found at http://bit.ly/2znbLex
Also very positive, KAP’s position continues to remain strongly in support of the Queensland taxi industry. KAP State Leader, Robbie Katter, has been an outspoken champion of Queensland small businesses, and our member taxi licence owners and operators in particular. Based on our discussions with Robbie, TCQ would expect KAP candidates to be solid allies in the next parliament, supporting our advocacy for equitable CTP premiums and shining a spotlight on substandard safety in booked hire vehicles. Not surprisingly, taxi industry members are also getting in behind their local KAP candidates and offering help wherever they can.
The ALP’s position for the taxi industry remains problematic. As the Government for the last 3 years, they created the current regulatory mess that is damaging Queensland taxi businesses. So in the lead up to the election it would take extraordinary political courage for the Premier to be owning those mistakes and offering remedies. However, we know that there are members of the Government who were very uncomfortable with decisions that they were pressed into supporting in the name of caucus solidarity. As part of TCQ’s advocacy on behalf of the industry, we will certainly be looking to encourage supportive members of the ALP who get returned on Saturday to find much greater voice with their colleagues in the new parliament.
Lastly, the LNP’s position presents as better than that of the ALP but not nearly as strong or certain as KAP or PHON. The LNP’s commitment to appoint a Personalised Transport Commissioner is consistent with TCQ recommendations but their plan to leave the Commissioner to fix the whole regulatory mess presents as problematic. If the LNP appoint the wrong person, someone who doesn’t fully understand the sector, someone who isn’t 100 percent committed to fairness and getting on with the job, their position risks leaving taxi licence owners, operators and drivers to endure financial distress and hardship for far longer than necessary. TCQ’s advocacy stretches across all political divides, so we will also be looking to encourage supportive members of the LNP who get returned on Saturday to stand up in the new parliament and be counted on issues like safety and fairness.
TCQ’s social media activities have ratcheted up each week of the campaign, looking to build momentum and focus around the safety advantages of taxis vis-à-vis booked hire vehicles. The diverse and unstructured nature of social media possibly results in many of our members not being aware of just how effective TCQ has been at influencing public opinion and shaping political agendas. As noted in the previous update though, just because the undersea portion of an iceberg may not be visible that doesn’t diminish its impact.
Lastly, I would once again encourage every TCQ member to consider donating some of their time on polling day, 25 November 2017, to hand out how-to-vote cards in support of candidates who we think would make good members of the next parliament. I know many of TCQ’s members have already been talking with their local candidate and arranged to volunteer their help directly. However, if there are any members who still haven’t made any such connection and are wanting to get behind TCQ’s fight for a better future, please volunteer. To help with that, the following link tcq-election-campaign-volunteer can be used to register your interest and we will then connect you with candidates who would value your help and who also may end up in a position to help level the playing field for our industry in the future.