As of today, ride sharing companies such as Uber have been legalised by the Queensland government, prompting protest from members of the taxi industry.
Taxi Council of Queensland president Max McBride states that the government should provide a level playing field between the taxi industry and ride-sharing companies
“We just want a fair and reasonable competitive environment,” he said.
“The Government has chosen to ensure that the cab industry in Queensland retains all of or most of it’s costs and has allowed a big American corporation to enter the market unfettered with nothing but a minimal amount of requirements.”
The State Government has previously offered $4.3 million in the form of waived fees as compensation to the taxi industry to help them adapt to the widening market.
The compensation includes $20,000 that will be given to taxi service licence owners per licence.
Currently a taxi service licence in Australia costs between $300,000 and $550,000.
Protesters at a rally at Parliament House last week criticised Uber regarding their corporate tax avoidance and the Government for legalising these operations in the state.
Grayson, 18, who works in a taxi workshop criticised the legislation’s limited regulation regarding Uber and the company’s tax avoidance.
“The legislation supports overseas business that doesn’t pay tax on any Australian profits,” he said.
“What they’re doing is technically illegal and they don’t provide proper insurance against accidents and they don’t have proper driver testing and car testing so you’re basically getting in with a unexperienced driver in a non-suitable car”
Protesters urged the government to provide an equal playing field between the taxi industry and ride-sharing companies.
“We would be alright if Uber had to pay the same registration and same insurance costs that we do but they don’t,” says Grayson.
The protest received no opposition apart from one man who had stopped in his van to yell profanities among other things at protestors.
Brett, 40, a courier driver criticised the taxi industry and believed that the companies managements has been feeding drivers lies to some degree.
“The whole thing is outdated and it needs to be updated,” he said.
He also mentioned the assaults on Uber drivers that have occurred in the past.
At least three Uber drivers have been assaulted in Brisbane with one attack suspected of being committed by off-duty taxi drivers with these claims based on anti-Uber rhetoric spoken during the attack.