Bunbury taxi co-op director waiting on strike response

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Camera IconCredit: SundayPubs

Bunbury Taxi Co-op director Graeme Liebeck is frustrated the State Government is yet to respond to strike action taken at the weekend as he and other owners felt a responsibility to provide a service that could be lost.

The co-op joined regional taxi drivers across the State for a 48 hour strike from Friday to Sunday.

Mr Liebeck said the co-op continued to operate a minimum fleet across the weekend.

“There are just too many disabled people who rely on us and others that need us to take them to treatments like dialysis,” he said.

“We’ve got a responsibility to look after these people so we just cut our fleet back to half what it could have been.”Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said it was her understanding that not all regional taxi operators took part in the strike.

“Nonetheless, communication with regional taxi operators continues through the Department of Transport’s education activities and advisory visits,” she said.

“Meanwhile, my office will respond to WACTOA representative Shayne Murray’s letter in due course.”

Mr Liebeck said he wanted someone from the Government to acknowledge a letter sent to Bunbury Taxis in 2002 from the office of then Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

He said the letter indicated the department had established in-perpetuity licences already existed for country taxis.

“I want them to explain to me why we don’t own our plates,” Mr Liebeck said.

“I bought my second plate because of that letter. An owner was so concerned he went to a barrister. We asked him to get a hold of the Minister and find out whether we own our plates, the letter is here in black and white which says the plates were owned in-perpetuity.”

Ms Saffioti said the letter from 2002 did not suggest country taxi operators owned their plates.

“It suggests they hold a country taxi licence as long as they continue to pay the annual licence fee,” she said.

“The fact there is a difference between metropolitan taxi plates and country taxi licences was also recognised by the previous government in 2016, when it offered $20,000 transition assistance to for metropolitan plate owners and nothing for regional operators.”

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