Taxi subsidy scheme extended
A SUBSIDY considered critical to about 10,000 Queenslanders has been granted a temporary stay of execution in this year's State Budget.
The Courier-Mai l can reveal Treasurer Jackie Trad has agreed to extended the state's taxi subsidy scheme for another 12 months, so as not to leave Queenslanders with a disability "stranded".
The scheme subsidises half a fair, up to $25, for those unable to use other forms of public transport.
It also includes a $20 lift payment incentive for taxi drivers for each trip involving a wheelchair.
Both elements were due to be axed on June 30 when the Commonwealth's National Disability Insurance Scheme stepped in.
But the disability sector has been lobbying for it to be kept in place as the NDIS is not yet ready to take over.
Ms Trad has revealed she has answered their call, with funding to be included when she hands down her Budget on June 11.
"Taxi subsidies were expected to transition to the NDIS funding arrangement by now but under the Morrison Government this hasn't happened. These gaps need to be fixed," Ms Trad said.
"We will not allow thousands of Queenslanders to be left stranded so we will step in to ensure that doesn't happen."
Ms Trad called on the Commonwealth to now work to "fix the gaps" in its NDIS scheme.
"We will continue to work over the coming year to ensure the NDIS agreement delivers proper affordable transport options for Queenslanders in the longer term," she said.
Both elements of the scheme are expected to cost $12.8 million next financial year.
About $15.7 million will be also spent ensuring access to the TSS for non-NDIS eligible Queenslanders.
"We want to ensure that people with special needs continue to receive this support so they can undertake everyday activities and stay connected with family and friends," Ms Trad said.
"We understand how important it is for all Queenslanders have access to transport."
The LNP and the Taxi Council of Queensland last week joined in calling for the subsidy to be retained as other states had done, arguing without it Queenslanders with a disability would become prisoners in their own homes.
Almost 6000 Queenslanders signed a recent petition - backed by 13 disability support organisations - calling for the subsidy scheme to be continued to ensure no one was worse off.
It was handed to the Government last month, with Transport Minister Mark Bailey due to report back to petitioners at the end of this month.