Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has showed his support for the taxi industry and taken aim at Professor Allan Fels over proposed taxi reforms.
Mr Kennett criticised Fel’s review and says it will “deliberately destroy” individuals’ superannuation assets.
“Allan is wrong in arguing you need to destroy an individual’s final asset to secure meaningful taxi reform,” he said.
A sentiment many have been heralding in the wake of the Fel’s Review.
Mr Harry Katsiabanis, the Media Liaison of Taxi industry Stakeholders Victoria (TISV) wholeheartedly agrees with the former premier.
He said about Mr Kennett’s comments: “common sense has prevailed”.
“Here is someone that understands the industry, was intricately involved in the industry and understands all aspects and came out with a supportive and concise message,” he told Neos Kosmos.
During his time as Premier, Mr Kennett pushed through a number of reforms for Victorian taxis. Among them, the Premier introduced the compulsory yellow taxi colour, driver uniforms and a driver training program.
Under the Fel’s review, the price of taxi licences would be devalued from $500,000 to $20,000 in attempt to flood the market with more cabs on our roads.
Mr Kennett said he did support many of the recommendations in the review but believed some were “unworkable” and would lead the industry into decline.
Professor Fel’s said the policy of “doing nothing to improve taxi services if it has a negative effect on license values” had been the key to the failure of successive governments to regulate for a good industry that provided excellent service.
The Taxi Industry Stakeholders of Victoria is quick to note that they understand reform needs to happen.
Mr Katsiabanis says “change is needed in any industry to survive”.
Licences though are not part of that picture, when the livelihoods of many are at risk, the TISV believes.
“Licences are what self-retirees live off,” Mr Katsiabanis says.
“The fact that they worked all the working lives to create an asset base and somebody wants to decimate that asset base now”.