Taxi licence owners based in the Australian capital Canberra will wait until the end of a two-year review before calling for compensation, the head of their new advocacy body said. ACT Taxi Plate Owners Association chair Phil Button said the decision by the Labor government last October to legalise Uber had already rendered licence plates worthless, and there had been no ACT plates sold since December 2014.
But he disputed the claim by Canberra Taxi Industry Association executive director Tony Bryce that plate owners wanted compensation to be sped up and come before the government’s planned two-year review period, due to end next October.
He said the plate owner organisation, founded in March, was working methodically with government to monitor the impact.
Impacts included some older plate owners having to write down the value of that asset, which gave them a small increase in the pension, he said.
Mr Button said 170 of about 185 ACT plate owners had signed and paid-up up as members, with most others unidentified as owners because of transfer of the plates in a will. The „looming“ pressure on private plate owners to lower lease fees had not yet filtered through, he said.
There were 217 privately owned plates in the ACT, but the ACT government reduced annual license fees for its own plates (it currently leases 91) from $20,000 to $10,000 on October 30 last year and will halve them again to $5000 from this November.
Mr Bryce said the Canberra Taxi Industry Association was the original organisation for Canberra drivers, operators and plate owners, but those owners were free to go elsewhere for representation. All Australian states have now legalised Uber and each has offered compensation to taxi plate owners, except for Tasmania. The South Australian government agreed in April to pay licence holders $30,000 compensation for each licence, and $50 a week for a maximum of 11 months to licence lessees.