NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley says owners of taxi licence plates should receive some form of compensation if the Baird government legalises ride-sharing services such as Uber.
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"You can't wish ride-sharing out of existence so this is overdue that the government ... puts in place some sensible regulation that ought to involve compensation for taxi-plate owners for the loss of value of their plates," Mr Foley said on Monday.
"Of course [compensation] can't be unlimited ... but perhaps a licence fee on Uber in order to regulate them properly can be used in part for some limited compensation for taxi-plate owners."
His comments come as the Baird government insisted it was yet to make a decision on changes to the taxi industry despite a report that ride-sharing services such as Uber would be legalised and its drivers forced to pay a licence fee.
Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the question of compensation for taxi owners was a matter for Cabinet to consider as part of a review of ride-sharing services such as Uber.
"If you buy a licence from the government that is a different situation to investing yourself," he said when asked whether the purchase of taxi licences should be treated differently to the risk of any other investments.
Mr Gay said recommendations made in an independent report on ride-sharing still needed to be examined by Cabinet.
"This is an issue that needs to go before Cabinet and final decisions have not been made and won't be made until it is properly examined in Cabinet. We will be acting as soon as we can but acting appropriately."
He declined to say when the government would make a decision on ride-sharing.
Premier Mike Baird said the independent report would go before Cabinet in "due time" but the government was focused on creating a "level playing field" for taxi drivers who had made a significant upfront investment when they bought licence plates.
Mr Foley said he would welcome government reforms to legalise Uber, requiring drivers to hold a licence.
"Outlawing a method of transport service in ride-sharing that's simply here to stay – that's not going to work [and] that's not going to solve the taxi industry's problems," he said.
"Sensible and fair regulation so everyone knows where they stand….is the only way forward here."
Mr Foley said taxis should retain the right to have sole access to passengers who hail taxis or wait at ranks for a ride if Uber was legalised in NSW.
"Uber operates off an app-based system where you can log in, you can book the service, so to allow the taxi industry to keep its right to pick people up at ranks seems to me a very fair way forward," he said.
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