Ground-breaking reforms to regulate rideshare, boost competition and improve services are one step closer with the Andrews Labor Government’s taxi hire car reform Bill passing the Lower House of the Victorian Parliament.
The Bill passed unamended, despite Liberal attempts to remove financial support for the existing taxi industry.
The Labor Government also rejected Liberal amendments that would have removed $25 million in funding to improve services for people with a disability or mobility impairment.
The Opposition also sought to remove the need for international rideshare companies to be accredited to operate in Victoria, and tried to delay the Bill by referring the matter to yet another Parliamentary inquiry.
The Labor Government rejected these Liberal Party attempts to water-down and delay the comprehensive reform package, which will replace Victoria’s complex licencing regime with a single registration system that will ensure stronger standards, safer services and create 3,500 local jobs.
By stripping away complexity and red tape, the reforms will encourage new providers and boost competition – providing more choice, better services and cheaper fares for passengers.
The Bill also introduces $494 million in assistance for the existing taxi and hire car industry – the largest transition and support package in Australia.
Through this package perpetual metropolitan licence holders will receive $100,000 for their first licence and $50,000 per licence for up to three more. Ninety-eight per cent of owners have four licences or less.
The package also includes a $50 million Fairness Fund to provide targeted assistance for industry participants experiencing significant financial hardship.
A $2 per trip levy will also be introduced as part of the Bill. The levy, which won’t be introduced until next year, will fund the industry support package and replace annual licence fees – currently up to $23,000 – considerably reducing the cost of operating a taxi, paving the way for more competition and cheaper fares.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan
“The Liberal Party are hell bent on abandoning local, family-run taxi-businesses and giving multi-national companies free-reign to operate in Victoria without accreditation.”
“We have flatly rejected the Opposition’s attempts to abandon the taxi industry and people with disabilities, and are getting on with fairly supporting the industry, boosting competition and improving services for passengers.”