Bob Katter at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith
Bob Katter at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith

Katter backs taxi drivers’ ride share class action

QUEENSLAND cabbies want remuneration from the Queensland Government saying that ride sharing services have robbed them of their livelihood.

Federal MP Bob Katter spoke on behalf of the 964 taxi drivers who are lodging a class action against the state government for legalising ride sharing services, which has eroded the value of taxi licences.

Mr Katter said that he estimates that "$1.5 billion" has been "thieved' by overseas ride sharing corporations and has been a direct contributor of casualising the workforce.

"There is one set of laws for Australians and another set of laws for a foreign corporations," he said.

Speaking on behalf of Queensland taxis, Marie Meares said that ridesharing has made the industry an unfair playing field, where cabbies can barely break even.

"We just can't meet the regulations," she said.

Member for Kennedy Bob Katter with spokeswoman for the Queensland Taxi Group Marie Meares and Cairns taxi owner Chris Drake on Wednesday. Picture: Peter Carruthers PETER CARRUTHERS
Member for Kennedy Bob Katter with spokeswoman for the Queensland Taxi Group Marie Meares and Cairns taxi owner Chris Drake on Wednesday. Picture: Peter Carruthers PETER CARRUTHERS

Ms Meares said that the government should have more compassion for drivers who did not take into account what ramifications ridesharing would have on the taxi industry.

"If this industry keeps going the way it is, we'll be deregulated and the only losers will be the public," she said.

Instructing solicitor John Maitland heading the class action said that the taxi drivers have been left with no other options than to seek legal action.

"When ridesharing came in, it was not a level playing field," he said.

Taxi licences were once estimated to be worth up to $500,000 but have plummeted values of around $50,000.

"It's not hard to see that if somebody has bought a licence and mortgaged their house to pay for it, that when the licence is suddenly devalued, there's a shortfall, and the banks have not been kind to these people," Mr Maitland said.

Taxi drivers are seeking more than $20,000 from the class action which will be lodged in the Brisbane Supreme Court.



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