COVID-19: Updates on Department of Transport services

Regional taxi assistance package

The WA state government has introduced further financial assistance for regional taxi operators.

  Who is eligible for the assistance?

Individuals, partnerships, trusts, corporations and registered cooperatives who meet the following criteria will be eligible for the assistance:

  • were the holders of a taxi-car (CT) licence issued under the former provisions of the Transport Coordination Act 1966 on 1 July 2019; and
  • obtained that CT licence by buying it as part of taxi business sale; and
  • were operating a taxi vehicle against the CT licence at the time.

People who obtained their CT licence through Expression of Interest from the Department of Transport (DoT), or transferred the CT licence into their names for a zero-value sum (e.g. deceased estate), will not be eligible for the regional assistance payment.

Payments will also not be made against CT licences that were not operating a vehicle against the associated Country Taxi plate on 1 July 2019.

If you have further questions about the regional taxi assistance package, email On-demand Transport or phone the dedicated on-demand transport industry support hotline on 1300 471 834 (open between 8.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday).

  How much will each eligible regional operator be entitled to?

The assistance will take a similar approach to the Perth taxi buyback scheme. The payment made against each eligible CT licence will depend on the purchase value of the CT licence that was reported to the Office of State Revenue when the eligible CT licence was transferred into their name.

If the CT licence purchase value was more than $20,000, the estimated monopoly profits that could have been earned from the licence over that time will also be taken into account.

Payments that are calculated using monopoly profits will be subject to a floor payment of $20,000, with payments higher for those people who bought their CT licences as part of the business sale more recently.

For those who paid less than $20,000 for their CT licence, the regional assistance payment made will be that purchase price.
As with the Perth buyback scheme, an amount for assistance paid will be deducted. This will be limited to the $10,000 or $5,000 payment that has paid against many CT licences under the Regional Taxi Support Scheme in October 2019.

A payment for each eligible CT licence will be made, with a cap of five payments made to any one individual, partnership, trust, corporation or registered cooperative that has multiple CT licences.

  When will I know if I am eligible for the assistance money?

Letters will be sent to eligible regional operators as soon as possible. The letter will detail the indicative payment for each eligible CT licence including a summary of DoTís records of purchase value, dates and grants already received, together with an estimate of the payment for each eligible CT licence.

An application form will also be enclosed Ė this must be completed and returned to DoT.

  What is the process for applying for the assistance money?

If you are eligible for the assistance money, you will receive a letter and application form from DoT. Eligible regional operators must complete the application form and return it to DoT to receive their payment.
Applications will be open for a short window of 2-4 weeks, after which DoT will need to verify all information and confirm the payment amount.

To ensure payments are made as soon as possible, eligible regional operators should return their application forms as a matter of priority. DoT will then process all applications.

It is therefore expected that payments will be made in July 2020.

  When will the assistance money be paid?

As DoT does not typically hold records of the licence transfer values reported to State Revenue for the CT licences, DoT holds evidence of stamp duty paid. Work will be needed to calculate a purchase value for each eligible CT licence from the stamp duty records.

The Minister also needs to make a determination outlining the eligibility criteria, method of calculation and closing date for applications before any payments can be made. New application forms and processes within DoT for verification of identity and bank details and for approvals are being established.

It is therefore expected that payments will be made in July 2020.

  Why are regional operators receiving this assistance package?

The additional assistance is a recognition that two-thirds of the individuals, businesses and partnerships that held country taxi-car licenses on 1 July 2019 acquired those CT licences through transfer from a third party as part of an ongoing business concerns.

These were transferred in an informal market that existed based on scarcity, which many regional operators participated in without disclosing to DoT that the investments were substantial and not in accordance with the legislation at the time.

  What if I had an agreement with the taxi-car licensee to buy the taxi business and its licences but had not finalised all payments and made the transfer?

DoT understands that some people have entered into lengthy payment plans with the recorded country taxi-car licensee to buy the CT licence and have been operating the taxi as a business for some time.

There will be opportunity for these people to apply for the funds as if they were the recorded country taxi-car licensee. They will need to show evidence of the sales agreement and payments made against that agreement.

 

Page last updated: Wed Apr 8 2020 1:25:14 PM