DRIVE A2B July 2017 edition


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DRIVE A2B July 2017 magazine for the Victorian Point-to-Point Transport Industry

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ACCIDENTWe have Quick and COVER Easy solutions FOR TAXIS & HIRE CARS for all your Accident Cover needs VICTORIA TAXI CLUB 128 Errol Street, North Melbourne tel 9326 3808 | fax 9326 4808 | email


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HELLO ... and WELCOME to the 3rd edition of DRiVE Voice of the Victorian Point-to-Point Transport Industry In April 2017 the Directors of Trade Promotions Pty Ltd (publishers of Taxi Talk) made a decision to rebrand the voice of the Victorian Taxi and Hire Car industry. Taxi Talk was published for 51 years (1966 - 2017) and we didn’t sell Taxi Talk, we have simply rebranded it DRIVE A2B - Voice of the Victorian Point-to-Point Transport Industry. This move has allowed us to keep current and relevant to this industry – the commercial passenger vehicle industry. We pride ourselves on reporting news of the Pointto-Point Transport industry, both in Australia and overseas, when it happens as it happens. DRIVE A2B invites everyone to submit articles, viewpoints or comments for consideration for publication. You all have a voice and we give you the opportunity to be heard. Delivering news on all the different facets of the Point-to-Point Transport Industry. DRiVE Voice of the Victorian Point-to-Point Transport Industry incorporating TAXIOF THE TVAOXIICINEDUSTRY on the ranks MAGAZINE since 1966


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CONTENTS REGULARS 14 Taxi news The Victorian Government should treat the taxi industry justly. 16 Legal news The High Court made a decision years ago that taxi licences are property. 20 VHCA update The VHCA comments on the Victorian Government’s rejection of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee’s recommendations of fairness and compromise. 30 Interstate news Updates on what’s happening around Australia in our industry. 32 Your say Letters and emails received by DRIVE A2B regarding the point-to-point transport industry. 40 Industry statistics Figures for last month’s Victorian taxi and hire car industry statistics. 44 Overseas news Snippets regarding the point-to-point industry around the world. FRONT COVER Melbourne - the world’s most liveable city - photo by Flickr FEATURES 10 CPVI Bill 2017 The Economy and Infrastructure Committee presented their report to Government and we have an update on this. 12 Industry is a mess Hon Jeff Kennett AC believes that ride sharing could have been introduced in Victoria without the wholesale massacre of the industry. Editor Mrs Toni Peters Publisher Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mount Waverley Vic. 3149 Advertising enquiries Mrs Toni Peters P 0400 137 866 E · W Media Pack containing advertisement sizes and costs can be downloaded from our website. Deadline All articles, editorial and artwork must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to publication date. Home delivery subscription $40 for your copy of DRIVE A2B to be mailed to you for one year. Payment options Direct Deposit to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd BSB 033065 ACC 312786 REF your name Mail Cheque to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017 5


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Welcome to the July 2017 edition of DRiVE Voice of the Victorian Point-to-Point Transport Industry Editorial At the recent sitting of the Legislative Council we heard from every political party their thoughts, pros and cons for introducing the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill 2017. Many queried the government on how figures had been calculated and why certain measures to protect the licence owners haven’t been put into place. But of particular note was the fact that so many members spoke about the illegal activity of ride-sharing businesses in Victoria, and that the current government hasn’t done anything to stop or deter them. Wendy Lovell, (Legislative Council member for Northern Victorian) said, “The Minister [for Transport] has allowed the ride-sharing industry to operate illegally in this state”. Fiona Patten (Legislative Council member for Northern Metropolitan) commented that the delay of legislation indicates we are not advancing with innovation at a speed we should be. Ms Patten spoke openly of how she uses ride-sharing primarily because she loves the app on her phone. It is a pity that other taxi companies overseas don’t have apps, but Victorian taxi companies have had phone booking apps for many years, they just forgot to widely publicise this. By not doing anything, the government has allowed ridesharing businesses to keep stealing work from the taxi and hire car industry. Effectively condoning criminal operations. During the proceedings all non-government members referred to meetings they have had with licence holders, VTHF and VHCA. Yet no mention of meetings with the Victorian Taxi Association (VTA). Perhaps the VTA has not been widely consulted on this issue at all. The VTA has advised its members that the CPVI Bill will pass the lower house without issue. It has stated that “it is our current view that there are no meaningful legal options to stop, delay or force alteration to the reforms as they stand”. So, have they just given up, without a fight? Ms Patten commented that “until legislation gets through that ends the licensing system, compensation for licences cannot be paid”. “I would have liked the Bill to get through on Thursday [22 June] so that the lower house could sign off on it and compensation could immediately flow. As you know 6 DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017


