History keeps taxi driver off road
FORMER Bundaberg taxi driver Michael Brown knows he made a mistake 22 years ago when he stole a car.
But he does not think he should still be paying for that mistake by not being able to take up a job he has been offered.
His troubles started when, at the age of 17, he was walking down a road in rural Victoria and spotted a parked car with the keys in it.
“I hopped in and took off,” he said.
Unfortunately for him, Mr Brown was carrying a rifle at the time, so when he was stopped by police he was charged with armed robbery.
Knowing little about the law, Mr Brown pleaded guilty at his trial, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison, and served two years.
After he was released, he moved to Queensland, in violation of his parole.
Mr Brown later moved to Bundaberg, where he worked for several years as a taxi driver.
But in 2008 he was arrested and extradited to Victoria, where he served eight months in jail for violating his parole.
Now back in Bundaberg, Mr Brown is desperate to work to support his wife and three children, and he has even found a taxi owner who is prepared to employ him.
The problem is he is still on parole and Queensland Transport refuses to issue him a Driver’s Authority (DA), which he needs to drive a taxi.
Taxi owner Ray Key, who offered Mr Brown a job, is supporting him in his struggle to get his DA back.
Mr Brown’s application for his DA was knocked back by the Maryborough office of Queensland Transport, and when he appealed the decision that was also refused.
Mr Brown’s last resort is an appeal to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, set for March 19.
However, he would need an estimated $10,000 to hire a solicitor and barrister to put up a proper appeal, which he cannot afford.
“I’ve been back from Victoria for eight months, I’ve put in more than 140 job applications and had three interviews, but still no job,” Mr Brown said.