POINT TO POINT KOMMISSAR ANTHONY WING DEMANDS BLOOD FROM A STONE: MR RIDD

An active Blue Mountains environmentalist and small-business man, Mr Steven Ridd, has repeatedly come under unfair financial attack by departments of the current New South Wales Minns Labor Government.

Steven Ridd

Mr Ridd is an old Army mate of AFP’s John Hood and who offers to our readers, Mr Ridd’s following account of bureaucratic bullying.

Mr Ridd (60) is a micro-business entrepreneur based in the New South Wales Blue Mountains since 2001.  He holds university qualifications, is former Commercial Helicopter Pilot, did a brief stint at Duntroon, and is an experienced professional Business Analyst, and also a strident Environmental Conservationist and a keen Australian patriot well back into his Army days.

Mr Ridd says in his case, government bureaucracy keeps trying to “get blood out of stone” from his fledgling business, that like many has come under rolling lockdowns due to government incompetence.   He doesn’t know where to turn.  Included, is from Transport for NSW’s Point to Point Transport Commissioner or ‘Kommissar’ Anthony Wing since 15 April 2024, and before that from Service NSW under Minister Jihad Dib since 11 April 2023; a battle that has endured over the past year.

Since 2013, Mr Ridd has embarked upon setting up a new commercial tour venture he calls Nature Trail.  After much training, preparation and outgoings over six years, Nature Trail’s business operation launched in August 2019 at the time of flourishing tourism demand in the Blue Mountains and Nature Trail targeted the high-end international visitor market.

However, soon after business launch from October 2019, the NSW Government then under the Berejiklian Liberals, locked down the entire state’s economy due to various abject failures of emergency management and failures of quarantine against the foreign-borne Chinavirus both at national and state levels.

Times became dire for the following three years – economically, financially and socially.

So, financial compensation grants were offered by both national and state governments to businesses adversely impacted by government imposed lockdowns, including Mr Ridd’s business, which applied and qualified as eligible in every respect.

Mr Ridd invested the welcome grant finance back into his business including purchasing a quality 4WD tour vehicle.  It was second hand off a local mate at mates rates, so keeping the cash circulating locally in the Blue Mountains.  Mr Ridd was never inclined to buy foreign and new, which cost too much anyway.

Then in late 2022, once the smoke had long cleared, and the pandemic lockdowns had been lifted, after Mr Ridd had had his 4 vaccine jabs, and visitors were allowed back to the Blue Mountains, like many small business operators, Mr Ridd was hopeful of a return to economic good times.

But that wasn’t to be. Mr Ridd says from his experience tourism in the Blue Mountains has since been in recession.  The high-end international tourism demand for Nature Trail’s bespoke tailored tour offerings has since been all but non-existent to date.

 

Minns Mafia extortion attempt 1 

On 28 March 2023 the Minns Labor Government came to power in New South Wales, replacing the failed and broke Berejiklian State Liberal Government.

Within just two weeks of the state election, the incoming Labor government’s extortion racket commenced,as if they were secretly primed pre-election.   Out-of-the-blue on 11th April 2021, Mr Ridd received a threatening phone call from some woman saying her name was Angela from NSW Minns Government accusing Mr Ridd of being a fraudster and demanding Mr Ridd reimburse the micro-business compensatory grant totalling $15,214 that Nature Trail had received from the NSW Berejiklian Liberal Government nearly two years prior, during the pandemic lockdowns.

Mr Ridd said he presumed the call was a spammer, so promptly told the woman to get a real job, then he hung up.

Mr Ridd says that just ten minutes later, he received an email from the same woman ‘Angela’ (providing no surname, no position title, no phone number or address).  The woman used exactly the same threatening language, making unfounded accusations, presuming guilt of fraud my Mr Ridd and demanding evidence of Mr Ridd’s business eligibility for the grant that was approved and paid out by the NSW state government nearly two years prior.

Included was the following threat:

If we do not hear from you, or if you do not provide the requested documentation by 26th April 2023 this matter will be referred to Revenue NSW to begin funds recovery” (read email 11-Apr-2023 copy below) is in my opinion, unconscionable.  A two-week deadline before Service NSW throws me to government debt collectors is unreasonable, especially given that the specific audit information requested by Angela is unclear to me.

