New South Wales taxi drivers accept $905 million government package

NSW taxi and rideshare drivers will see new compensation deals come through soon.

NSW taxi and rideshare drivers will see new compensation deals come through soon. Photo: AAP

Taxi drivers have given their stamp of approval for a near-$1 billion compensation package for taxi licence holders, as the NSW premier looks well on his way to get his pet policy of scrapping stamp duty for first home buyers, passed.

The NSW Taxi Council accepted a $905 million package on Tuesday which would compensate drivers for vastly-devalued taxi plates in the face of competition with popular ride-share apps such as Uber.

The decision to accept the proposed package was on the provision the payments were linked to capital gains tax to minimise tax payable, as Victoria did for its compensation package, NSW Taxi Council head Martin Rogers said.

“We now ask the minister to introduce the legislation and have this completed by the time parliament concludes,” he said.

Under the revamped scheme announced on Monday, compensation will be $150,000 for Sydney taxi plates and between $40,000 and $195,000 for regional plate holders.

For passengers, it means they’ll pay an extra 20 cents per trip, and pay a levy beyond the original end date of June 2029.

With a 10-per-cent GST charge on top, the levy’s true cost will be $1.32 per trip.

It will be debated in parliament in the final three weeks of sitting before the March election.

Another key piece of legislation on the agenda is Premier Dominic Perrottet’s pet policy of allowing first-home buyers to avoid stamp duty and opt to pay an ongoing land tax on properties up to $1.5 million.

An upper house inquiry that stalled debate on the bill has since recommended debate go ahead.

Government bureaucrats are preparing for the scheme to begin in January as intended, however Labor has pledged to repeal the scheme if it wins government in March.

“We hope it goes down,” opposition Leader Chris Minns told reporters on Monday.

“Our concern has always been that this will be a Trojan horse to expand land taxes on family homes, which is the stated objective of the NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and has been for years.”

Mr Perrottet says the proposal is about choice.

“Labor needs to get out of the way and allow people to make their own decisions on what suits them,” he said on Monday.

“At the moment you have Chris Minns standing at the doorway saying ‘go away’ to every first-home buyer.”

The government has been working with the crossbench MPs needed to pass the bill, Mr Perrottet said.

For several senior government ministers, it will be their final few weeks in parliament.

Brad Hazzard holds the record for tenure, retiring in March after more than three decades, while Victor Dominello, Rob Stokes, David Elliott and Geoff Lee are among other departing ministers and MPs.

NSW voters go to the polls on March 25 to decide whether the coalition, currently in minority government, will receive a fourth term after 12 years in power.

It will be the first electoral test for the leadership of Mr Perrottet, who became premier following the October 2021 resignation of Gladys Berejiklian over an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation that is yet to report its findings.

Labor lost in a landslide in 2011 after 16 years of government, but has taken a lead in recent polls.

Mr Minns has warned his party not to get cocky but some Labor MPs have already begun calling him the next premier of NSW.

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