Today the parliamentary committee inquiring into the impact of the 2016 Point to Point Transport reforms released its findings and recommendations, with the revelation that the government has failed to distribute$100 million of the $250 million industry assistance package funded by the public through the Passenger Service Levy.
The committee has also recommended that the Government develop and implement a buyback scheme of ordinary taxi licences, allowing licence owners who wish to retire to do so, while also releasing capital that can be used to innovate and effectively compete with rideshare.
Abigail Boyd, Chair of the Point to Point Transport inquiry and Greens NSW Spokesperson for Transport & Infrastructure says:
“Throughout the inquiry we heard clearly from taxi drivers and operators that the reforms passed by parliament in 2016 have had a disastrous impact on their livelihoods and failed to create anything like a level playing field with rideshare.
“But despite this, the $250 million industry assistance package remains significantly underspent, with unnecessarily strict conditions being imposed that saw well over half of those applying for assistance turned away.
“It’s obvious that the NSW Government has not only failed to support taxi drivers and operators, but also the public who have been paying the Passenger Service Levy thinking their payment was going towards easing the burden on the taxi industry. Despite knowing that the funding criteria was too strict, the NSW Government did nothing to lower the hurdle and allow the funding to go to where it was so sorely needed. It’s nothing short of disgraceful.
“The NSW Government must now take urgent steps to alleviate the pressures on the taxi industry to ensure its viability, particularly in regional towns which rely on their local taxi networks to maintain a 24/7 transport service.
“The major recommendations from this inquiry are clear: the Government must act now to ensure that the money already collected through the Passenger Service Levy is distributed to those in the taxi industry suffering hardship; and urgently implement a plate buyback scheme to create a more level playing field with the rideshare sector.”