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  • Writer's pictureNSW Taxi Council

The People Refute the NSW Taxi Reform

Toni Peters - Editor, Drive Now Magazine

Taxi Licences were once considered to be a perpetual asset (the same as a house) by the highest court in the Australian judicial system. Now, in most Australian States, they are worthless.

How on earth has it come to this? Well, it simply dumbs down to one word - Uber

I will explain. When Uber invaded Australia in 2012, the States’ and Territory's’ governments did nothing of substance to get them out, even though they were operating illicitly. After Uber infiltrated the Australian transportation industry, taxi licence values all around Australia began to depreciate. Don’t believe me? Look at the figures for NSW; they do not lie.

As you will be able to descry, a licence that was once worth upward of $400,000 is now worth next to nothing. And to exacerbate things, the proposed NSW Taxi Reform plans to devalue the worth of these Taxi licences categorically.

The NSW government has failed to outline an exact monetary value for its State’s Taxi Licences’ worth after the reform, only pointing towards a sneakily phrased initiative called the ‘financial assistance scheme’. There is widespread conjecture that this is indicative of a one-off amount of $50,000 per licence, for up to two metropolitan Taxi licences and nothing for any subsequent licences.

It is simply an attempt to cover their butts. Despite the government contending that devaluing these licences may avail the struggling economy and sanction them to have better control over the number of vehicles on the road, they have clearly not considered the salubrity of the drivers and stakeholders.

In a recent interview, 2GB radio presenter, Ray Hadley said, “I represent the taxi industry because they’re decent, hardworking people and, yes, they have to accommodate competition – we understand that but they can’t be treated like offal by the New South Wales State government,” and “They want to take back all taxi plates for a minimal sum, and that’s if you’ve got two plates. If, as you would in some rural areas, have six or seven plates, you only get the money for two.”

This typifies the unjust nature of the proposed reform.

In the same broadcast, Martin Rogers, CEO NSW Taxi Council, commented, “The government needs to go back to 2015, pre reforms, look at the values that these people have invested in and pay appropriate compensation. You can’t just cancel someone’s asset that they’ve worked hard for and give them minimal or nothing for it.”

He also went on to say, “There was an Upper House inquiry that found that 80% of the losses of [licence plate] value were a direct result of the government’s handling of the introduction of ride-share and they recommended a buyback of all ordinary taxi licences. Unfortunately, the government chose to ignore the recommendations of that inquiry”.

Drivers and owners are losing so much with this reform, and they know it. This reform will extravagantly impact the lives of these hard-working people. They will have their hard-earned assets stripped away, and for what? To help international conglomerates, and fail the Australian Taxi industry?

“If they want to deregulate it – go for your life, but make sure you compensate the people who’ve operated in the system that’s been in place for decades and decades and decades” (Ray Hadley).

I couldn’t agree more!

Toni Peters

An opinion published in the Drive Now Magazine - October/November 2021 Edition

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