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incorporating TAXIOF THE TVAOXIICINEDUSTRY on the ranks MAGAZINE since 1966 this didn’t happen but the Bill will be signed off in the lower house when they get back in August,” she continued. The VTHF and VHCA have not forsaken their members. They are having a joint meeting on 16 July at Reggio Calabria Club, 476 Brunswick Road, Parkville. This meeting is for all their members to hear the status of their legal claims and also to share their thoughts. The Hon Jeff Kennett AC said, ”The current government under Minister Jacinta Allan, decided to complete the destruction of the Taxi industry as we have known it for years, by revoking Taxi Licences”. ”I do not oppose change, but clear thinkers could have overseen the introduction of ride sharing without the wholesale massacre of the industry that has, with a few exceptions, served the Victorian community well,” stated Mr Kennett. In Queensland the Transport and Other Legislation (Personalised Transport Reform) Amendment Act 2017 was passed by Parliament on 24 May 2017. The first part of these reforms were implemented on 9 June. They include new security camera specifications, and forward and/or rear facing cameras are now allowed in taxis and booked hire car vehicles. From 1 October 2017, all Queensland vehicles providing booked hire services must have new, clearly visible signage. The Melbourne Airport website states that, for security purposes, all commercial licensed drivers and their vehicles operating within Melbourne Airport, including VHA, must be authorised. They must have a current Landside Drivers Authority (LDA) and vehicle permit. This is in addition to the current Driver’s Accreditation or Commercial Passenger Vehicle Licence issued by the Taxi Services Commission. This being the case, then when ride-sharing is eventually legalised, all ride-sharing drivers MUST also have an LDA. Wonder how Melbourne Airport security is going to enforce this one? Toni Peters EDITOR Views expressed in any article in DRIVE A2B magazine are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any opinions, information, errors or omissions in this publication. To the extent permitted by law, the publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising from the contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damage. Advertisements must comply with the relevant provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Responsibility for compliance with the Act rests with the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisement. DRIVE A2BTM is wholly owned by Trade Promotions Pty Ltd. © Trade Promotions Pty Ltd 2017. All rights reserved. Copyright of articles and photographs in DRIVE A2BTM remains with the individual contributors and may not be reproduced without permission. DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017 7


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PARLIAMENTARY OUTCOMES Inquiry report The Economy and Infrastructure Committee (EIC) held public hearings on the CPVI Bill 2017 at Parliament House on 23 and 24 May. Below is a summary of the EIC’s report. KEY FINDING Estimates of the revenue from the $2 levy are based on data from existing taxi trips and will likely underestimate the total revenue. ������������������������������������������ Someone forgot to add in the trips done by Hire Cars and Ride Sharing vehicles thereby making the estimates very wrong and very understated. RECOMMENDATION 1 That the Victorian Government amend the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Bill 2017 to: • recognise that the primary purpose of the levy is to provide support to existing taxi‑cab licence holders through the Fairness Fund and transitional financial assistance payments • qualify the status of payments to ensure recipients are not financially disadvantaged • provide for a reduced rate of levy in rural and regional areas • specify a sunset clause for the levy’s operation. • ���R���E����C���O����M�����M�� ENDATION 2 That the Victorian Government remove the $50 million cap on the Fairness Fund to ensure that all legitimate claims for compensation can be honoured through revenue raised by the commercial passenger vehicle levy. � RECOMMENDATION 3 That the Victorian Government consider increasing compensation to primary and subsequent licence holders in an independent and clearly articulated, transparent, equitable and non‑arbitrary model for the valuation of perpetual licences and that this model be based on market value valuation methodology. 8 DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017 RECOMMENDATION 4 That the Victorian Government provide compensation as lump sum payments at the outset of revokation of taxi licences. ��������������������������������������� RECOMMENDATION 5 That the Victorian Government ensure that: • existing Multi Purpose Taxi Program concessions for passengers are extended to all commercial passenger vehicle trips • these trips are exempt from the levy. ����������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������� RECOMMENDATION 6 That the Victorian Government provide a response to the Committee in time for the Parliament of Victoria to finalise debate and pass the Bill, with amendments as suggested through this report’s recommendations, by 22 June 2017. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� RECOMMENDATION 7 That the Victorian Government consider reducing the levy applied to commercial passenger vehicle service transactions.


