Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP says legislation proposed by the State Government will impose a new tax on regional taxi drivers to fund compensation payments for metropolitan plate holders.
Mr Wilson, who met with regional industry representatives in Albany this week, is calling on Opposition Leader Mike Nahan and Legislative Council crossbenchers to block the legislation in State Parliament.
Under the McGowan Government’s proposed reforms to the on-demand transport industry, a 10 per cent levy will be imposed on total fare revenue generated by taxi and charter operators to fund a buy-back scheme for Perth taxi plates.
Despite the fact only metropolitan plate-holders will be eligible for the buy-back scheme, the new tax will be imposed state-wide and apply to regional operators.
Mr Wilson said imposing a state-wide tax for a buy-back scheme that only applied to Perth taxi plates meant regional small business owners would be subsidising compensation for city drivers.
“It is outrageous and completely unfair to ask country residents to pay a 10 per cent tax that will fund industry compensation limited exclusively to Perth,” he said.
“This tax will threaten the viability of on-demand transport in regional areas and we are at risk of losing an industry that provides an important service, particularly for elderly residents.
“It’s just been one attack after another on the regions since this Government took office – the level of contempt Mark McGowan and the Labor Party have shown regional WA is astonishing.
“At the very least, the State Government should be offering the same compensation to regional operators if they’re serious about acknowledging the significant changes to the on-demand transport industry.
“I’ll be asking Mike Nahan and the WA Liberal Party to block this legislation when it hits the Upper House, and urging the other crossbenchers to do the same.”
Mr Wilson said he would be looking to facilitate a meeting between regional taxi operators, Dr Nahan and Shadow Transport Minister Liza Harvey to discuss the industry’s concerns.
“I’m also calling on the State Government to go back to the drawing board, engage regional operators, and come up with a package that doesn’t focus exclusively on their voting base in Perth,” he said.