Australia

Hit by COVID, thousands of Queensland cabbies sign up for government help

More than 3000 taxi drivers have signed up for a Queensland government support package in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $23 million package was announced in June to support taxi and limousine operators, and Transport Minister Mark Bailey said on Tuesday more than $4 million had been distributed.

Queensland taxi drivers have struggled during the pandemic.

Queensland taxi drivers have struggled during the pandemic.Credit:Michelle Smith

Taxi owners were allowed $3500 for each licence, with wheelchair-accessible taxi operators given an additional $1000.

Booking companies were also given $1500 per taxi or limousine, capped at 1000 vehicles.

Taxi licences were also extended for six months from April, and the state government waived the annual taxi industry security levy.

"Many in the industry were hit hard when COVID-19 started, and while plenty of operators have been able to continue driving or have started driving again, it’s critical we continue to support them during this time," Mr Bailey said.

"In total, there are more than 3200 taxi licences and 500 limousine licences across Queensland, representing thousands of small businesses, mums and dads.

"They provide a crucial service helping to get frontline staff to their workplace, and thousands of seniors and Queenslanders with a disability to vital services safely."

Taxi Council of Queensland chief executive Blair Davies said the COVID-19 pandemic had proven "Queensland cabbies have proven their toughness".

"Every day of the pandemic, there have been taxis on the road serving their local communities, including the weeks upon weeks when it wasn’t profitable to be doing so," Mr Davies said.

"These funds will make a huge difference for struggling small taxi businesses and helping the whole industry to gear back up in support of a statewide recovering economy."

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