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Taxi drivers to strike at midnight

Mackay City Cabs driver Marlene Campbell needed hospital treatment after an intoxicated customer punched her in the face three times last week.
Mackay City Cabs driver Marlene Campbell needed hospital treatment after an intoxicated customer punched her in the face three times last week. Amanda Balmer

IF you are planning to take a taxi in Mackay tonight, don’t bother looking for one between midnight and 1am.

Taxi drivers have had enough of being violently assaulted on the job and want to see harsher penalties handed down to offenders.

To make their point, drivers will line up their cabs at the Victoria Street base from midnight until 1am, leaving revellers without transport during one of the busiest nights of the week.

The strike comes following numerous assaults on taxi drivers in the Mackay area in the last few weeks.

Yesterday 33-year-old Jason Townsend walked away from an assault charge after attacking a driver with just a fine.

On Monday, Sharon Leahy was sentenced to 18 months probation and ordered to attend counselling after she bashed driver Marlene Campbell, pictured, in the face three times, leaving her with a black eye and needing hospital treatment.

Last week a 21-year-old Coffs Harbour man was charged with assault after he allegedly bashed a taxi driver unconscious in the early hours of Wednesday, November 11, in Beaconsfield.

The man is yet to appear in court.

Mackay City Cabs manager Alan Robinson said he was unaware of the planned strike tonight but he said drivers could rally among themselves if they so wished.

“If they all made arrangements to have a cup of coffee about 12am and then started back at 1am, we couldn’t do anything about it, we wouldn’t know,” Mr Robinson said.

He said drivers were fed up with seeing offenders commit assaults and then walk away without receiving adequate penalties for their crimes.

“If the public wants the service they have to look after the taxi drivers and have some respect for them,” he said.

“If there are no taxis out there it is because of what the people are doing and what the (courts) are not doing.

“There needs to be bigger deterrents and, unfortunately, somebody has to be made an example of.”

Read more...

Drunk woman hits taxi driver

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