Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor

DOUBLE BLOW: Rod Barton, president of the Victorian Hire Car Association, says the Andrews government's reforms will hurt drivers and passengers alike.
DOUBLE BLOW: Rod Barton, president of the Victorian Hire Car Association, says the Andrews government's reforms will hurt drivers and passengers alike.

Reforms leave destruction

Transport Minister Jacinta Allan has been less than forthcoming with the facts. It is a classic example of not what you say, but what you don't say. This has lead to many forming the view that the minister has been misleading the public.

In Victoria, there are approximately 5600 taxi licences and 2700 hire car licences. The minister’s public suggestions that taxi drivers will be $23,000 a year better off is simply untrue.

The taxi industry advise us that less than 10 per cent of the 5600 taxi fleet pay $23,000 a year to the Victorian government. The 2700 hire car licences are privately owned and cannot be leased. The $23,000 a year has no bearing on the hire car industry at all, in fact nothing in this bill adds any improvements to the hire car industry.

Minister Allan should speak to the customers of the hire car industry as we have. She may be in for a shock.

New entrants (Uber) will not have to pay $23,000 a year while the minister leaves the established industry financially ruined with legacy debt and emotionally shattered.

In a letter by Minister Allan to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee, which examines whether law complies with the charter, the minister wrote that there was no charter concern because “there is some doubt” as to whether a taxi licence under the current legislation was property.

In support of that idea, the minister referred to a British planning law case in which the loss of value in a home was found not to be a property right.

What the minister did not mention was that the question of taxi licences as property has already been decided in Australia by the High Court (Federal Commissioner of Taxation v Murray (1998) 193 CLR 605).

Minister Allan also publicly claims that they are providing the most generous compensation package in Australia. Minister Allan says this without providing any context – no other state or territory is cancelling $1 billion of taxi cab and hire car licences.

In fact, we are unaware of any other place on the planet where this bizarre decision has been made to accommodate ride-sharing operations. It was simply not necessary to do this to introduce ride share.

The Andrews government leaves thousands of established drivers and operators financially and emotionally damaged, many of whom will not recover. Jacinta Allan (Labor), Samantha Dunn (Greens) and Fiona Patton (Sex Party) have combined to reduce a popular, well-run hire car industry to nothing more than a part-time ride share provider, compromising safety, lowering standards and consumer choice.

Rod Barton, Victorian Hire Car Association president

No value for money

Once again the actions of the Greater City of Bendigo continue to amaze me with a couple of things that have happened recently.

Firstly we had the organic bin fiasco where originally everyone was to have these bins but through residents pressure those that didn't need or require one got exemptions. But through poor recording of information by staff, I recently received some very colourful brochures and a roll of canister bags in the letter box, where there is no bin.

How many other residents have been delivered these products? This is an unnecessary cost to ratepayers.

The second issue is there has been a lot of debate about footpaths, namely the lack of a footpath for people with disabilities in Station Street, Kangaroo Flat.

But yet I notice footpaths being constructed in East Bendigo along Strickland Road that appears to me to be an industrial area with not a domestic dwelling in to close proximity of these footpaths.

How does a footpath in this type of area get priority over the safety of residents who pay their rates and receive no great benefit from them? 

Ivan Kitt, Bendigo