Mr Ridd has provided us with a copy of that email from Service NSW, (and well the following details of this, his second dispute with the Minns NSW Labor Government):

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Mr Ridd subsequently immediately and fully co-operated with this “audit” of his grant funding, supplying all additional evidentiary documentation asked of him.  This was even though the bulk of the “audit” evidence requested had already been provided by Mr Ridd to Service NSW at the time of his application for the grant back August 2021.

Based on the rudeness and intimidation Mr Ridd experienced,  about the upfront presumption that he was not eligible for the funding you received under this grant” and that somehow he had made “an incorrect, misleading or fraudulent claim”, Mr Ridd filed a formal written complaint to Service NSW CEO Greg Wells on 16th April 2023 by registered mail.

In that complaint letter Mr Ridd insisted that “Service NSW immediately retract its ridiculous baseless claims of fraud in its email to me below of 11 April 2023 (copy enclosed), and that it formally replies to me with an apology, and confirm in writing to me that Service NSW it has permanently cancelled its demand for any audit and refund from me.  Angela in here email, in representing Service NSW, is abusing Service NSW unequal bargaining power against me.  She needs to be appropriately disciplined by Service NSW management in relation to her ignorance, here based less accusations of fraud, and in her threatening tone towards me.”

No reply.

The woman “Angela” was clearly incompetent it tax matters and in the grant application process, claiming that Mr Ridd had to have a tax accountant to report his tax returns to be a real tax return”   Mr Ridd explained to this “Angela” that for the past decade, being an accountant he had prepared and lodged his own complex trust tax returns for his multiple businesses successfully to the Tax Office, completed manually since tax year 2014  and without issue.  Angela was clueless and just following a spiel from on-high.

It dawned on Mr Ridd that this grant ‘audit’ was some scheme by the incoming Minns Labor Government to claw back cash from grants monies paid to private businesses as dispensed by its nemesis, the outgoing Berejiklian Liberal Government.  This was nothing but a Labor Party political campaign charged purely to boost the coffers of Premier Chris Minns broke NSW Treasury, so he could spend on popular trinkets in order to get re-elected in 2026.  Both state and national treasuries are broke.

Over the successive months, callers from Service NSW claiming to have the fancy title “Business Concierge“? continued to demand more and more documents from Mr Ridd – various first names only (1) ‘Jacinta’ (2) ‘Angela’, (3) ‘Sam’, (4) ‘Nicole ’and (5) ‘Dewey’; none of whom has once provided their full name, nor their position title, nor contact details.   They all came across to Mr Ridd as anonymous scammers working from home.   The phone numbers were from around rural New South Wales, not in Sydney where the Service NSW department is headquartered.

Mr Ridd replied some 17 email replies to Service NSW dated between April and June 2023.  Yet, over the course of a year since, nothing that Mr Ridd did to try to comply with the so-called ‘audit’ appeased the government’s Service NSW callers.  They kept coming after him by phone and email just like spammers and extortionists.   This financial threat from government preoccupied and distracted Mr Ridd away from his business endeavours for the following year.  He fought tooth and nail.  That $15,000 claw back was fake.  The funds had gone into his business. There was nothing left.

Service NSW Business Concierge  

 

After a long period of non-contact, out of the blue Mr Ridd received a “no reply” email from Service NSW on 17 November 2023, stating:

This email is to let you know that Service NSW is temporarily pausing compliance audit activity in relation to your grant application.  This means that no further action is required from you at this time….

The pause will allow us to review the audit process and identify options to help make it easier for micro-business owners to participate.   We will contact you again at the conclusion of the review to update you on next steps….

If you prefer to continue with the current compliance audit process, you are able to do so, and our assessors remain available to support you.  If you would like to continue the compliance audit, or to discuss your grant application with us, please respond to this email or call us on 13 77 88 to book an appointment with an assessor.”

 

This email was contradictory, quoting:  “Service NSW is temporarily pausing compliance audit…”, “no further action” , “next steps”?, “if you would like to continue the compliance audit…”?

