In late March, the Queensland Parliament delivered its report into the State Government’s proposed legislation for a Personalised Transport Ombudsman (PTO) covering the rideshare and taxi industry.

The main policy objective of the Personalised Transport Ombudsman Bill is claimed by the government to help resolve complaints relating to personalised transport services.

The range of complaints that may be considered by the Ombudsman includes, for example, a complaint about the cleanliness of a vehicle used to provide a personalised transport service or a complaint about a personalised transport driver’s working conditions.

There’s just one problem. The Ombudsman doesn’t have power to take real action.

Your TWU, as the union representing drivers in the Taxi and Rideshare industry believes that the legislation proposed by the government is fundamentally flawed, and we’ve been actively pursuing changes to the proposed Bill to help give our industry ownership over the proposal.

Not giving the PTO any real powers to arbitrate disputes is wrong.

Common sense suggests that large multi-national companies such as UberX and other local taxi entities are unlikely to make genuine offers to settle matters if the PTO can be safely ignored once conciliation is over. The Ombudsman needs real teeth if it is expected to stand up for commuters and drivers against big corporations.

The working conditions of taxi and rideshare drivers are among the worst for any workers in Australia.

This situation won’t be addressed by some Ombudsman with no power to arbitrate working conditions.

Drivers deserve better than a toothless tiger. They deserve the opportunity to fight for better pay and conditions, and have the protection of an industry body to ensure their rights at work.

In addition to this, the proposed Bill demonstrates that it is out of touch with workers. Your TWU is opposed to moves by the Government to ban anyone who has worked for an advocacy group, including a union, from being appointed to an Ombudsman – locking out voices of experience in our industry and placing it into the hands of public servants who have never spent time behind the wheel.

The personalised transport industry deserves better, and your TWU will fight for better.

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