Mr BARTON: I move:
1. Clause 2, line 2, after “sections” insert “22A,”.
The amendments to this bill are slightly different to the previous ones we put up. The intent has not changed but the mechanism of how we achieve it has. These amendments will deliver a modest fare rise to some of the most essential and vulnerable transport workers in Victoria. This will address the fact that these taxidrivers have only had one fare increase in 13 years. These amendments will deliver a fare rise for taxidrivers of 2.5 per cent from 1 July this year.
This will be the first fare increase in seven years. Previously the Essential Services Commission determined maximum taxi fares. The amendment will change that, with the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage review determining maximum taxi fares. Taxi fares will be reviewed annually, and that was our intention for this amendment. I am bringing this amendment to remove the Essential Services Commission from determining fares. I hope that by doing this we will be able to enable taxidrivers to continue delivering an essential service to the Victorian community. Taxi fares are critical when determining the financial viability of taxi services. Taxidrivers—you may have heard me say this before—receive no superannuation, no sick leave, no annual leave and no carers leave. This is why these amendments are so important. These amendments will deliver a fair fare increase for some of the most vulnerable workers. They will also ensure that there will be a review of taxi fares each year from now on.
I just want to thank, just quickly, Minister Carroll and their team for acting in good faith over a long period of time, and I certainly want to say to my friend and colleague in the other place Steve Dimopoulos on his work on the advisory panel: this is the work that we will be doing and continuing to do.
Ms PULFORD: On Mr Barton’s amendment, I am pleased to indicate that the government is happy to support this amendment. I would like to thank Mr Barton for his efforts in working with the government on this matter. I would also congratulate and express my regards to Mr Barton for his consistent, persistent and effective advocacy on behalf of people in his industry. The points he has made are important. The amendment relates to the setting of maximum fares for taxi services hailed from the street or procured from a rank. The providers of taxi services may charge the maximum fare or offer fares below this rate. Fares for commercial passenger services booked by phone or through mobile phone applications are not regulated, as probably most members would be aware. The Essential Services Commission determines maximum fares for taxi services, and the amendment proposes to give the ESC the option to determine maximum fares by reference to the annual wage review. Thanks, Mr Barton, for your work on this.
See speech here.