Noranda taxi driver calls for more compensation

Taxi driver Rod Seneque. Picture: Kristie Lim
Taxi driver Rod Seneque. Picture: Kristie Lim

A NORANDA taxi driver is calling for a “fair go” after a $14 million loss in revenue in the taxi industry across WA.

A Department of Transport spokesman said payment amounts as part of the Transition Assistance Package which consisted of Hardship Fund, Innovation Assistance and a Transition Adjustment Assistance Grant, were determined on a case-by-case basis.

However all drivers received a minimum Transition Adjustment Assistance Grant of $20,000.

“In addition to the Transition Adjustment Assistance Grant, funding has been provided to the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) to assist taxi plate owners and lessees to adjust and transition their business models,” he said.

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“The services provided by the SBDC will also help with understanding business opportunities in the digital economy and how to add or retain value through branding and customer service.”

Taxi driver Rod Seneque (50), who has been a driver for 29 years, said the proposed deregulation and devalued taxi plates caused financial and family pressures for drivers.

“Our income has eroded by 50 per cent … a lot of the guys bought taxi plates as part of their superannuation and to buy a job and now that is gone, prices of the lease plates have dropped,” he said.

The State Government has decreased the price of full-time taxi plates from $255 a week to $23 a week.

Mr Seneque said the high financial costs for insurance, registrations and dispatch services took its toll on his family.

“We just want a fair go, we bought our plates in good faith … we definitely need to be paid out for our plates,” he said.

Taxi Operators Legal Defence spokesman Athan Tsirigotis said there was “no level playing field” in the industry, following the arrival of Uber two and a half years ago.

Taxi driver and industry advisor David Sangiorgio said plate compensation needed to be considered by the Government.

“These are career drivers who have contributed to the industry for lengthy periods and now are placed in positions where their hard work has come to nothing,” he said.

East Metropolitan MLC Amber-Jade Sanderson said the devaluing of licence plates and the introduction of Uber had caused a “financial crisis” for taxi drivers.