Transitional Assistance Payments Scheme and Additional Assistance Hire Vehicles Payments Scheme

Transitional Assistance Payment Scheme

Under the Transitional Assistance Payment Scheme (TAP scheme) holders of eligible Taxi-cab licences could apply for payment of $20,000 for each eligible ordinary licence up to a maximum of two eligible ordinary licences.  

These payments were intended to assist taxi licence holders to adjust to changes to the regulation of the point to point transport industry. 

Over $94.2 million was distributed to more than 4000 eligible taxi licence holders under the TAP Scheme.

Eligibility for TAP

To have been eligible for the TAP scheme a person must have been a holder of an eligible taxi licence as set out in legislation. Eligible licences were ‘ordinary’ taxi licences, ie taxi licences that were transferable (or tradeable). Short term or annual licences (which may not be transferred) were not eligible.

To have been be eligible for the TAP scheme the taxi licence holder must have acquired their eligible licence prior to 1 July 2015 and continued to hold that licence up to the date of the TAP scheme payment. 

Phases 1 and 2

The TAP Scheme was conducted in two phases. The first phase took place from July 2016 – July 2017. More than $92.4 million in payments were made in phase 1. Phase 2 took place from July 2018 to March 2019. The main purpose of the second phase was to allow persons who were eligible under phase 1 (but who did not lodge an application and were not paid under phase 1) to apply. 

Phase 2 also enabled the following groups to apply for a transitional assistance payment:

  • Those who did receive a transitional assistance payment for one eligible ordinary taxi licence but were entitled to make an application for a second eligible ordinary taxi licence, and who could establish to the satisfaction of Transport for NSW they have held the additional eligible taxi licence continuously during the period immediately before 1 July 2015 up to 13 January 2017.
  • Persons who were the beneficiary of an eligible ordinary taxi licence under a will or probate or were granted ownership of an eligible ordinary taxi licence as a result of a property settlement in the period 1 July 2015 to 13 January 2017 and they continued to hold the licence up to 13 January 2017.

The TAP distributed $94.2 million to 4058 eligible taxi licence holders. 

The Minister also approved TAP 2 payments to be made to certain eligible taxi training schools that provided training courses to the taxi industry.

Taxi training schools

To be eligible for a transitional assistance payment a taxi training school must have been a registered training organisation (as defined in the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011) and, immediately before 18 December 2015, be carrying on the business of providing training courses approved by Transport for NSW to taxi drivers and/or taxi operators. In addition the taxi training school must have been able to demonstrate that they were detrimentally affected by the changes made to the regulation of the taxi industry. 

The amount of transitional assistance funds paid to each eligible taxi training school was determined by Transport for NSW in accordance with guidelines issued by the Panel. 

Taxation and pension implications

Transport for NSW was successful in obtaining a ruling from the Department of Social Services that transitional assistance payments were an exempt lump sum payment for the purposes of the social security income test. (Social Security Exempt Lump Sum – Taxi Reform Transitional Assistance Payment Determination 2016).

The Australian Taxation Office deemed TAP payments as income support and as such they were treated as income for tax purposes.

Transport for NSW recommended that all payment recipients seek independent advice about the possible implications of TAP payments. 

Additional Assistance Hire Vehicles Payment Scheme

Up to $10 million was allocated to the Additional Assistance Hire Vehicles Payment (AAHVP) Scheme for eligible hire vehicle licence holders, in recognition that hire vehicle licences are no longer required. 

Applications for the AAHVP Scheme opened on 14 December 2017 and closed on 13 April 2018. 

The AAHVP Scheme distributed almost $8.3 million to 99 eligible hire vehicle licence holders, for 150 eligible hire vehicle licences.

Transport for NSW obtained a ruling from the Department of Social Services that AAHVP is an exempt lump sum payment for the purposes of the social security income test. (Social Security (Exempt Lump Sum – New South Wales Additional Assistance Hire Vehicle Payment) Determination 2017).

Transport for NSW recommended that all payment recipients seek independent advice about the possible implications of AAHVP payments.