Tasmania won’t compensate its taxi industry for Uber’s arrival

Photo: Ian Waldie/Getty Images

The Tasmanian government is avoiding the expensive path of its mainland counterparts, by ruling out compensation for the local taxi industry in the wake of Uber’s legalisation.

Instead infrastructure minister Rene Hidding said yesterday that the government will not issue any new taxi licences in Tasmania for three years.

Ride-sharing legislation was passed by the government last month and will make drivers have police and medical checks, with Uber planning to start operating in Tasmania later this year.

But unlike Victoria, where consumers will be slugged with a $2 surcharge on taxi rides over eight years as part of a $378 million relief package to the taxi industry, and NSW, which has a $1 surcharge on fares over five years as part of $250 million in compensation, Rene Hidding told the Hobart Mercury that there were no plans for taxi licence buybacks and that the Tasmanian market was “very different to mainland capitals, where the cost of a licence can be four to five times higher”.

He said the government ruled out compensation for plate owners, saying the three year freeze on new licences “will provide the government with a sufficient amount of time to allow us to observe any impact on the taxi industry from the introduction of ride-sharing services in Tasmania, and demonstrates our commitment to work with the taxi industry as we embrace the numerous opportunities the sharing economy offers”.

“The Hodgman Liberal government is embracing the opportunities presented by the sharing economy, and our ride-sharing legislation was widely supported by stakeholders as an example of how to deal responsibly with a change in the light passenger transport market,” he said.

Tasmania is the last state to legalise ride-sharing. While the new Labor government in the Northern Territory pledged during the recent election to legalise it, Uber has yet to begin operating in the Top End.

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