Dawesville MP claims ‘Perth-centric’ transport levy unfair to Mandurah

Reforms: The legislation responds to the rise of Uber with the levy funding a voluntary buy-back of expensive taxi plates to compensate owners. Photo: Ryan Osland.
Reforms: The legislation responds to the rise of Uber with the levy funding a voluntary buy-back of expensive taxi plates to compensate owners. Photo: Ryan Osland.

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup has hit out at the taxi plate buyback levy, part of proposed transport reform legislation, arguing Mandurah is being made to fund a “Perth-centric” scheme of no benefit to the local community. 

In August, the state government confirmed it would introduce the bill which would include a 10 per cent levy for on-demand transport fares in the Perth metro and Peel region. 

The legislation responds to the rise of Uber with the levy funding a voluntary buy-back of expensive taxi plates to compensate owners. 

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup supported the legislation but spoke against the levy being applied to the Mandurah community in parliament, arguing residents would be funding the buyback of Perth taxi plates.

“So once again, this government is hitting Mandurah passengers 10 per cent to fund a scheme which will have no benefit at all,” he said 

“It is completely and utterly unfair, targeting us and vulnerable passengers to fund a Perth-centric buyback.” 

Mr Kirkup said this was an example of “a government that does not care about Mandurah”.

Bunbury has exactly the same circumstances as Mandurah with country taxi operators and Uber, but they will not be charged the levy – it makes no sense to me.

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup

“Bunbury has exactly the same circumstances as Mandurah with country taxi operators and Uber, but they will not be charged the levy – it makes no sense to me,” he said.

”The government sees us as some kind of cash cow.”

Mandurah MP David Templeman said Mr Kirkup’s comments demonstrated “astounding hypocrisy”.

“In addition to not voting against the legislation in the parliament, he is a well-known advocate for Uber and to date has demonstrated little empathy or concern for the Mandurah Taxi Company,” he said. 

A change was made to exclude the regions from the levy while incorporating operators in the Peel and Murray districts into the metropolitan area – given the encroachment of ride-sharing services in those areas over recent years.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti

Mr Templeman said vulnerable community members would have “further choice, safety and protections” under the reform. 

“While Mandurah and Peel taxi drivers do not own plates that can be bought back from the government, the proposed legislation still offers them a transition package ($10,000),” he said. 

“Finally, not all operators will necessarily pass on the full levy to customers.

“The legislation is designed to reduce overheads for the industry which means that those who choose to absorb the levy will gain a competitive edge.”

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the new legislation would remove outdated restrictions leading to the “inconsistent treatment” of taxi and charter services in the state and would benefit the Peel region. 

“Current legislation restricts the ability of Peel and Murray district taxis from operating in the metropolitan area, while the new legislation will give them more freedom to operate,” she said. 

“During consultation with the regional taxi industry, a change was made to exclude the regions from the levy while incorporating operators in the Peel and Murray districts into the metropolitan area – given the encroachment of ride-sharing services in those areas over recent years.”