RIDESHARING DRIVERS FACE HARSHER PENALTIES

RIDESHARING DRIVERS FACE HARSHER PENALTIES

UBER has hit a roadblock, with Queensland ridesharing drivers set to face higher penalties under a new law passed in Queensland Parliament this week.

Uber drivers now face fines of up to $2356 while the administrators of illegal taxi services could be penalised up to $23,560.

This followed a last minute push by Uber, calling on supporters to urge their local member and the Premier to vote against the new laws.

"The KAP is using its balance of power position to pressure the Premier into passing the bill," the email said.

"While NSW, the ACT, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania have all embraced ridesharing as a positive for their States, the KAP is trying to take your choice to rideshare away.

"Don't let Katter's Australia Party take Queensland backwards."

Katter's Australian Party introduced a private member's bill and an amended version passed with opposition support.

Transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe saying the laws strengthen provisions in Queensland's transport legislation around the operation of unlicensed taxi services.

"In response to the Private Member's Bill from the Katter Australia Party, the Parliament voted to strengthen provisions in our current legislation to ensure transport inspectors have the powers they need to enforce current regulation," says Hinchliffe.

"While the Queensland Government welcomes innovation in transport, passenger safety will always remain our number one priority and our transport inspectors must have the appropriate tools to ensure they can uphold current and any future regulations."

The Department of Transport and Main Roads has spent more than 18,000 hours on compliance activity and issued a total of 1,536 penalty infringement notices since July 2014.

Since August 2015 transport inspectors have been unable to undertake covert enforcement activities, however the new bill also gives transport inspectors more powers to detect offenders.

"The providers of unlicensed taxi services have developed sophisticated ways of evading enforcement efforts and the changes to state legislation passed through the Parliament improves our capacity to ensure the time and resources dedicated to upholding transport laws in our state are not wasted," says Hinchliffe.

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