Exclusive Suicide attempt reflects taxi industry stress

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A Melburnian taxi licence holder attempted to take his own life in recent weeks, according to Victorian Taxi and Hire Car Families’ (VTHF) spokesperson Sandy Spanos. The driver’s actions were allegedly caused by his state of distress over the level of compensation being offered by the Victorian government in its recently-announced reforms to the taxi industry.Ms Spanos told Neos Kosmos that in respect to the family’s feelings, VTHF would not be commenting further on the matter, but that the individual’s death was prevented only by last-minute intervention by family members, who rushed him to hospital.Locked in a battle to persuade the Andrews government to increase its proposed compensation to licence holders as part of new regulatory reforms, many of the state’s licence holders have incurred large debts in relation to their licences. With $100,000 on offer for an owner-operator’s first licence, and $50,000 for a second licence (figures way below their market value just months ago), the hardest hit will be those who were relying on them as a nest egg to fund their retirement or to pay off existing loans. The 62-year-old individual who attempted suicide holds multiple licences and is believed to be of Cypriot heritage.“We’re organising counselling sessions for people who are in need and who are vulnerable,” said Ms Spanos. “Some elderly licence owners owe their banks hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the terrible strain this situation is having on people is showing.”While a $75 million ‘fairness fund’ is to be established to “provide support to industry participants experiencing immediate financial hardship” as a result of the government’s changes to be implemented from 2018, little detail has emerged yet as to its criteria or how it will operate.last_img read more