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Qld premier defends $100m Uber spend

AAP logoAAP 12/08/2016 By Jamie McKinnell and Melissa Grant

Queensland's premier insists spending $100 million to support taxi drivers impacted by Uber's legalisation is fair, while cabbies say it's anything but.

They believe the approval of ride-sharing will destroy their industry and those who own taxis say they'll be bankrupted.

The state has also been accused of wasting taxpayers' money by spending it to subsidise Uber's entry into the market.

The $100 million package to usher in legal ride-sharing from September 5 includes compensation payments of $20,000 for existing taxi licences, capped at two per individual.

Ms Palaszczuk on Friday said the state could afford to spend the money, which was coming from consolidated revenue and Treasury had assured her it was available over two years.

"It's the right thing to do, it's the fair thing to do," she said.

The premier said it was fair to compensate "mums and dads" who had invested thousands in existing licenses.

"It's not their fault that the world is changing, that there is now a new, modern economy that's here in Queensland," she said.

But taxi drivers are incensed by the reforms, including the compensation on offer.

Dozens of them rallied outside Queensland on Friday to voice their opposition to Uber's legalisation alongside Federal MP Bob Katter and Queensland MP Rob Katter.

"The transport minister just made us bankrupt," shouted driver Majit Boparai, who bought his taxi licence four years ago for $310,000.

Some Queensland taxi drivers have spent more than $500,000 buying a licence and claim they've lost $100 per day in income since Uber's arrival.

The drivers said they had simply played by the rules set by the state government, which could have made fares cheaper by removing red tape.

Rob Katter said allowing Uber to operate legally would not only devastate the state's cab industry, but cost the state millions of dollars in lost taxes.

He also said it was wrong to make taxpayers subsidise Uber's entry into the market and described the compensation for cab owners as only "better than a slap in the face".

Rob Katter said his party would do everything it could to stop Uber's legalisation.

The Liberal National Party opposition is yet to fully reveal its stance on the reforms and Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe now has the tough job at convincing cross-benchers to support them.

Mr Hinchliffe has said the first tranche of the reforms can be dealt with by the government through regulation.

But it remains to be seen whether the government will be able to get the remaining sections through the state's hung parliament.

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