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WYTOOEUBWRUATYANXTI! NOT YOUR LICENCE - YOUR TAXI VEHICLE Have you had enough? Are you looking to retire? Do you want a change? Fair money paid and immediate settlement CONTACT HARRY 0418 333 433 or email 1313-1315 North Road Huntingdale Phone 9543 8700 NOGOUEWTT before deregulation destroys your business


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PARLIAMENTARY OUTCOMES CPVI bill The recommendations were presented, government’s response was tabled, Legislative Council deliberated, amendments to the Bill were made and now, once again, we are at a standstill. The Economy and Infrastructure Committee (EIC) held public hearings on the CPVI Bill at Parliament House on 23 and 24 May and handed over its report on 8 June to the government. It appears that the EIC did carefully listen to all the witnesses who presented to the committee and the report reflects this. The EIC, which comprised representatives from five political parties, found that the proposed Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill 2017 requires a number of amendments to reflect the reality of the plight of taxi licence holders in Victoria and the compensation that is owed them. Mr Bernie Finn MLC, Chairman Economy and Infrastructure Committee said, “Effectively licences that were purchased at a high price from government as a capital asset the government proposes to reduce in value to zero. This is devastating for many working men and women who have dedicated their lives to the commercial passenger vehicle industry.” “Innovation is important and the economy and industry change all the time”, he continued. “Certainly ride sharing as an industry is here to stay. However it is important that any new industry players understand that they need to work within the legal and regulatory parameters that are established in Victoria. Some businesses new to this state have not done so and continue to fail to behave ethically”, said Mr Finn. Minister for Transport Jacinta Allan then reviewed the recommendations and (together with her advisers) made the decision that the majority of the recommendations would NOT be adopted. It appears that the Government just doesn’t comprehend the content of the EIC report. They are, apparently, unable to recognise the fact that ALL licence holders should be compensated by the Government for revoking their licences, that the figures used to calculate the compensation and the assistance payments are well understated, nor that the regional areas should pay a lesser levy than the metropolitan zones. The government state in their response that they wish to pass this legislation to provide safe regulatory environment for ridesharing. Who is the government working for? The public, or Uber and 13CABS (which already have private vehicles on the road posing as taxis). The Government thinks and tells the public that there will be cheaper fares for passengers. Not one witness at the EIC inquiry indicated that the fares would go down, rather the opposite. With the advent of the $2 trip levy the fares would increase by $2. The government does not agree to introducing a sunset clause and is asking us to trust it to stop collecting the trip levy once the funds paid have been recouped. 10 DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017


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What’s to stop the government from keeping the levy from still being collected for, say, MPTP assistance? Their response paper even states “once the levy has recouped the funding allocated to financial assistance that a reduced levy to subsidise services for people with a mobility impairment, who can’t use other forms of transport and rely on taxis the most, may be appropriate”. So, it seems that the government has no, or little, intention of stopping the trip levy - instead they will keep it going to pay for other things. This seems much more like a tax than a levy. One minute the Government states that “the primary purpose of the levy is to provide financial support to existing CPV licence holders”, and in the next breath it says that they will only compensate 98% of the licence holders. 98% is not 100% - therefore it is not ALL of the existing CPV licence holders. The Government has been listening to Prof Allan Fels and Denis Nelthorpe far too much and this is clearly evident when the Government states things like:“Providing financial assistance based on a market value approach would redirect the assistance available away from those who need it most. Some licence holders purchased their licence for under $25,000 forty years ago and have been earning income from it ever since. Others paid over half a million only six years ago and have had far less time to get a return from their investment”. Is the Government living under a rock and not seeing the big picture here? If you purchased a house 40 years ago for $25,000 and your brother purchased the one next door six years ago for $500,000 - would you expect to get less for your house when you sell it tomorrow? No, certainly not! The Government says that they didn’t have a hand in the excessive value of the licences - that they were privately traded at high prices. It was the government who instigated the trading of licence plates on the Bendigo Stock Exchange (BSX) so it could monitor and, to some degree, control the value of the tradings. On 22 and 23 June 2017 this bill was debated in the Legislative Council. In summary many non government people argued that:- • the taxi licence is property and all licence holders should be fairly and reasonably compensated • that the $2 levy is excessive and the levy should have a sunset clause • country, regional and MPTP cardholders should be exempt from the levy; • Uber is not active in the majority of country and regional areas and it is unfair to ask people who are not part of the Uber life to pay for the levy; • this is bad legislation - there are no winners of this bill; • this is not a levy - it is a tax - and Premier Andrews promised NO NEW TAXES. Government said many times • this bill creates a level playing field - how is this so when all ride-hailing businesses get to enter this market for a pittance of what it costs the current taxi and hire car licence holders? • compensation is significant and the most offered in Australia - nowhere else in Australia has a model such as this, been tried to be introduced, therefore a comparison cannot be made. • abolishment of high annual licence lease fees of $23,000 would decrease the fare to the passenger - but it is only the government leased licences that attract the $23,000 to the government. Perpetual licence owners do not annually pay anything to the government. The bill doesn’t actually have a clause in it that states what the value of the compensation will be to taxi licence and hire car owners. Perhaps now is the time to pressure government to pay a reasonable, fair and equitable compensation to taxi and hire car licence owners upon revokation of these licences to all licence owners - not just 98% of licence owners Fiona Patten argued that a $1 trip levy would be sufficient and she presented suggested amendments which were passed in the Upper House. Because there is an amendment on the table the bill has now gone back to the Legislative Assembly. Once again it is the waiting game - until parliament sits again in the week of 8 August 2017. 11DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017


