The Queensland Government has appointed Jim Varghese AM to head up an independent Taskforce to review taxi, limousine and rideshare services across the state from today.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport, Jackie Trad says the comprehensive review would consider the existing regulatory framework by examining community and industry needs and expectations, public safety and disability access and affordability and competition.

“With new players, the expiry of the taxi strategic plan and no major legislative changes for many years — it is an opportunity for us industry and regulatory review,” she says.

“We are committed to ensuring Queenslanders have safe, reliable and affordable personalised transport services and want a sustainable and competitive industry that delivers these services.”

“We need to outline a pathway for this industry that considers current and new players and ensures a level playing field for all taxi, limousine and rideshare services.”

Mr Varghese AM will chair the Taskforce, made up of two other expert members yet to be appointed, which will deliver a final report and recommendations to the Government in August 2016.

“We have worked hard to ensure a broad range of issues facing this complex industry are incorporated in our Terms of Reference for the Taskforce’s consideration,” Ms Trad says.

“More than 3,200 taxis and 580 limousines operate legally across the state.”

“This will be a consultative process where community and industry across the state will have regular opportunities to have their say and views considered to help inform the Taskforce.”

Shadow Transport Minister Scott Emerson says Labor’s decision to push the review out until August next year revealed the Transport Minister had been sitting on her hands and still didn’t have a clue what to do.

“The Transport Minister is using a review extension to conceal the cold hard truth from Queenslanders – that she has no clear plan on how new operators fit within the legislation,” he says.

“Minister Trad has been caught napping and instead of working to find a solution, has put the issue in the too-hard basket and pushed out the deadline to give herself more time.”

Mr Emerson says this was an issue that needed to be worked through immediately.

“Labor should have been working on this since February, particularly given it was no secret the Queensland Taxi Strategy was due to expire at the end of the year,” he says.

“While we welcome innovation in service delivery, passenger safety is paramount.”

“These issues could have been properly considered and addressed as part of the Queensland Taxi Strategy but now we see Labor has reverted back to its ‘reviewing rather than doing’ mantra.”

The remaining Taskforce members will be announced in coming weeks. Ms trad says Queensland will be considering taxi reviews from other states to help inform Queensland’s review.

For more information about the review and the Taskforce, click here.