Vic taxi drivers protest deregulation
Aris Angelopoulos says he did not come to Australia to be a 'slave' and wants fair compensation for a taxi license he bought for $500,000.
He was one of hundreds of taxi drivers who gathered at state parliament in Melbourne on Monday in their ongoing dispute against the Victorian government's proposed changes to taxi licenses.
"The government wants to pay me $50,000 when I owe the bank half a million for my taxi licence" Mr Angelopoulos told AAP.
"I work hard, I have two children, and I am the only worker in my family".
Holders of taxi licences will be eligible to apply for the $50 million Fairness Fund in addition to the compensation of $100,000 for their first licence and $50,000 for subsequent licences.
"For every individual license holder, their financial arrangements are different" Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan told 3AW.
The government has proposed introducing legislation that will scrap the current $23,000 it costs to own a taxi license.
The deregulation of the taxi industry will also bring it into competition with ride-sharing services such as Uber that require no license to operate.
Victorian Taxi and Hire-Car Families spokeswoman Sandy Spanos says they want the government to negotiate a better deal.
"We want the government to talk to us, to consult and negotiate" Ms Spanos told AAP.
Motorists were earlier forced to divert onto emergency lanes on the Tullamarine as cabbies made their way in a slow protest towards parliament house on Monday.
"It's actually not bringing people to their cause - it's driving them away," Ms Allan told 3AW on Monday.