For decades the taxi industry has been run as numerous small businesses in a fully regulated market.
The government would release perpetual licences for sale on the market based on its assessment of need and licence owners could also sell them on the market. The government would set fares, driver training and fees, and its control of the release of licences would drive their price.
The government has decided to wholly deregulate the taxi industry and will annul all existing licences, instead providing unlimited licences for an administrative fee and ending set fares. Collectively, licence holders will lose $1.6 billion in assets but the government was only going to compensate them for about 20 percent of the value. When the government cancelled hire car licences, compensation covered the full value of the licence. Most licence holders are small operators, many are migrants who worked hard for an asset to retire on, and some still have loans against the asset.
I worked with my independent colleagues Greg Piper and Joe McGirr to improve compensation, but many people will still be worse off. I heard many heartbreaking stories and hope the review of the restructure will result in further assistance for anyone experiencing hardship.
While we’ve all had good and bad experiences with taxis – or with ride-share or any form of public transport for that matter – taxi licence holders who bought an asset through a government controlled scheme to provide a government controlled service should be compensated fairly for a government decision to change the situation.
My speech > HERE