The Rideshare Driver’s Association of Australia (RSDAA) today, highlighted the omission of the independent booked hire, rideshare driver and shuttle bus operator sectors in the Palaszczuk Government’s $23m Unite & Recover package as “a massively incompetent oversight”.’

RSDAA Vice President John Campbell said earlier today that Queensland’s 18,000 rideshare drivers, smaller Booked Entity Authority (BEA) and Accredited Operator (OA) businesses had been left out in the package, further illuminating the Palaszczuk Government’s “out of touch” handling of assistance to the State’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry during the COVID-19 crisis. “Unfortunately, Mr Bailey’s administration of the Transport portfolio has been anything but stellar and the shortcomings of the bureaucrats that run this department are well known to all and sundry in passenger ground transport, but the Minister has fobbed off any approach by us to rectify this. Leaving out any assistance to this vital employer of older Queenslanders and continuing to leave small sole traders and mum & dad businesses high and dry, just puts on display how far away the Department is from a transport sector it thanklessly pulls millions of dollars of revenue from every year.”

RSDAA Secretary Les Johnson said earlier that the booked hire industry in Queensland was already under stress from the Department’s lacklustre approach to tackle the problem of illegal operators, dangerously driving oblivious Queenslanders around without any danger of prosecution. “Every weekend, illegal wedding car operators are fleecing brides of thousands of dollars in revenue from uninsured and improperly registered cars, which also happens every year with school formals. Instead of sending compliance officers out to prevent a death or injury at the hands of these cowboys, TMR prefer to waste their time harassing legitimate operators over wrong size stickers or other menial stuff. Someone’s going to be mortally injured in a accident with a cowboy operator and it will become clear that it’s a grey market that boldly flouts the Transport regulations with Facebook groups, AirTasker jobs and Gumtree ads, right under the Department’s noses.”

RSDAA National President Rosalina Kariotakis said Queensland booked hire operators needed more support from their State Government and said drivers and operators alike would benefit from the proactive relationship the NSW Government’s Point To Point Commission has with the RSDAA and operators. “Operators affected by the COVID-19 situation were offered $10k grants and loans to get them through this pandemic from the Berejiklian Government. For this Government to omit an employment sector of close to 20,000 Queenslanders which is largely made up of age vulnerable workers is a massive oversight, and to ignore the fact that much of the package will go to institutional investors and international-based operators that have bought taxi licences for decades does not seem fair.”