Taxi reform protesters storm parliament

9 March 2017

Written by: Haley Battersby

Taxi protesters try to enter parliament in objection of the new license buy-back scheme.

Five people have collapsed and up to 100 people have stormed the Victorian Parliament as tensions rise over proposed reforms in the taxi industry.

Ambulance Victoria paramedics were called to the Spring Street protest following the medical issues.

Police attempted a barricade around Parliament to stop the protestors from entering.

Taxi protest organisers attempted to calm the crowd by singing the national anthem and Cabbie Lou, who was heralded for his actions at the Bourke St tragedy, joined the effort by taking the microphone.

“You need to calm down. Nothing is happening. Everybody calm down.”

The protest came after the Victorian Government proposed a buy-back scheme to compensate taxi license holders.

The crowd demanded Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan to address the problem.

A single taxi license is valued at $500,000 and the government has offered to buy-back these licenses, paying $100,000 on taxi drivers’ first asset and $50,000 for up to three more licences.

Sandy Spanos is a taxi driver who will be affected by the proposed buy-back scheme.

She has three licences, meaning she would receive $200,000, but she still has an outstanding loan of $300,000 she needs to repay.

“People are committing suicide and dying because of this, my kids are going to inherent a legacy debt.. We’ve lost everything that we’ve worked for and I’m tired of it and just want to live my life.” Mrs Spanos had previously told news.com.au.

This is happening while thousands of workers march across the city in protest of new building codes and the proposed penalty rate cuts.