More than 50 taxi operators will receive funding to make their taxis accessible for people with disability under a $21 million grants program.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government's four-year grant scheme will support taxi operators to modernise Queensland's wheelchair accessible taxi fleet.
"This funding will help operators across Queensland to upgrade their older vehicles, so those vehicles can stay in service, rather than dropping out of the accessible taxi fleet when they become too expensive to maintain, or reach the end of their serviceable life,” Mr Bailey said.
"The grants not only aid with replacing written-off vehicles and aging taxis but also provide funding for existing conventional taxi licence operators to replace their vehicles with wheelchair accessible taxis in some areas.
"Following a recent assessment process, grants have now been approved for 51 new wheelchair accessible taxis."
Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke said successful applicants would receive 50 per cent funding for the cost to purchase and modify a new wheelchair accessible taxi, up to a maximum grant of $45,000.
“Accessible taxi services are often the only means of transport some people with disability and their families or carers can rely on to ensure they can get to appointments, go shopping and make the every day trips most of us take for granted,” Ms O’Rourke said.
“Even losing a few accessible taxis from the fleet places greater demand for these services, reducing flexible transport options for people with disability.
"By reducing the average age of the fleet, these grants are designed to support a sustainable and modern accessible taxi fleet into the future."
Spinal Life Australia Chief Advisor John Mayo welcomed the grants and said the funding was critical to meet the transport needs of people with a disability across Queensland.
“We strongly support this program as it will help to improve the safety, availability and reliability of wheelchair accessible taxis and reduce barriers for people with a disability wishing to access their community,” Mr Mayo said.
The grant program is being run across several rounds to help ensure swift distribution of funds and that priority is given to applicants who meet more critical upgrade criteria.
Taxi operators who didn't apply in the first round are encouraged to apply for second round of funding, which is open now until April 9.
There will also be more opportunities to apply for funding over the remainder of the program.
The scheme is administered by the Queensland Rural Industry Development Authority on behalf of the Department Transport and Main Roads.
Further information on the Wheelchair Accessible Taxis Grants visit qrida.qld.gov.au
Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey