Rod Barton came to parliament to right a wrong. In the coming week Rod Barton will be introducing a motion to the parliament to address that wrong. Assistance for Taxi industry reform is yet to come.
In 2014, Uber entered the taxi and hire car market illegally. Uber’s vehicles were unaccredited to operate, the fares charged to customers were below the cost of delivery and their business structure depended on the exploitation of the driver. Uber was on a mission to get a commercial advantage and gain a foothold in the industry.
When the government introduced reforms in 2017 that revoked taxi and hire car licences, Rod Barton, along with the rest of the industry, fell victim to grossly unfair and devasting financial distress.
Taxi licences were listed as assets, could be traded and were determined by the High Court of Australia in 1998 to be a valuable item of property. While the government may suggest otherwise, it is clear that a taxi licence is property.
Revoking the licences for a fraction of their worth constitutes a breach of the Charter of Human Rights.
The implementation of the transition assistance payments and fairness fund failed to address the economic suffering of those in the industry and had inequitable consequences.
Rod Barton believes this is not good enough. That is why he is calling on the Andrews Labor government to:
(a) accept a financial proposal to properly compensate the industry for the compulsory asset acquisition of all perpetual Victorian taxi and hire car licences;
(b) make adjustments to the commercial passenger vehicle industry structure to better balance market components and end driver exploitation; and
(c) support a recovery plan to build back and move the commercial passenger vehicle industry forward through COVID-19.
This motion seeks Taxi industry reform and retribution for the measures that unfairly wiped out the taxi and hire car industry and all those who participated in it.
The government may want this to be over. You only have to look to the suffering and economic devastation still faced by thousands of Victorian families to see that it isn’t.