5 June, 2019 –
The Palaszczuk Government has launched a $21 million, four-year Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) fund to support taxi operators who provide accessible transport, so that they can continue offering a great service for people who use wheelchairs or mobility devices.
Under the funding, wheelchair accessible taxis aged eight years or older will be eligible for 50 per cent funding for gradual vehicle replacement from 2019-20 through to 2022-23.
This funding will also help put an additional 65 accessible taxis on the road, boosting the number of vehicles available by 10 per cent. The fund will also be open to applications from operators/owners of conventional taxis who are looking to convert their vehicles to wheelchair accessible ones, in certain circumstances.
The Palaszczuk Government understands the role the taxi industry plays in providing accessible transport which is why we have included this funding as part of our commitment to ensuring accessible transport for all Queenslanders.
This announcement follows on from the Palaszczuk Government intervening to ensure the Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants continues for a year after June 30 2019 as well as a further commitment of $6.8 million in 2019-20 to continue incentive payments for drivers of wheelchair accessible taxis to give priority to TSS members.
How will the WAT fund work?
Taxi owners/operators of vehicles aged 10 years or more will be able to apply for funding to assist with the cost of replacing their vehicles in 2019/20.
In subsequent years until June 2023, applications will be open to eligible taxi operators/owners of vehicles aged 9 years or more and then later to those with vehicles aged 8 years or more.
The fund will also be open to applications from operators/owners of conventional taxis who are looking to convert their vehicles to wheelchair accessible ones, in certain circumstances.
Further details about the timing and process for applications will be available soon.
When will the application process open?
The Department of Transport and Main Roads is planning to engage the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) to manage the grant process on their behalf. The application process is not likely to open before the second quarter of the 2019-20 financial year.