State slammed for dropping travel subsidy
THE State Government has been accused of showing "callous disregard" for the disabled community over its refusal to extend a travel subsidy.
More than a dozen disabled groups, the LNP and the Taxi Council Queensland are pleading for the Taxi Subsidy Scheme to be extended for two more years for people on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The State Government subsidy, which covers 50 per cent of a taxi fare to a maximum of $25, is due to be dropped after June 30 for people on the federally funded NDIS.
Up to 10,000 NDIS participants would have access to travel payments under the federal scheme, however disabled groups have raised concerns that users would be worse off.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said a petition supporting the subsidy, signed by 5649 people and tabled recently in parliament, highlighted community outrage at the Government's decision.
"We need to ensure that people with disabilities have the confidence that taxis will turn up and take their fares," she said.
Disabled passengers not on the NDIS would not be affected.
Taxi Council Queensland boss Blair Davies said Labor was playing politics with the decision but boxing itself into a corner as they would be seen as showing "callous disregard" for the disabled.
"All in all they are creating a great deal of angst and uncertainty for people with disabilities who use the TSS because they don't know what's going to happen to it," he said.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the Government reinstated the TSS in July 2017 following concerns participants were not receiving sufficient transport support under the NDIS. "The Palaszczuk Government is focused on ensuring appropriate transport supports are in place for NDIS eligible Taxi Subsidy Scheme members beyond June 30, 2019 and is currently working with the Federal Government to ensure they meet their responsibility so Queenslanders with disability receive the transport support they need as part of their NDIS plans."