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NSW rideshare, Uber and taxi users could face extra 20 cent passenger service levy

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NSW taxi and rideshare customers could be slugged with another 20 cent fee on their passenger service levy, in the State Government’s latest effort to fund a taxi licence compensation package.

Bringing the total to $1.20, the fee is slated to remain in place until 2030. If the plan is passed, the surcharge is set to raise an additional $260 million, bringing the scheme’s total to $905 million. This means Sydney taxi plate holders will get $150,000 (up from $100,000) and regional owners will get between $85,000 to $195,000 depending on where they live.

The taxi industry will then be deregulated from 2030 onwards.

NSW rideshare and taxi users were first slugged with a passenger levy in 2015 after Mike Baird’s Liberal government legalised ride-sharing services like Uber. The levy would go on to fund transitional payments for taxi licence owners who have been affected by the rising rideshare industry.

Speaking to 2GB radio host Ben Fordham on Monday morning, NSW Transport Minister David Elliott said the plan was the “most generous package in Australia” by a “country mile”.

“That will make sure that the taxpayers of NSW aren’t necessarily burdened with this package,” he said.

“It‘s very much so a user-pays package.”

Mr Elliott also urged the state’s peak industry body, the NSW Taxi Council, to support the terms. According to The Daily Telegraph, the bill will not enter parliament unless it receives prior approval from the industry.

“I would appeal for members of the taxi council to talk to their peak body and take the offer,” he said.

“We only have two weeks of parliament left and if we don’t get legislation in over the course of two weeks, this will not be endorsed, it will probably go to a review, or independent committee. This means taxi drivers will not get their money.

“If there’s a review or independent assessment, well then it’s quite likely there’ll be less money on offer.”

This comes after the NSW Government faced intense backlash from the Taxi Council and backbench Liberal party members who demanded more compensation for licence owners.

In October, Castle Hill MP Ray Williams demanded the levy be increased to $2, so taxi drivers could receive market value payout for their taxi licence, increasing compensation rates to up to $350,000.

One of 10 MPs who attended a protest in support of a greater compensation plan, Mr Williams apologised for what he claims was a lacklustre plan.

“[To] those people who have sold homes because they’ve had to, and those people that have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt for the price they paid for taxi plates prior to the legalisation of ride sharing, can I just say to you all I’m sorry,” he said.

“No amount of sympathy will wind back what those people, and what you people have suffered for seven years.

“If we are looking to compensate taxi plate owners, you should receive the market value of your plate prior to the legalisation of ride sharing.”

Story Credit: news.com.au

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