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.”


The head of the Taxi Council of Queensland hopes that the upcoming ‘Destination Q Forum” in Cairns will not be a ‘talkfest’ but will proactively address issues like violent crime.
Pointing to ongoing publicity of violent incidents on the Gold Coast and in other areas across the state, Taxi Council CEO Benjamin Wash said Queensland’s image was worth protecting.

“You cannot separate law and order and tourism because tourists see the news too,” he said.
Mr Wash, who is attending the forum, said the taxi industry was a vital part of the tourism industry because visitors rely on taxis as a primary mode of transportation while in the state.

“When tourism is down people across so many industries are affected, so we all must ensure this forum achieves real results.”

He explained that taxi drivers, owners, operators and booking companies all benefit from increased tourism and want to play their part in giving visitors a memorable experience.
However he said the taxi industry knows all about violence, with drivers and vehicles regularly targeted.

“Just as the taxi industry is working hard to ensure measures are implemented to protect current drivers and attract new drivers, we must all come together to ensure that Queensland remains a safe and attractive destination.

“If potential visitors decide there are safer travel options, no slick marketing campaign will change this perception.”

Mr Wash said that while there are many subjects that could be discussed at the forum, he hoped it would focus on the current challenges, solutions and the way forward.

“We have a great state with great people. I hope this forum can provide all tourism operators and stakeholders with hope for the future.

“Tourism is extremely important to our economy and must be given priority.”
The Destination Q Forum, which will be attended by delegates from across the tourism sector and government, will be held at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns on June 25 and 26.


The following statement is to be attributed to Benjamin Wash, CEO of Taxi Council of Queensland.

“In response to the alleged attack on a taxi driver at Aspley early Sunday morning, I condemn all violence against our drivers. Those that attack drivers who are simply doing their job are cowardly and this sort of behaviour must be viewed as unacceptable by the community and our courts. The Taxi Council of Queensland will be following this case closely.”
“This alleged incident comes on the back of several incidents of violence against taxis, drivers and rank security officers over recent weekends and the publicised mob attack of a few weeks ago. It certainly appears that violence against drivers is increasing rather than decreasing and this is a very concerning trend.”

“Taxi drivers operate in a realm of trust each time a passenger gets into a vehicle. We urge the community not to betray that trust. The Taxi Council is doing everything in its power to protect drivers but ultimately this will only stop when the community-at-large says ‘enough is enough’. It takes the public to help drivers by assisting where necessary and reporting incidents. It takes the courts being a deterrent and sending a clear message that violence in any form will not be tolerated.”


The Taxi Council of Queensland says violence against taxi drivers and vehicles must stop before more people are injured or killed.
Taxi Council CEO Benjamin Wash has revealed a young driver feared for his life in an incident over the weekend that saw a mob of drunken partygoers attack his vehicle.

Mr Wash said alcohol-fuelled violence against taxis is increasing and that drivers will simply refuse early morning jobs if they believe the risk is too great.

In an incident at around 12:30am on Saturday morning, a driver responded to a call at Paddington and reported seeing “about 70 people on the road”.

In a statement to police he described being blocked as his taxi was surrounded.

“I then saw a male about 18 years old……jump on the bonnet of my taxi. (He) hit the front window of the taxi with his closed fist two times,” the statement reads.

“I then observed other persons move close into the taxi. I then felt the taxi being hit from the left, right and at the rear.”

The driver explained that he said nothing to the group out of fear for his safety. He believes there is at least $2000 damage to the vehicle.

Mr Wash said while the Taxi Council is working with government and taxi companies to improve driver safety, incidents like this can only be stopped through a whole-of-community effort.

“Some of those people at the party should have stopped their friends and stood up for what is right,” he said.

“All the legislation in the world won’t stop violence when people have such little respect for the property and lives of others.”

Mr Wash also believes the police and courts have an important part to play.

“The urgency of our investigations and the penalties given to offenders must send a message that this is unacceptable.

“Taxis provide safe and secure travel to hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders every day. As a community we must work together to protect these drivers.”


Newly appointed CEO of the Taxi Council of Queensland, Benjamin Wash will visit Cairns this week to meet local taxi and tourism operators and MPs.
Mr Wash, who grew up in Far North Queensland and was the Malanda High School Captain, wants to ensure that the transport needs of local residents are considered by the Taxi Council when developing policy.

“Taxis are not only an important part of the transport network for locals, but are vital to the region’s tourism industry. The purpose of my visit is to understand the needs of Far North Queensland,” Mr Wash explained.

“As Queensland is such a diverse State, regional issues must always be considered by industry groups.”

During the trip he will meet with representatives of Cairns Airport as well as some local operators and owners.

“Taxis are a major part of airport operations and I want to ensure we work closely with Cairns Airport to ensure both customers and taxi operators benefit,” he said.

Mr Wash will arrive in Cairns on Thursday April 26 and will spend three days in the area.


LPG price rises definitely result in a loss of revenue for taxi operators but – like many small businesses – fluctuating operating costs are absorbed. Short term price rises have no effect on the number of taxis on the road and no impact on fares. Taxi fares are set by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and reviewed biannually. If LPG prices continue to rise over the long term this will need to be considered by all industries that rely on this form of fuel.


The Taxi Council of Queensland has welcomed the State Government’s announcement to provide a $6.50 subsidy for each trip taken by wheelchair-bound passengers. CEO Benjamin Wash said while it did not cover the full cost to drivers it was a move in the right direction and would benefit disabled passengers as well as drivers.

“This is a direct result of a long campaign by the taxi industry and drivers will now receive some compensation for the extra time it takes to assist wheelchair customers,” he said.

“Drivers often sacrifice higher fares to pick up disabled customers and they do so gladly and professionally. I’m very keen to see this administered so the entire subsidy goes to the driver because it’s the driver who delivers the service.”

Mr Wash pointed out that this will not increase taxi fares but will lead to better customer service.

He said because legislation like this takes time, it was important that the LNP made a commitment to keep the subsidy if they form government after the state election.

“This decision is too important to be lost in politics and I will be formally asking the LNP to support the Government’s announcement.”