Wednesday, April 24, 2024

QLD: Seniors “more reliant” on taxis during COVID

Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government has announced an additional $23 million to support the state’s taxi and limousine operators as Queensland continues its COVID-19 recovery.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk unveiled the multi-million dollar industry package, which includes support payments for operators and licence holders, as part of the second stage of her Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan.

“We know many taxi and limo drivers have been hit hard from the COVID-19 restrictions,” the Premier said.

“This has happened at the same time as more Queenslanders with a disability and seniors are becoming more reliant on our taxis to travel safely.

“There are more than 3,200 taxi licences and 500 limousine licences across Queensland, representing thousands of small businesses, mums and dads who need our support.

“This funding package will ensure that they’re not only supported but also that our taxi services are available to those who need it most.

“Queensland’s health response to this global pandemic has been world-class, this package is about supporting industries and small businesses and in turn supporting jobs as we unite and recover from COVID-19.”

The $23 million stimulus package includes:

  • One-off payments of $3,500 per vehicle to taxi and limousine operators
  • One-off payments of $1,000 per licence to taxi and limousine licence holders
  • One-off payments of $1,500 to authorised booking entities for each affiliated taxi/limousine, capped at 1,000 vehicles and for entities that provide booking services predominantly for taxis and/or limousines
  • One-off incentive payments of an additional $1,000 per vehicle for Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WATs) operators

Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey said with every corner of the industry having been severely impacted by the Coronavirus, the package was designed to assist not only drivers but licence holders and booking entities.

“I’ve listened to the industry. For many, work has completely disappeared. That’s why we’ve created a package that addresses the challenges they’re facing and will face so they can continue to transport Queenslanders,” Mr Bailey said.

“This package is especially important for Queenslanders in our community who have a disability, with the package to include an additional payment for operators whose taxis are wheelchair accessible,” he said.

“This is about supporting local businesses and local jobs.”

Mr Bailey said it builds on a $54.5 million essential transport services package released in April, which included:

  • Extending existing booked hire/taxi driver authorisations and taxi/limousine licences for six months
  • A further waiver of the annual Taxi Industry Security Levy in 2019/20
  • Extending all existing booking entity authorisations for six months
  • Temporarily extending the refund policy for holders of booked hire service licences so they can receive a pro-rata refund if they choose to surrender their licence
  • Waiving fees for operators to de-register and re-register their vehicles

“While many in the industry have been hit hard by COVID-19, a lot of operators have continued operating despite the challenges to make sure frontline staff can get to and from work, and I want to acknowledge that role they’ve played.”

“Just like before COVID-19, taxi and limousine operators will continue to play a crucial role in keeping Queensland moving post-COVID-19,” he said.

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