My adjournment tonight is for the minister for transport. The taxi and hire car industry has suffered terribly during these COVID lockdowns. I commend the government for recognising this and including the taxi and hire car industry in their recent business support packages.
However, this is an industry that has missed out in all the previous three state government business support packages, taxis in particular. Taxis are an industry that has not had a fair wage increase since 2014, seven long years ago. Pre-COVID 30 per cent of all commercial passenger vehicle work was to and from the airport.
This work has not recovered.
There have been several reviews into maximum fares set out for taxis since 2014. However, none of these resulted in fare increases of any kind, all while the cost of operating a taxi business continued to increase. The Essential Services Commission set these maximum fares.
Those in the taxi industry must be able to have a living wage.
We are facing a real chance that some communities in Victoria will no longer have a taxi service, as it is not economically viable anymore.
Taxis are a vital part of our community and deliver an essential service. These transport drivers are some of the lowest paid individuals in Victoria.
Unlike other businesses, they cannot raise their prices to ensure their commercial viability. Even now the fares as set by the Essential Services Commission do not factor the impact of increasing the commercial passenger fleet from around 8500 vehicles to 85 000 commercial passenger vehicles.
This means that in real terms the wage of a taxidriver has been decreasing since 2014.
The industry needs more than a hope and a prayer; we need a viable plan that shows a pathway out of this financial struggle.
That is why the action I seek is: will the government create a COVID recovery plan for the taxi and hire car industry after all that it has suffered through?
See Speech here.