TCQ President’s Message


Over the last four (4) months Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ), together with the Australian Taxi Industry Association (ATIA) have successfully lobbied for the inclusion of the taxi industry in a number of financial assistance packages being paid by the Federal and State Governments, associated with the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially, this effort involved ensuring that sole traders, as well as partnerships and trusts, were eligible for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper assistance package. The ATIA, through our CEO Blair Davies joined with a number of other like-minded peak bodies to lobby the Federal Government to ensure small business owners were eligible for the financial assistance. With the Federal Government ultimately accepting the principle being advocated, the ATIA then worked with the ATO to determine how and when taxi drivers, operators and licence owners could qualify for the JobKeeper package. Pleasingly, much of the Australian taxi industry has been able to enrol for JobKeeper using the guidance and assistance of ATIA.

An important aspect of this scheme is that as small business owners, taxi drivers and operators have been able to continue providing transportation services for their local communities, even when it wasn’t really viable to do so. Being able to access the Federal Government’s support has been crucial for keeping taxis on the road and ensuring our local communities did not go without an essential service, critical to the wellbeing of so many Australians.

Concurrent with the effort to secure access to JobKeeper for most of the Australian taxi industry, the TCQ was lobbying the State Government to provide funding assistance to members so that the Queensland taxi industry would be in good shape to support economic recovery in their communities. The hard work that went into that lobbying proved very successful. On 16 June 2020, Premier Palaszczuk announced the COVID-19 Unite and Recover Financial Assistance Package for the taxi and limousine industries. The $23 million stimulus package includes:

· One-off payments of $3,500 per vehicle to taxi operators.

· One-off payments of $1,000 per licence to taxi licence holders.

· One-off payments of $1,500 per affiliated taxi (up to a maximum of 1,000 taxis) to booking services predominantly dispatching taxis

· One-off incentive payments of an additional $1,000 per vehicle for Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) operators.

To access the $23 million funding, members will need to lodge an application through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA). TCQ has been advised that the applications process will open in early August 2020.

The Queensland Government’s assistance package to the Queensland taxi industry is the biggest of any State in overall size and on a per taxi basis. It represents a fantastic result for TCQ members.

It was particularly gratifying that Transport and Main Roads Minister, Hon Mark Bailey, specifically and exclusively thanked our CEO Blair Davies and the TCQ for our efforts in helping to formulate and structure the package. The funding also builds on the previously announced $54.5 million Essential Transport Services Package released in April 2020. This package also resulted from the TCQ’s advocacy that was undertaken at the start of the lockdown period and included:

· Extending existing booked hire/taxi driver authorisations and taxi licences for six months.

· A further waiver of the annual Taxi Industry Security Levy in 2019/20.

· Extending all existing booking entity authorisations for six months.

· Waiving fees for operators to de-register and re-register their vehicles

These packages come on top of the announced $21 million Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) Grant Scheme, which is enabling WAT operators to receive a government grant of up to $45,000.00 to assist in the replacement of WAT vehicles. Yet again, this package resulted from the sustained and strategic advocacy efforts of the TCQ. This scheme is now in its third round of grants and it is hoped that WAT operators will take advantage of this scheme to modernise the Queensland WAT fleet.

Clearly, the advocacy of both the TCQ and the ATIA has successfully delivered substantial outcomes for all facets of the Queensland taxi industry, and more broadly the Australian taxi community. It is essential that the taxi industry remains strong and united, so that over time we can emerge from the difficulties we have had to confront over the past 6 years.