2019 State budget | MLC: State could do more for regional taxis

South West MLC Steve Thomas said the state government needed to do more to support regional taxi operators in WA.

In last week's state budget, the government announced that country taxi operators could now apply for further assistance as part of a new $3.4 million Regional Taxi Transition Support Package.

Because, country taxis existed under separate legislation and operated on an annual licence system they were ineligible for the taxi-plate buyback for privately owned plates.

As part of the package, support was available to eligible regional taxi licence holders to assist them with the transition to meet requirements set out under new passenger transport reforms.

Under the package, operators could apply for a payment of $10,000 per taxi-car licence to existing regional taxi operators, capped at 10 licences or $100,000 per licence holder;

Waive the on-demand booking service authorisation fee for existing regional operators for an additional three years above the existing one-year waiver for all operators; and

Waive the passenger transport vehicle authorisation fee for existing regional operators for three years.

Country taxi operators were also exempt from paying the on-demand passenger transport levy, and have been provided access to grants of $500 per current licence as a contribution towards the purchase and installation of in-car security cameras.

Transport minister Rita Saffioti said country taxis played an important role in our regions and this package would assist the industry while it adjusted to a more open market.

"The Government is committed to providing support for existing taxi operators during this transition and I encourage those most affected to seek guidance and support to help them through these changes," she said.

Dr Thomas said the government should stop Perth drivers from going to regional areas to pick up fares because it was unfair and drivers should be able to reject short distance fares.