Ferguson must reverse forced, unfair transport cap for Tasmanians with disabilities
- Liberal Government’s taxi subsidy cap will isolate Tasmanians living with disabilities
- Ferguson now responsible for listening to sector and reversing cap
- Cap imposes limit of $1,000 this year and $350 from next year
Failed former Health Minister Michael Ferguson’s well documented refusal to listen to experts in the health and hospital system cannot be allowed to carry over now that he is responsible for the imposition of an unfair taxi subsidy cap for Tasmanians living with disabilities.
As new Transport Minister, Mr Ferguson must immediately consult with the disability sector, listen to serious concerns and reverse the Minority Hodgman Liberal Government’s decision to impose a cap of $1,000 a year for taxi subsidies from this week.
Deputy Labor Leader Michelle O’Byrne said the imposition of the cap was unfair and would have wide-ranging consequences for Tasmanians living with disabilities, particularly considering it would reduce significantly next year to $350 for the following three years.
“The $1,000 cap commenced on July 1 and since the former Minister responsible Jeremy Rockliff refused to listen to serious community concerns, Michael Ferguson must now show if he is prepared to listen,” Ms O’Byrne said.
“Given that he proved himself absolutely incapable of listening or consulting during five disastrous years at the helm of the health and hospital system, there are serious concerns in the disabilities community that they will not be heard on just how unfair this subsidy cap is.
“There are about 1,400 Tasmanian NDIS participants who are affected by this and it will affect their ability to get to medical appointments or just take part in their community activities.
“Profoundly disabled Tasmanians will very quickly reach the full $1,000 entitlement the Liberals have imposed upon them and then simply not be able to afford transport.
“Labor joins with Disability Advocate Jane Wardlaw who has been calling on the government to extend the former subsidy system until 2021 and scrap the cap.
“The cap will have an extremely negative effect on many Tasmanians who are already marginalised and Mr Ferguson should not be attempting to isolate those people any further.
“It is imperative that he does not repeat the well documented arrogance that was the hallmark of his tenure as Health Minister and, as Transport Minister, tries to turn over a new leaf and listen.”
Michelle O’Byrne MP
Deputy Labor Leader