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VIEWPOINT INDUSTRY A TOTAL MESS BY HON JEFF KENNETT AC, former Premier of Victoria I n the 90s government and the taxi industry proved that working together we could produce meaningful outcomes in reforming the taxi industry. Better for the taxi riding public, better for the industry, and no cost to the people of Victoria through their elected government. Move the clock forward 20 years and you have a total mess. An industry that is in the process of being destroyed, individual and family financial security destroyed, hearts broken and no sign of better services. The latest attack by the Andrews government was unnecessary and showed how little they understood and appreciated the importance of the taxi industry, and the endeavour of those who worked within it. More recently the reason for government interference and destruction of the industry has been the arrival of ride sharing. Firstly, by Uber and more recently by others. However, the attack on the industry started under Premier Ted Baillieu, who had absolutely no understanding of the taxi industry and the importance of the service it provided. Baillieu’s appointment of Allan Fels, an economic rationalist was a signal to all major change. By the time the Andrews government was elected the Victorian taxi industry was already shuddering from a range of changes. HON JEFF KENNETT AC The current government under Minister Jacinta Allan decided to complete the destruction of the Taxi industry as we have known it for years by revoking Taxi Licences. Yes, Ms Allan was correct in trying to regulate the Ride Sharing industry to protect the public. But that did not require the overnight destruction of the Taxi industry that provides an invaluable and flexible transport system for Victorians. 12 DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017


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The latest attack by the Andrews Government was unnecessary and showed how little they understood and appreciate the importance of the taxi industry. Ms Allen could have left the Taxi Industry to operate as it always has, issue no more licences, and allow it to compete with ride sharing competitors. If the Taxi Industry could not provide a viable service the public would not use it. Not only would the value of licence plates decline, but in some cases the Taxi industry might have disappeared altogether. That is true competition. I doubt that would have occurred as many taxi operators are innovative and have already made significant changes to their operation to compete with ride sharing competitors. Importantly the changes the Minister has effected would have come at no cost to the public purse. But having abolished Licences overnight, destroyed the value of an individual’s asset, not to mention income, like the removal of any other licence, compensation, and fair compensation must be paid. Finally, we are already seeing Uber being confronted with many operational challenges. Some describe Uber as a huge Ponzi scheme. Whether that proves to be correct or not only time will tell. Other ride sharing companies are not experiencing the same problems and I suggest will grow, as is their right if they get their operations right and the financial correct. My great sadness is that these new changes in technology, which do provide better flexibility than the old systems, could have been introduced without all the pain, both mental and financial that has been imposed on so many who have been working hard, paying their taxes and serving our needs for so long. I do not oppose change, but clear thinkers could have overseen the introduction of ride sharing without the wholesale massacre of the industry that has, with a few exceptions, served the Victorian community well. LNasEeseiGsdtaAncLe? Serving the Taxi Industry for over 30 years • Business • Commercial • Conveyancing • Estate Planning • Family • Litigation • Probate • Taxation • Superannuation AMS LAW Adams Maguire Sier 176 Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe Email: | Phone: 9497 2622 13DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017


