The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) has welcomed the Palaszczuk Government’s announcement of a $23million package to help Queensland taxi operators and licence owners recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
TCQ reached out to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Hon Mark Bailey, about the desperate plight of industry members as demand for taxi services plummeted by 70 and 80% due to restrictions on business and leisure travel aimed at containing possible transmission of coronavirus within the community.
Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Bailey both heard and agreed with TCQ’s message that everyone in the industry had been affected, suffering severe economic loss.
Palaszczuk said: “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.“
TCQ CEO Blair Davies was quick to praise the State Government for working with the taxi industry in a bid to re-boot the Queensland economy as the COVID-19 threat appears to have been contained.
Davies said: "It has been a very tough few months for the Queensland taxi industry, but we have a proud history of working with Government and the community in times of crisis and natural disaster.
“Along with many other industries, we have been brought to our knees by COVID-19 but it is now time to start standing back up and get going again. The Government’s assistance package will be a well-timed tonic to help our members do just that.”
The $23 million unite and recover 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 predomi- nantly for taxis and/or limousines;
one-off incentive payments of an additional $1,000 per vehicle for Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WATs) operators.
Queensland’s cabbies remained on call 24/7 during the height of the COVID-19 crisis and they continue to stand ready to provide safe and reliable transport for their local communities now in the emerging recovery.