Uber’s snub of Queensland Government now assisted by News Ltd and Westpac

When the Queensland Labor Government earlier this year introduced tougher fines for illegal ride-share drivers and their booking services, we all thought it was evidence it had some spine and would assert its authority. It was all bluster and bull. UberX is operating as freely as ever in Queensland promoting its service openly through Westpac’s direct marketing and ads an daily papers. And politicians wonder why they are no longer trusted or respected!

by John Rahilly

Letter to Premier and Transport Minister

It appears that the Courier Mail either knows more than the rest of us or it is a case of “MONEY talks and the LAW walks” in Queensland. I thought it was bad enough with Westpac handing out and sending through the mail $25 Uber discount vouchers, but we now have our major daily newspaper, the Courier Mail, advertising an illegal taxi service. It is quite apparent that your Government commands no authority in our state.

It is likewise quite obvious that the Courier Mail has no respect for your Government or Queensland’s laws and given that it is widely assumed that Rupert Murdoch is an Uber investor, the Courier Mail’s actions in selling Uber advertising space are not surprising. Of course, they may also be privy to the fact that your Government intends to legalise Uber and they are jumping the gun for a quick dollar.

Premier, people in the taxi industry are getting the message loud and clear, it doesn’t pay to be law abiding. If you don’t get walked over by your illegal competitor, you will get walked over by your own Government who doesn’t have the power or respect to enforce the state’s laws or to stop other commercial enterprises aiding and abetting illegal operations.

As a Premier and the leader of our Government you have been a major disappointment in the way the Uber invasion has been handled and I remind you of your letter to me of the 9th December, 2014.

You stated in part, “Labor believes that any entrants to the passenger transport market should comply with all applicable laws and regulations, our commitment to public safety is paramount in this respect. Where laws are being deliberately flouted, appropriate enforcement and penalties are necessary”. As you are well aware the enforcement has been hit and miss since your time in office and this was only rectified by the Katter Bill. As for public safety, that is also a hit and miss affair.

Premier, you can create a precedent by not legalising Uber. A Corporation that has no respect for the law (provable worldwide) and has only one ultimate goal, tax free Australian dollars in their Amsterdam tax haven bank account at the expense of law abiding Australian tax paying workers. •


Uber report due to be handed down in Qld

Sky News, Sunday, 31 July 2016

A long-awaited report examining whether Uber can operate legally alongside taxi services in Queensland is due to be handed to the state government.
But while the Palaszczuk government is expected to receive the report on Sunday it will be some time before it’s made public.
Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe says the findings will not be released until the government had considered them and prepared a response.
‘It’s something that we want to be doing in a prompt way,’ Mr Hinchliffe told a budget estimates hearing on Thursday.
‘We know there are significant expectations out there in the community.’
Laws cracking down on Uber came into force in April, with its drivers fined $786,405 the following month.
The legislation increased fines for drivers by more than $900 to $2356 and transport inspectors were given greater power to investigate.

OZ Cabbie comment: No fines have been imposed since May and there has been no proof that Uber has paid any of the fines issued to its drivers since it began operating in Queensland. No fines have been imposed on the company despite the Katter Bill, including fines of $23,000 for operators of illegal booking services and Uber continues to operate with impunity. Whilst ridesharing may be legalised, at least in South Eastern Queensland, as early as next month, it will be month before the government will be ready to introduce new regulations for the P2P passenger transport sector. In the meantime we have reliable reports that Queensland plate owners are preparing for a compensation case against the government like their counterparts in Victoria. •

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OZ Cabbie February 2017

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