Question

Legislative Council

QUESTION: Inequity of Taxi Industry Assistance Package

May 31st, 2017

On the 31st of May, Mark asked the Minister for Police, representing the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, a question about the taxi industry assistance package.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I met last week with the United Taxi Association of South Australia and they drew my attention to what they believe is an unfairness in the compensation package that the government announced. In particular, they are concerned about the payment of $50 per week to the lessees of taxi licence plates. The government's package, as members would remember, provided $30,000 for a licence holder and $50 per week for up to 11 months for a taxi lessee. The magic date that was inserted into the package was 12 April. What that means is that if your lease expired on 11 April and you renewed it, you are entitled to compensation and you can get $2,380. But if you are unlucky enough that your lease expired on 13 April and you renewed it, then you will get nothing because the package is only related to the portion of the lease after 12 April.

I expect that the government's assumption was that, having announced this package, the price that a taxi lease would attract would be reduced and, therefore, those people wouldn't miss out. But there appears to be no evidence that has happened; in fact, people are renewing their leases for the same price as they had them for previously. So, we have two drivers whose leases expire two days apart and one gets $2,380 and the other one gets nothing. My question to the minister is: where taxi leases expire after 12 April and where they are renewed for the same lease fee or a higher lease fee, will the government consider extending assistance to those taxi lessees on the same terms and conditions as those who renewed their leases prior to 12 April?
 
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS  (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety): I thank the honourable member for his question. This government is one that wants to work collaboratively with the taxi industry. We think that we have worked incredibly hard as a government, particularly the Minister for Transport, to work with both the taxi industry and also the ride sharing component of the industry to develop a package that provides some certainty, confidence and compensation to taxi drivers, going forward. It stands in stark contrast to the opposition, of course, which seems to care little about the future of the taxi industry itself and the hundreds of people that work within it. That said, I am more than happy to take the question on notice and make sure it's provided to the responsible minister in the other place.

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