So, Mr Ridd phoned the Service NSW contact phone number straight away to seek clarification and resolution, yet no-one he spoke to knew anything about this email nor its message contents.   The useless umbrella organisation needs to be shut down.

Approaching a year after the first threatening phone call from Service NSW extortionists, Mr Ridd wrote a second formal written complaint to Service NSW CEO Greg Wells on 7th February 2024.

But yet again, “no reply from the cowardly sheltered overpaid bureaucrat“, Mr Ridd said.

Mr Ridd had included in his letter an ultimatum:

“The 2021 Micro Business Grant was approved to my business on 11 August 2021, two years prior and after 10 days assessment with checks made to me during the assessment process. It was not automatically approved, as the callers and emailers falsely claim.  I have supplied every record asked of me by Service NSW in this matter. 

If any document is required of me then specifically inform me in writing, and I shall email it to CDEO Greg Wells at smallbusinessassistance@service.nsw.gov.au  immediately .  

Otherwise, I consider this audit matter to be closed and I demand written confirmation from Service NSW to this effect by the end of February 2024, after which I shall deem any further correspondence from Service NSW on this matter to be harassment and intimidation – akin to the ilk of a ‘robodebt’ mark 2.   I shall refer such to my solicitor.

I have supplied every record asked of me by Service NSW in this matter. 

If any document is required of me then specifically inform me in writing, and I shall email it to CDEO Greg Wells at smallbusinessassistance@service.nsw.gov.au  immediately .  

Otherwise, I consider this audit matter to be closed and I demand written confirmation from Service NSW to this effect by the end of February 2024, after which I shall deem any further correspondence from Service NSW on this matter to be harassment and intimidation – akin to the ilk of a ‘Robodebt’ mark 2.   I shall refer such to my solicitor.”

By 3rd May 2024, just this month, Mr Ridd then received a finalising email from Service NSW as to its so-called “audit” of its 2021 approved grant payout to Nature Trail:

 

“RE: Micro-business Grant COL-8718f31-MBS

Dear Steven Ridd,

I refer to your correspondence to Mr Greg Wells, CEO of Service NSW in relation to your application for the 2021 Covid-19 Micro-business Grant for your business Nature Trail and subsequent compliance audit. I am responding on behalf of Mr Wells.

Compliance audits play a crucial role in administering the NSW Government’s grants and rebate programs. When a customer submits an online application, they must provide supporting documentation and consent to potential compliance audits. Additionally, customers are obligated to adhere to the grant Terms and Conditions, which include retaining documentation for five years. Service NSW regularly completes compliance reviews of NSW Government grant and rebate programs, which ensures responsible use of public funds in alignment with program guidelines.

Applications were accepted and funds paid where customers’ responses in their application demonstrated eligibility and adherence to the Terms and Conditions, even if some supporting documentation was incomplete. In these cases, the compliance audit process allows customers to submit evidence of their eligibility.

Service NSW reviewed the application for your business, Nature Trail, for the 2021 COVID-19 Microbusiness Grant and initiated contact to your business due to missing evidence requirements. On 17 November 2023 Service NSW wrote to you advising that the compliance audit for the Microbusiness Grant has been paused pending review of the audit process. This review has now been finalised and the compliance program has resumed.

Upon the resumption of the compliance audit, Service NSW has completed a review of the further documentation you have supplied and has identified that you have not currently provided sufficient evidence to support eligibility of your application. However, after careful consideration of your application and subsequent communications, Service NSW can confirm your application has been withdrawn from any pending compliance review and note no further action is required by you or your business.

Kind regards

Tina Dougherty

Director,
SNSW Business Bureau
Business Customer Service”

Mr Ridd says:

“What a bloody waste of time and effort, when I did the right thing all along and am trying to get by fledgling business back on its feet after government imposed socio-economic lockdown of government’s own making?

But I am not one for giving up.  I have a quality business service offering, but if the bloody leeching bureaucrats in their protective person lifestyle bubble would be compelled to get real and just allow small business a chance to have a go (not taxpayer funded, but business owner funded) then local tourism might stand a chance to survive and perhaps eventually flourish, then us small businesses giving it a go we can start to afford respectfully decent government fees.

