TAXI drivers in central Victoria say they are waiting on edge to see whether the government adopts sweeping reforms from the taxi industry inquiry, which they fear will “flood the market”.
Proposed recommendations of the inquiry would see a greater deregulation of taxi licences, meaning more people could buy cheaper licences to drive taxis in regional Victoria.
The final report of Professor Allan Fels’ overhaul of the industry will be put to parliament today, after an extended consultation period.
Castlemaine taxi owner and operator Jen Hocking said her livelihood, and the overall service of taxis in the region, would be on the line if reforms were pushed through.
She said the proposed changes, which will be looked at in Parliament, would be damaging for all local drivers.
“We stand to lose a lot and so do our passengers,” she said. “The reforms don’t take into account the consequences for regional areas, and taxi drivers are very concerned they are going to flood the market and we’re not going to be able to maintain qualified drivers.”
Victorian Taxi Association spokesman David Samuel said the reforms would mean more taxis would be available in Bendigo and Castlemaine, but the “over supply” would have long-term consequences.