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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, called on both the Tasmanian Liberal and Labor parties to implement a taxi licence plate buy back scheme, which would provide much-needed financial relief to taxi plate owners.

“The oversupply of taxis and increasing competition from ride-sharing organisations, such as Uber, has meant many taxi owners and drivers are suffering,” Mr Wilkie said. “Indeed I continue to hear from people who paid tens of thousands for their taxi plate, but are now unable to rely on the resale of their plates to fund their retirement because the value of the plates has collapsed. Currently there are more than 30 licences that are not being used as renters or buyers cannot be found. One owner told me they paid $136,000 for their taxi licence in 2004, but it currently holds no value. While another told me they held two licences to help fund their retirement, but can’t sell them as they are now only worth $300 each a month compared to $1,200 each a month in 2006.

“Moreover as the value of their business has plummeted, at the same time that taxi patronage is declining, drivers are forced to work longer and longer in sometimes poorly maintained vehicles.

“New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have implemented taxi buy-back legislation, resulting in positive outcomes for taxi plate owners. Yet the Tasmanian Government has continued to kick the can down the road while plate owners and their drivers are being left high and dry and concerned about their ability to secure a stable financial future.

“While the moratorium on the annual release of new taxi licences provided some relief to taxi plate owners and their drivers, both major parties must consult with the industry to discuss the implementation of a taxi licence buy back scheme.”