Until then, I hate government!”

 


Minns Mafia extortion attempt 2 

 

Just before the Minns Government contacted Mr Ridd to tell him they had finally withdrawn its compliance review (‘audit’) of his business’s grant, similarly Mr Ridd received a phone call out-of-the-blue on 15th April 2024 from a different department of the Minns State Labor Government.  It was just two and a half weeks before Service NSW had abandoned its year-long extortion attempt.

This call was from another woman threatening Mr Ridd this time with a fine of $110,000 minimum unless he deleted his business website promoting his tour business.  The woman claimed she was from the Point to Point Transport Commission.

Once again, Mr Ridd, who receives copious spam calls and texts from Indian scammers claiming to be typically from Telstra or a bank or Australia Post, initially treated the call as a scam.

Mr Ridd says that during the initial phone call from this unknown woman that in a gesture of good faith he openly explained to her that due to all the lockdowns since 2019, his tour business Nature Trail had never actually traded commercially.  Mr Ridd further explained that his vehicle was not used for commercial tours; that despite him trying to promote the business on his website, the vehicle shown had not delivered any commercial tours due to the total collapse in tourism demand to the Blue Mountains; that the vehicle was still private registered since he purchased it, not commercially.

The woman didn’t listen. She had a spiel, a presumed wrongdoer and cash target – she was just another extortionist who continued with her threats, so Mr Ridd hung up.

This second different threat was as if the Minns Mafia had passed its extortion baton from its Service NSW department to this silly P2P Pointy Kommissariat.

 

Mr Ridd says that within minutes of him hanging up, he received a prepared email on the same topic repeating the same demands and threats.  Mr Ridd has provided us with the following copy of that email as well:

“Good Afternoon Steven, 

It has been brought to the attention of The Point to Point Transport Commission that you are operating passenger services in Blue Mountains NSW. In NSW, Point to Point transport is any passenger service in a vehicle (other than a bus) that can take customers on the route they choose, at a time that suits them, for a fare. This includes taxis, limousines, rideshare services, airport transfers and other hire vehicles.

If you choose not to become authorised as a Booking Service provider, you will need to cease offering & advertising passenger services in Blue Mountains. 

Penalties of up to $110,000 apply for anyone providing an unauthorised taxi or booking service, while drivers will face penalties if they take bookings or carry out passenger services from unauthorised service providers. Penalties are much higher for second or subsequent offences.

Please see below for links to our website and the current legislation and regulation.

As discussed in our phone call this afternoon you are not permitted to advertise these services if you are not an authorised booking service provider. Also discussed, I will view your website on 19 April 2024 in order to confirm that all advertising has been removed.

https://www.pointtopoint.nsw.gov.au/

https://www.pointtopoint.nsw.gov.au/what-a-service-provider/become-an-authorised-service-provider

https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/sl-2017-0424

https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2016-034

Yours Sincerely 

Kimberley Warren
Service & Industry Liaison Officer
Operations
NSW Point to Point Transport Commission

ref:!00D6F01PKI2.!5002t0WShbS:ref”

Squeezing blood from a stone

 

So now this Minns Mafia has been trolling the Internet from one of their compounds hunting for tour operators with a vehicle – operating or not operating.  Mr Ridd says he’s anticipating a police chopper flying over his residence in the Blue Mountains armed with a video camera, else a Kommissariat camera drone, else some satellite surveillance.

Following this threatening phone call and then an auto-email confirmation of the details of that phone call threat received within minutes, Mr Ridd says he didn’t wait for the ultimatum deadline of 19th April 2024 arbitrarily issued by NSW Point to Point Transport Commission’s Kimberley Warren.  Instead, he same day added the following compliant clause to the Nature Trail website on its front page as she had demanded.

