In brief – Issuing of new licences to be subject to a
consumer interest test
The final report of the Taxi Industry Inquiry, Final report: Customers First - Service, Safety,
Choice has made 139 recommendations to the government,
including the establishment of the Taxi Services Commission, which
will have powers to reform the industry and the taxi licensing
Government announces support for inquiry's
On 28 May the Premier of Victoria Denis Napthine and Minister
for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced government support for
the majority of the recommendations of the Taxi Industry
The Taxi Industry Inquiry was established in March 2011 with a
view to achieving substantial reform of the taxi and hire car
industry. The independent inquiry was headed by Professor Allan
Fels and Dr David Cousins AM and in its final report made 139
recommendations to the government.
New Taxi Services Commission to consider impact of new
The key recommendations include the establishment of the Taxi
Services Commission, to be headed by former ACCC Chairman Graeme
Samuel, to operate as a statutory authority with powers to reform
The government has indicated that the issue of new licences will
be subject to a "consumer interest test" under which the
Taxi Services Commission will consider the impact of licence issues
on consumers. The taxi licensing system will be reformed to
introduce annual prices for licences which will be indexed for
inflation. Prices will be set at levels that will relieve pressures
on overheads and fares whilst also mitigating the reduction of
licence values for existing licence holders.
It is intended to remove restrictions on the number of new taxi
licences issued, with the Taxi Services Commission monitoring the
impact of the issue of new licences.
Hire car red tape to be cut and taxi drivers required to pass
The system will also remove restrictions and red tape on pre
booked hire car services to enable a more diverse range of services
to be provided.
Taxi drivers will be required to pass an independent examination
called the "Greater Melbourne Knowledge" before
Reforms to make taxi industry more disability friendly
It is hoped that reform of the industry will also provide better
services for people with disability, through both driver training
and encouraging more accessible vehicles. An amended fare structure
will aim to improve affordability and help address issues such as
cab shortages, long waiting times, short trip refusal and airport
It is fair to say that the reforms have not been universally
received with enthusiasm and there has already been some industrial
action from the industry in response to the proposed reforms.
Reforms aim to give taxi drivers better pay and conditions
Nevertheless it is hoped that over time, customers will see the
benefits of the reforms being instituted and that taxi drivers will
also see better pay and conditions as they are to be provided with
a guaranteed 55% of takings, which is an increase on the current
pay for drivers.
It is acknowledged by the government that the legislation to
implement the proposed changes will take some time to develop and
will involve a Regulatory Impact Statement providing for public
consultation and a cost benefit analysis.
There has been a range of recent legal developments that affect privacy, child abuse claims and workers compensation.
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