UBER drivers would be slugged with tougher penalties under a Bill to be introduced by the Katter’s Australian Party.
KAP MPs Robbie Katter (pictured) and Shane Knuth say they fear the controversial rise of Uber will eventually lead to Queensland’s taxi industry being “wiped out”.
“We feel that if Government’s not going to do anything, Opposition’s not going to do anything, we will do something,” Mr Knuth said.
“You’ll see major parties will tip-toe through the tulips, whereas we see the need (to act). It’s not about votes. We’re making decisions on what is good for our regions.”
The pair, who are also concerned about Uber’s attempts to dodge GST, plan to introduce the Transport Legislation (Taxi Services) Amendment Bill 2015 during the upcoming sitting week as a private member’s Bill. The Bill proposes drivers receive three demerit points for their first breach and six for each offence after that.
Uber has argued that it is a ride-sharing service and shouldnot come under the same regulations as the taxi industry, who have branded it an “illegal taxi service”.
The KAP MPs say they are particularly concerned about the impact a major decline within the taxi industry would have on Queenslanders with disabilities and Department of Veterans’ Affairs passengers.
“They move a million wheelchairs per annum at no cost to the Government – it’s cross-subsidised from other routes,” Mr Katter said.
“So, if the taxi industry disappears, somehow we’ve got to magically come up with a way to transport those million people a year in wheelchairs.”
Mr Katter, who said cabbies were “up in arms” in his electorate, is hopeful that even if the proposed laws are not ultimately adopted, the Bill willgenerate more public debate and force the Government to act on the issue sooner.
“We’re optimistic that it will be successful in some form and it will generate some protection to the Australian taxpayers and to the 60,000 businesses that are built around the taxi industry,” he said.
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