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Fairer deal for taxi drivers will improve standards

Federation policy officer Lucie O'Brien has written in support of a strong opinion piece by Ross Gittins in The Age arguing for the reform of taxi licences proposed by Alan Fels as part of the current Taxi Industry Inquiry. The letter, published in The Age today, states:

ROSS Gittins makes an important point (Comment, 25/7). The debate over taxi reform has been hijacked by taxi licence holders, who make about $35,000 a year by leasing their licences to taxi operators. Not surprisingly, licence holders oppose any change. They are well resourced, well organised and well connected.

In the meantime, drivers, who are on low incomes, have few opportunities to state their views. Some have made submissions to the Fels taxi inquiry, supporting his recommendations, but many are reluctant to speak out. They can't afford to lose their jobs and they have no protection against unfair dismissal. One anonymous submission puts it this way: "I was told that's the way it is, if I like, I have a job, if not see you later."

Alan Fels' proposals will benefit drivers by improving working conditions, which will promote better standards. These are moderate, sensible reforms that focus on the interests of the community. Thanks, Ross Gittins, for speaking up for ordinary drivers and the travelling public. We desperately need more balance in this debate.

The letter has been published online at The Age (Scroll to 'Supporting taxi drivers').

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