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TAXI NEWS The Victorian Government should treat the taxi industry justly. JUSTICE FOR THE INDUSTRY BY HANS ALTHOFF, Taxi Owner/Operator Idoubt that the Victorian Government will treat the Taxi Industry with the respect, fairness and dignity that it deserves. I also doubt that the Government, in its pursuit of competition at all cost, has considered the cost imposed to Victorian Consumers by its actions in respect to the Taxi Industry. However, the Economy and Infrastructure Committee report provides a glimmer of hope for the Perpetual Taxi Licence Holders. It seems that more and more people have come to the conclusion that the Government has to compensate Perpetual Taxi Licence Holders in the same way as when a Government compulsorily acquires any other asset. By using words like revokation of licences, our politicians still play with words rather than admitting that they will compulsorily acquire Perpetual Licences and as such are bound by rules and laws that still protect ordinary people of this State. I see the Economy and Infrastructure Committee report as positive for Licence Holders and hope that the Government acts in an appropriate manner. But how does the travelling public and the Victorian taxpayer fare in all this? The Government wants to recoup the cost of compensating Perpetual Licence Holders by introducing a, value yet to be decided, levy on each Taxi trip. The administration and enforcement of this would cost a fortune and fraud would be rampant. This would probably be in the interest of certain groups, but never in the interest of the public. The Government already has a mechanism by which they collect a yearly Licence fee and this could easily, and at no further cost of administration or enforcement, be used to collect the required amount of money. So simple! Let the people who want to be in the business of passenger transport pay for it and let the Essential Services Commission, in order to protect the public from exploitation, determine a maximum fare for all point to point passenger transport. I am convinced that all legitimate Taxi Operators, who worked for years in the Industry, would welcome this solution. It is the people who want to get their hands on what others created through hard work, who will not be happy with such a simple solution. Resolving the compensation issues for Perpetual Licence Holders is only the first part of the problems that have to be resolved. The fact that our Government let Uber operate illegally in Victoria will be a blight on the Government for a long time. Upholding our laws in Victoria is of great concern to most Victorians and it is not a good image for our Government to change our laws so that big business can profit. 14 DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017 Our government let Uber operate illegally in Victoria and this will be a blight on the government for a long time.


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Are we back in the Al Capone days? Uber has a good relationship with the TSC and the Police. By allowing Uber to operate illegally in Victoria the Government caused many legitimate Taxi businesses to have thousands of dollars loss and has forced some businesses to close its doors. It is not a good look for our Government to align itself with a company like Uber, especially when its Victorian representative openly and brazenly states that Uber has a “good relationship” with the TSC and the Police. Are we back in the Al Capone days? To see how toxic the culture of Uber is, one only has to read what is now known as the “Miami Letter”. If we need further proof we only have to look at the high profile resignations of Jeff Jones, the president of Uber and several others. High-level employees are quitting the world’s highest valued private technology company amidst allegations of sexual harassment, a series of scandals and allegations of intellectual theft. Also its founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, has been pushed out by Uber’s board. I find it totally incomprehensible that our politicians are so blind to the facts and still act in the interest of a big American company rather than in the interest of its own citizens. The revokation of Perpetual Taxi Licences can now be taken as fact. STOP PRESS! In the last few days the glimmer of hope that the Government would treat the Perpetual Taxi Licence Holders fairly has all but disappeared. The Government response to the Economy and Infrastructure Committee report has made it very clear that they do not want to compensate the Perpetual Taxi Licence Holders for revoking their Licences. They ask the Economy and Infrastructure Committee for a recommendation and when they do not get the answer they want, they do what they wanted to do in the first place. One really has to ask the question “Why does the Government go against the interests of its own citizens and act in the interest of Big Business?” We know that Uber does not want to pay any licence fee and is also against any levy, which would be introduced to compensate the Perpetual Licence Holders. So what has Uber done to convince the Government to act in their interest and why do they have a good relationship with the people that are supposed to uphold our laws? Could it be that the new regime is profitable to both the Government and Big Business at the expense of ordinary Australians? More on this in the next issue of DRIVE A2B. 15DRIVE A2B magazine · July 2017



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