KAP Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter was overwhelmed with a groundswell of support this week following the introduction of his private members bill set to tackle illegal taxis.
The Transport Legislation (Taxi Services) Amendment Bill 2015 which proposes to increase penalties for those operating a taxi service without a licence is one of the first of its kind in Australia.
Mr Katter, who was thankful for the support said it was essential local taxi operators and drivers who complied within the laws were protected.
“Our taxis provide many more community services than the average lift home, yet they have been heavily impacted by emerging illegal operators,” Mr Katter said.
“Regulations are in place for a reason, operating a taxi service without a licence is akin to selling liquor out the back of your house without a hotel licence.”
The party leader said there is an appetite by successive governments to deregulate everything and allow multinationals to operate outside of the law.
“This has happened with our dairy industry and they are trying to do it with our pharmaceuticals.” Mr Katter said.
“Sure the price point is a sweetener in the beginning, until the market is dominated and in the end the consumer will lose and the large corporation will win ,”
In conjunction with the tabling of the Bill last Wednesday a petition of over 5400 signatures calling for immediate action was submitted.
“Our legislation simply penalises those defined to be providing a taxi service without a taxi licence.” Mr Katter said.
“If services like ‘Uber’ are not found to be operating a taxi service without a licence as they claim, they have nothing to worry about.”
Mr Katter said he is happy to support development in the industry and has considered the multiple submissions made by ‘ride sharing’ services during the development of the bill.
“We have a set of laws and an industry built around it, we won’t have millionaire multinational corporations ride roughshod over our government.”
“You don’t come into our country, bypass our system, start operating under your own and expect us to change just to suit you,” Mr Katter said.
It is expected there will be numerous reforms put in place during the Queensland Taxi Strategic Plan 2010-2015 at the end of this year.
“We are not against competition in industry and look forward to working with all legal transportation operators,” Mr Katter said.