The LNP is calling on the Queensland Labor Government to listen to the concerns of disability organisations and continue the Taxi Subsidy Scheme for people with disabilities beyond June 30.
Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson said that it was unfair that Sunshine Coast residents with disabilities would no longer be eligible for a 50% discount on their taxi fares after June 30 due to the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s decision to scrap the Taxi Subsidy Scheme*(1) for people with disabilities.
Ms Simpson said that the axing of the scheme coincides with the roll-out of the National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS) in Queensland, even though the NDIS does not replicate the subsidy and every other state has agreed to maintain their own taxi subsidy schemes.
Ms Simpson said the State Labor Government’s decision would make it harder for people with disabilities to go about their daily lives in regional areas like the Sunshine Coast, where public transport is not readily available and people with disabilities have to rely on taxis, particularly Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATS).
“The NDIS was supposed to help people with disabilities become more independent, but Labor’s decision to cut the Taxi Subsidy Scheme will make it harder for them to visit their doctor or support services, go shopping or get to work,” Ms Simpson said.
“Local residents with disabilities and local disability support providers have contacted me with concerns that Sunshine Coast residents will be hit hardest by this decision because they often have to travel longer distances to access support services and public transport isn’t an option for many. people.”
“$2600 a year provided by the NDIS may be sufficient for urban areas where there is good public transport, but not in regional areas like Sunshine Coast where people with disabilities have to rely on taxis.”
Ms Simpson said that the LNP was backing the call from 13 disability organisations*(2) to provide low cab fares for the 10,000 Queenslanders with disabilities who will be impacted when the Taxi Subsidy Scheme is axed for NDIS participants on June 30.
“Queensland is the last state to get the NDIS and after June 30 we will be the only state in Australia without a Taxis Subsidy Scheme unless the Palaszczuk Labor Government reconsiders their decision,” Ms Simpson said.
*(1) The taxi subsidy scheme provides half the cost of a taxi (up to a maximum subsidy of $25 per journey), as well as a $20 ‘lift payment’ to drivers of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATS).
*(2) A petition supporting Taxi Subsidy Scheme, signed by 5649 people, has been tabled in Parliament.
The petition was supported by:
∙ Able Australia
∙ Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Network
∙ Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia
∙ Blind Citizens Australia
∙ Disability Advocacy Network Australia
∙ Endeavour Foundation
∙ House with No Steps
∙ Inclusion Moves
∙ Life Without Barriers
∙ Macular Disease Foundation Australia
∙ MS Queensland
∙ Spinal Life
∙ Vision Australia
The petition can be accessed at https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/petition-details?id=3108