“[IMPORTANT UPDATE:  As from Monday 15th April, Nature Trail received a threatening phone call then email both from the NSW Government’s Transport Department’s Kimberley Warren, threatened us with a $110,000 penalty and more if we use our tour vehicle.  This is despite the fact we do not and have never charged any transport fare as part of our hiking tours.  So instead, we have reverted to Tag-Along Touring in which we lead in our private car and our guests tag-along in their own car.  This keeps the gredy government off our backs.  Indeed our tour vehicle is just our private car and has never been commercially registered.  Not withstanding this the NSW Government wants us to shut down our website and for Nature Trail to go out of business all together.  And this is not the first time the NSW Government has threatened our startup business.  This bullying and threatening impost is to be also published on the Internet on our ‘Mountain Drums‘ blog here on this website].”

Mr Ridd same day (15th April 2024) replied to the email from Kommissar’s minion:

“Dear Ms Warren,

I confirm receipt of your phone call to me today from number 02-8650 1783 at 1:38pm from this Transport for NSW subdepartment and your email follow up below.

Frankly, I thought the call may have been another spam call, but actually I interpret it as indeed more ‘NSW Government spam’, following on from the likes of Service NSW and its ongoing threatening behaviour toward me over the past year. I trust that fake ‘audit’ of its Micros Business Grants recipients has finally been ended permanently.

Your accusations toward me and the tour business Nature Trail are false and unfounded.   Neither has ever offered Nature Trail has never had a tour vehicle as a Point to Point transport for fare paying passengers – not as a taxis, limousine, rideshare service, airport transfer or other hire vehicles.   Rather is and has always been registered as a private vehicle offered for no charge as a Probono courtesy transfer for guests on hiking tours – to save driving themselves or walking along the roadside to get to our tour departure location.

Back before all the NSW Government lockdowns staring with its multiple bushfire emergency declarations in 2019, Nature Trail sought to trial the NSW Government’s then new P2P regime by registering just in case business opportunities presented along these line.  They never did.  I cancelled the P2P registration pleading genuine financial hardship.  Nature Trail has not had one paying guest since due to the NSW Government’s wall to wall socio-economic lockdowns effectively denying tourism visitation to the Blue Mountains region.

The Nature Trail website was made dormant in early 2020 during the start of the subsequent East Coast Low deluges and landslips and then the wall-to-wall NSW Government’s pandemic lockdowns.

Do not threaten me with a $110,000 and more!

As discussed with you in your out-of-the-blue phone call to me today, I have immediately added a bold clause to the website to the effect that Nature Trail cannot use its vehicle due to your specific intimidating threat to me.

Read this:  https://naturetrail.com.au/

This clause overrides all offers of tours involving a vehicle.  It is one step from not having a tour operation.  I hope you are happy with yourself in your cosy public servant office with no idea about helping small business like mine get back on their feet.

Leave me alone!

If you further threaten me and my tour business that I must take down Nature Trail’s website, then I construe this as anti-small business prejudice and hate.

I am following your legal threat of bankrupting-level fines up with political and public action about this, including Internet coverage via the Nature Trail blog ‘Mountains Drums’.

You have picked on the wrong person, Ms Warren.

I herein copy in the office of my NSW local member for Blue Mountains, The Hon Trish Doyle MP, as well as my solicitor.

Sincerely,

Steve Ridd

Tour Director

Nature Trail”

 

We posit, has the month of April become the Chris Minns Government’s ‘Month of Extortion‘ for its minions to randomly target innocent struggling small businesses, with a directive to boost NSW Treasury’s dwindling coffers?   Seems so; perhaps with commission bonuses.

Enter the P2P Pointy Kommissar Anthony Wing…

 

Anthony Wing is the current NSW Minns Government’s ‘Point to Point Transport Commissioner’, a silly long concept title.  He’s the look alike one below on the right, who cant tie his tie.

Both well fed, both of the same empathetic disposition, and sinister smile for PR

Mr Ridd has received further threatening correspondence from Mr Wing…

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Minns Mafia Extortionist – P2P  Pointy Kommissar Anthony Wing

So in this letter received as an attachment in an email but not from Wing man Wednesday 8th May 2024, but from his boss minion, thus:

“Dear Mr Ridd

Attached is a letter from the Point to Point Transport Commissioner for your attention.

Thank you

Kathryn Berger

Manager Service Delivery

Operations

Point to Point Transport Commission”

 

Mr Ridd said that in this letter dated 7th May 2024, this Pointy P2P Kommissar is:

  1. Reading the riot act, quoting the Minns Government’s relevant Act from 2016 prohibiting Nature Trail providing a passenger booking service (Section 27)
  2. Prohibiting advertising of a passenger booking service (Section 129 (1).
  3. Dispatching an arbitrary ultimatum, else copping a $1,100 fine
  4. Backing his original threatening and intimidating minion – who had added two zeros before the decimal point in her fine threat of $1,100,000 – to get a higher commission?

POINT 1:  Mr Ridd says he had already explained to the Pointy P2P Kommissariat that his business Nature Trail had not provided a passenger booking service since the start of the NSW Government’s mandatory lockdowns of November 2019.

POINT 2:  Mr Ridd says he had already explained to the Pointy P2P Kommissariat that his business Nature Trail was not offering a passenger booking service since its intimidatory $110,000+ fine threats were made to him.  Clear wording to this effect was posted in bold on the front page of his business website (quoted above).

POINT 3:  Mr Ridd says he immediately added a further compliance notice on the Nature Trail website’s front page on the same day he says that he received the Minns Kommissar’s threat letter (8th May 2024).  Mr Ridd has forwarded this notice to us:

“ROAD TOURS  [Tag Along Only]

[IMPORTANT:  OUR ROAD TOURS ARE CURRENTLY VIA A TAG-ALONG ARRANGEMENT IN WHICH GUESTS TRAVEL IN THEIR OWN CAR(S) AND WE GUIDE YOU WITH INTERCOMS BETWEEN VEHICLES.  THIS IS DUE THE NSW GOVERNMENT LOCKDOWNS AND MORE RECENTLY DUE TO WRITTEN THREAT ULTIMATUM OF SIGNIFICANT FINES BY THE NSW GOVERNMENT’S POINT TO POINT TRANSPORT COMMISSIONER ANTHONY WING DATED 7 MAY 2024].”

 

POINT 4:  Exactly who’s threatening whom?  Mr Ridd says he has not in any way “defamed, harassed, intimidated or threatened” anyone, despite P2P Anthony Wing’s assertions.  Rather vice versa.   Further, that Nature Trail has not traded since the NSW Government’s locksdowns of November 2019.  Mr Ridd confirms that Nature Trail has immediately complied with every request of this Minns Kommissariat.

 

Extortionate Fees:  a greedy $600 p.a. even if not trading!

Mr Ridd says the current NSW Government’s red tape regime under its Pointy P2P Kommissariat is overly complex and highly administrative for registrant business owners.

The regime demands a $600 minimum annual fee be paid to it by each commercial operator (such as a tour operator) of a vehicle used to carry between 1 and 11 passengers from point to point for a fare, plus an additional Passenger Service Levy.  And that is payable even if the operator in not trading, has not taken any passengers, but just has a website promoting its tours and includes a picture of a vehicle.

The impact on small business engaged in tourism is crushing, prohibitive and discouraging to new entrants.

Mr Ridd says:

“This is greedy big government stuff” and the bastards in bullshit castle couldn’t give a damn about entrepreneurs, small business and the cost imposts and regulatory demands that culminate to make new business ventures financial unviable.  Theses government bureaucrats have never run their own business.  They think their fortnightly pay automatically into their bank account is some privileged entitlement, irrespective of the abuse of power and harm they threaten and inflict upon ordinary working souls.  Increasingly such costs of these government departments is so high and unwieldy that each department has to raise its fees and charges to just ‘breakeven‘.  Who in the public service know what ‘breakeven‘ means?”

Mr Ridd tells of the background to his tour business venture

I conceived this new tour business idea back in 2010 after participating on a walking tour in Ireland whilst on family holiday.

He said that after he returned back to the Blue Mountains, a renowned expansive international tourism destination, and being a qualified and experienced Business Analyst, so I wisely did his homework – prepared a details Business Plan – undertook extensive due diligence, interviewed existing local tour operators, operations plan, risk mitigation plan, financial plan including a detailed budget for – setup costs, overhead costs and operating costs pricing etc.

Then between 2013 and 2016, I obtained all the necessary qualifications and certifications from TAFE.

Between 2015 and 2019, I embarked on multitude field practice trips for intended tour routes, extensive research gathering, tour designs, collected various research for commentary, multiple drafts of trip plans.

This was long before the waves of political interference by mostly the NSW Liberal Party in power for too long (O’Farrell to Berejikian) that ran roughshod through the NSW public service – disrupting, mass sackings, amalgamating and selling off publicly-owned departments for its own cash grab projects, such as the RMS swallowing up Sydney Ferries (Nov 2011), then the silly-named Point to Point Transport Commissioner (2016), then the monolithic mega-department Transport for NSW (Dec 2019).  It’s been a tumultuous Greiner-Fahey bulldozing regime repeat of 1988-1995.

One due diligence criterion that every budding business needs to very carefully consider and allow for as substantial contingency is the fleeting whim of politicians in government – to change their mind, change the rules, renege on electoral promises, ignore the needs of locals, and create imposts to make small businesses unviable because the sheltered workshop and former staffer pollies have never run a small business.

Recall the Baird-Berejikian Liberal’s Copenhagen thought-bubble that drove hundreds of retail businesses to the wall.  The Sydney tramway network had served the inner suburbs of Sydney from 1879 until 1961 when NSW Labor’s Heffron Government shortsightedly ran roughshod and ripped up the tracks and replaced the trams with cheap buses.  History repeats.

By 2017, I was finally ready to outlay business registration expenses and to notify the NSW Government authorities of my imminent intentions to commence trading a tour operator in the Blue Mountains and so appropriately register.  Then started to engage with the various NSW Governmental authorities to properly register, take out insurances in order to set up to legally ready to launch commercially set for August 2019 ahead of the normally busy summer peak tourist season.

I recall back in the day (2010), it was a relatively straight forward registration process when it was just the old familiar Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) as the sole NSW Government department authority for all matters transport.  This was the 9-page form to apply for a 4WD Tourist Vehicle registration in New South Wales.

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Even in 2017, the application fee was a reasonable $100.

 

However, this simple registration process that was user friendly to budding new entrants providing 4WD tours and the like, was done away with in 2016 by the NSW Baird Liberal Government (2014-2017) which amalgamated the 4WD Tourist Vehicle registration with a host of other unrelated transport services and complicated the process under what has become the current Point to Point Transport Commission, a new departmental creation separate from the RTA/RMS.   Baird is a toff of an upper class Liberal Party family who attended the posh Kings School in Parramatta and went on to be an investment banker at the big corporate end of town, so having no small business empathetic bones in his body.

The P2P registration and licensing regime is governed by the 89-page Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Act 2016 No 34 and the more prescriptive 55-page Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Regulation 2017.

In September 2018, I dutifully registered as what had supplanted and morphed from the 4WD Tourist Vehicle, to be now a ‘Booking Service Provider‘.  Of course old forms had been shredded and the registration process became online only.  The registration application fee had escalated from $100 to $160.  This was a new complex new world regime set up by Premier Baird’s big government, with new reporting demands, a hist of terms and conditions and newly constructed terminology abounded.

The new regime out of Macquarie Street:

So, I am a micro business start up trying to set up and find customers to get going.  Then they demand all this tourism red tape?  Foreign Uber doesn’t allow it, so why should I do the NSW Government’s statistical data collection as a cost burden to me?

Of most concern to me was the fee of $500 that came in before I had even traded. So I cancelled the registration altogether.

The fees have since increased annually will continue to do so.

 

 

Seriously, what passenger transport operator in the state of New South Wales could hope to provide 20,000 trips in a given year, let alone 10,000,000 or more per year?

Only the NSW Government’s own department Transport for NSW with its taxpayer funded public trains, buses and ferries maybe.  Does this mean its charges such extortionate fees above to its own department?

So is this a perversion of the ‘cost recovery’ mandate Premier Minns?

There is no motivation for me as a micro tour operator to continue to re-register in this brave new unaffordable regime.