Sydney’s Greek community continues to fight the proposed taxi licence plate reforms which have been recently announced by the New South Wales government.
As reported by The Greek Herald, Transport for NSW held a number of webinars with taxi licence owners in September last year where they announced the new reforms. These included, but were not limited to, removing the limit on the number of taxi licences and removing restrictions on areas where taxis can operate.
At the time, Transport for NSW said taxi licence owners could potentially be compensated for these reforms by being given $50,000 for each licence, but it will be capped at two licences. Anything over that will not be compensated, amounting in huge losses for many Greeks who initially paid around $400,000 for a licence.
In response, the NSW Taxi Council have launched its ‘NSW Taxi Industry Pledge’ in support of “fair and proper compensation for all taxi licence owners in NSW.”
The CEO of the Council, Martin Rogers, tells The Greek Herald they are currently in the process of reaching out to all Ministers of Parliament “to sign the pledge to show that potentially there should be bi-partisan support to get this fixed.”
So far a number of politicians from different parties have put their name to the pledge including, but not limited to, the NSW Shadow Minister for Small Business, Property and Multiculturalism, Steve Kamper; the Liberal Member for Castle Hill, Ray Williams; the Independent Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward; and Robert Borsak and Mark Banasiak from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
Mr Kamper, who has been campaigning for proper compensation for the taxi industry for years, tells The Greek Herald he decided to sign the pledge because ‘enough is enough.’
“We’re seeking cross-party support to send a message. Taxi plate owners have been waiting for nearly six years now to be compensated for the damage that was incurred to them. Enough is enough. It’s time now for the NSW Government to sort this out,” Mr Kamper says.
Another supporter of the pledge initiative, Kerry Koliadis, couldn’t agree more.
Mr Koliadis has not only worked closely with the taxi industry to pressure the government about the proposed reforms, but he has also been personally impacted as he owns three taxi licences.
He tells The Greek Herald the pledge is an ‘excellent idea’ and he encourages everyone in the Greek community to support it.
“I believe that by asking all members of Parliament to sign this Taxi Industry Pledge, will be an excellent idea for us because in the future, the government is planning to put legislation through Parliament and they will try give us the minimum compensation and take back our licences,” Mr Koliadis says.
“[But] I think we will be successful eventually to make sure that all of us receive a fair compensation for our licences.”
For now though, the latest from NSW Government is that they have decided to drop the two licences cap which was announced as part of the reforms, according to Mr Rogers.
“I think what’s important here is giving that strong feedback to government… so if you haven’t seen your local MP and asked them to sign the pledge, please do so.”
You can find and download the pledge at https://bit.ly/3o1xOP6.