Ghosts of ride-share legalisation still haunting Qld

May 5, 2023

Queensland’s personalised transport services sector has declined at such a rate that low taxi availability – especially in relation to wheelchair accessible vehicles – has left some Queenslanders feeling like prisoners in their homes.

That’s according to Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter who has this week lamented the semi-deregulation of the industry and the concurrent decline in services.

He said the Palaszczuk Labor Government had presided over the destruction of a previously effective, regulated sector.

He said it was outrageous that, despite the Queensland population having grown by about 800,000 people in the past decade, there had been no growth in the number of wheelchair accessible taxis (WATs).

In 2012 there was one WAT for every 7,102 Queenslanders while today there is only one for every 8,232 Queenslanders.

Mr Katter said the rate of WATs needed to be increased, and that ride-share operators also needed to shoulder some of the load.

He said there was no regulatory requirement for services like Uber or Didi to provide a minimum service in this space while certain taxi licences were for WAT vehicles only.

“The shocking state of passenger transport in Queensland is a consequence of the State Government’s actions, and it is Queensland’s most vulnerable paying the greatest price,” Mr Katter said.

“How is it acceptable in Queensland in 2023 that we have people who need to use wheelchair accessible taxis for work and medical appointments feeling like they’re trapped in their own homes?[1]

“When ridesharing was legalised in 2016, it was meant to encourage competition, but today we’re worse off than when we started.

“The uneven playing field sparked by rideshare, combined with COVID-induced and ongoing post-pandemic driver shortages and skyrocketing fuel prices, have left the industry in a complete mess.

“Much of this was the State Government’s doing, and they have now created a very difficult situation for themselves because they either need to force rideshare to join in providing wheel-chair accessible services or they need to further incentivise taxis to shoulder more of the load.”

Mr Katter urged Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey to move urgently on the matter.

He also called for the Minister to make progress on reaching a deal with Queensland cabbies as they continue their fight for fair compensation following the impacts of semi-deregulation on their industry.