A joint campaign by the LNP and 13 disability organisations has successfully forced the Palaszczuk Labor Government to delay its callous decision to scrap the Taxi Subsidy Scheme for people with disabilities by a year.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington welcomed the decision and said the Palaszczuk Labor Government's cut would have made it harder for those with disabilities to travel to work, go to the shops, access support services or visit their doctor.
"The Palaszczuk Labor Government's backflip is a huge relief for an estimated 10,000 Queenslanders who would have lost access to low cab fares," Ms Frecklington said.
"Queensland would have been the only state in Australia without a taxi subsidy scheme if the Palaszczuk Labor Government had followed through on its cold-hearted decision.
"The decision to axe the scheme should never have been made in the first place.
"I want to thank the 13 disability organisations who so fought hard on behalf of Queenslanders to force the Palaszczuk Labor Government to reverse its appalling decision."
The subsidy scheme provides half the cost of a taxi (up to a maximum subsidy of $25 per journey), as well as a $20 'lift payment' to drivers of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATS).
The axing of the scheme coincided with Queensland's NDIS roll-out, even though the NDIS did not replicate the subsidy and every other state had agreed to maintain their own taxi subsidy schemes.
Shadow Minister for Disability Services Dr Christian Rowan said the Palaszczuk Labor Government was playing politics with the lives of our most disadvantaged Queenslanders by blaming the Federal Government.
"The NDIS was meant to make people with disabilities more independent but the Palaszczuk Labor Government's threat to axe the taxi subsidy scheme would have done the opposite," Dr Rowan said.
"Many of those who use this scheme are already struggling financially and struggling psychologically and the Palaszczuk Labor Government's backflip is a victory for those who rely on the scheme.
"The LNP joined 13 organisations advocating for the scheme to stay because we should be helping people living with disabilities, not making their lives harder."
A petition supporting Taxi Subsidy Scheme, signed by 5649 people, was tabled in Parliament.
The petition was supported by:
- Able Australia
- Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Network
- Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia
- Blind Citizens Australia
- Disability Advocacy Network Australia
- Endeavour Foundation
- House with No Steps
- Inclusion Moves
- Life Without Barriers
- Macular Disease Foundation Australia
- MS Queensland
- Spinal Life
- Vision Australia
The petition can be accessed at: www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/petition-details?id=3108
The LNP also launched a petition, which can be found at: https://queensland.typeform.com/to/Fctuc4