Peel CCI call for level playing field for taxis

THE Peel Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes the State Government’s taxi reforms have forgotten the region.

But Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said her office had met the chamber to discuss concerns and it was disappointing the chamber had “misrepresented” the Government’s transport reforms.

The taxi industry reforms aim to bring all on-demand transport, including ride-sharing services, under the same legislation.

Chamber president Donna Cocking said everyone wanted an improved, competitive industry and affordable transport options but law-abiding businesses could not be expected to pay penalties for reform.

She said the assistance package did not help operators recover any of the significant investments made due to previous compliance requirements nor compensate for the debts carried forward for the original sums paid for licences and plates that were now deemed valueless.

“The reform has also seen a 10 per cent levy applied to fund the metropolitan taxi plate buyback scheme, which also included the Peel region,’’ she said.

“But while Peel operators will be collecting the levy, the same operators will not see any of the benefits compared with metropolitan operators, who will receive up to $100,000 per plate under the scheme.”

Mrs Cocking said with Mandurah and Murray operators subject to more competition and the additional 10 per cent levy, regional operators would be up to $90,000 per plate worse off than metropolitan operators.

She said there was still no level playing field for regional operators.

Ms Saffioti said the State Government had already provided taxi operators in the Peel and Murray area $10,000 per licence in recognition of them being brought into the leviable metropolitan area.

She said the 2019-20 State Budget also included a further $10,000 per licence as part of the $3.95 million regional taxi transition assistance package.

Further relief was also provided through the State Government waiving its passenger transport vehicle authorisation fees for a further three years.

“It is important to note Peel and Murray taxi operators, like others in regional WA, did not buy taxi plates from the State Government,’’ she said.

“Unlike metropolitan taxi plates, owned outright, country taxi-car licensees hold an annual licence that is held against a taxi-car vehicle.”