Glen Elmes slams state government Uber reform package
STATE Member for Noosa Glen Elmes has slammed the Queensland government for "plucking $100 million out of the air" to compensate taxi licence holders ahead of the legalisation of ride-sharing service Uber.
Mr Elmes has called the Palaszczuk Government's use of $100 million to overhaul the regulation of Queensland's personalised transport industry "irresponsible".
"In the case of Queensland, apparently, we're so flush with money, the government's just come up with a $100 million package that they're going to pluck out of thin air," Mr Elmes said.
"The Queensland government hasn't budgeted for it, it doesn't have the money, and it can't afford it.
"Everywhere else, they have provided for a fee that is collected by both taxi drivers and Uber drivers to pay some sort of recompense to licence holders.
"Certainly in my mind, there should be some way of looking after them (taxi drivers).
"There should be some recompense."
New legislation coming in to effect from September 5 will see $60 million of the $100 million package provided as one-off payments of up to $40,000 to existing taxi or limousine licence holders.
There will be $4.3 million in waived fees over the next 12 months, including licence renewal fees, and a "hardship fund" of $26.7 million to taxi licence holders who experience financial hardship due to the reforms.
Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe said the reforms will even the playing field for the transport industry, drive more competition and choice for consumers, and put downward pressure on fares.
"These new reforms are about fairness and will ensure the future sustainability of the personalised transport industry while encouraging more innovation which will benefit our economy," Mr Hinchcliffe said.
"The government's response to the recommendations of the independent Opportunities for Personalised Transport report will deliver innovation and improved customer service standards while significantly reducing red tape and costs for the existing industry.
"Queenslanders will benefit from improved services, reduced waiting times and more competitive fares."
Mr Elmes has called on the Noosa community to support local cab drivers as they face the repercussions of Uber becoming legal.
"My real concern and the people I really feel sorry for is the local cabbies," Mr Elmes said.
"They've got all this competition coming in now that will make their job all the more difficult.
"Our local cabbies do a good job and provide a good service and I urge everyone, where possible, to support them."