The WA Country Taxi Association is calling on the Premier to urgently review the financial Assistance Package to Regional Taxi Operators announced in the State budget in response to the deregulation of regional taxi services.

Taxis are a vital year-round community service in the regions where public transport is scarce and barely meets the community needs. The WA Governments recent decision to deregulate the industry will particularly disadvantage those who are aged, disabled or have no other transport options.

Metropolitan Taxi plate owners who have also suffered economic loss through deregulation receive a financial assistance package of $100,000 per plate funded by a levy on taxi fares. Regional taxi operators have only been offered a package $10,000 per plate. This is a real slap in the face.

This shows the total disregard by the WA Government of the value and service that is provided by regional taxi operators to the towns of regional Western Australia.

The Regional Taxi Association has tried for months to negotiate a fair and reasonable assistance package and has been stonewalled by the government.

The Regional Taxi Association have written to the WA Premier advising him that all regional operators agree the assistance package is totally unacceptable and a total disrespect for the population of regional WA that rely on this these taxi services.

In addition, the operators have notified the Premier that all regional taxi services in Western Australia will cease from 1600hrs Friday 17th of May 2019 to 1600hrs Sunday 19th of May.

This action is to bring to the Government’s notice the value and service that is provided by regional taxi operators to regional WA towns and that significant assistance that is required to keep operators in business.

Country Taxi Owners have seen the value of their businesses fall drastically due to deregulation. The strict interpretation of the Transport Coordination Act 1966 and other regulations is very confusing and contradictory to the actual practice facilitated by Department of Transport. The ongoing misinformation and procedural practices which have occurred over many decades and has hindered the recent negotiations to achieve a fair and balance assistance package.

Country Taxi Plates have been treated in the same manner as Metro Plates in terms of the DOT facilitating trade for decades. The value individual Country Taxi Plates traded for has been documented and recorded by Dept Transport and the plates traded without being attached to a vehicle. Stamp Duty had to be paid prior to every country taxi plate transfer.

Individuals have made very significant investments purchasing country taxi plate licenses in order to operate a business. A country taxi plate license has been and is still currently a necessity to operate a regional taxi business lawfully and these are all managed by Department of Transport.

Regional Taxi operators are the backbone of all regional towns transport requirements, and now we see operators going out of business with the loss of superannuation, banks are calling up loans that were secured by country taxi plates. Deregulation has impacted the country taxi industry severely financially and the transition to adapt to the new reforms will see operators struggle to stay in the industry which will affect the taxi service provided to regional communities unless there is some real financial assistance to support the industry.

All we are looking for is a solution which is fair and reasonable. The Government’s proposal is unacceptable for all regional taxi operators who have serviced regional towns for decades. Please feel free to contact myself at any time, 0418922657, shayne@broometaxis.com.

Shayne Murray:

President WA Country Taxi Association.

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