Leader of Transport Matters Party
Rod Barton is a passionate advocate for change. He is the founder of the Transport Matters Party.
In 2018, he was elected as a member of the Victorian Legislative Council. With over 30 years of experience in the taxi, limousine, and hire car industries, Rod has seen firsthand the need for greater equality and fairness not only for transport workers, but in all sectors of the community.
Rod has history for being a strong advocate for social and affordable housing and for those who are our most vulnerable in our society.
Although no longer in Parliament, Rod still works tirelessly to represent the voices of those who have long had their experiences, opinions and struggles ignored.
Rod’s achievements in Parliament include but are not limited to:
Made touting illegal in Victoria
Secured amendments to ensure a review of the governments’ Commercial Passenger Vehicle reforms.
Secured a Parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness in Victoria
Appointed to Advisory Panel to supply recommendations to Transport Minister in response to the impact of Covid-19 on the CPV industry, will also be advising on the government response to the Parliamentary inquiry into the reforms of the CPV 2017
Secured the Parliamentary Inquiry into Expanding the Free Tram Zone
Secured government support for Channel 31 to renew their broadcasting license
Secured a parliamentary inquiry into the Multi Purpose Taxi Program
Was successful in lobbying to have the CPV industry included in the May 2021 lockdown $5000 business support grants that continued throughout the year
Secured support to save the Nagambie – Avenel – Euroa school bus
Supported the Road Safety Amendment Bill 2019 to see mandatory license suspension for people who travel 45km above the speed limit
Secured amendments to the Road Toll inquiry
Secured an Inquiry into Rural Public Transport Needs
Secured a $22 million COVID-19 support package for the CPV and Taxi Industry
The Legislative Council passed Rod’s motion to acknowledge the damage caused to Taxi and Hire Car Licence holders by the 2017 reforms
Successfully lobbied the government to have the taxi and hire car industry eligible for the Business Costs Assistance Program during lockdowns. These grants were up to $2800 per week.
Successfully lobbied the Legal and Social Issues Committee to begin a parliamentary inquiry into Children of Imprisoned Parents
I was born in the western suburbs of Melbourne but raised in the eastern suburbs. I have lived in the Eastern Metropolitan region for more than 40 years.
My ambition was never to be a politician, but to fight for what is fair. I came to parliament at 60 years of age.
Before that, I spent most of my life building my own small business as a hire and taxi car operator.
In 2014 Uber entered the taxi and hire car market illegally. Their cars did not carry a valid licence to operate in Victoria and the fares they were charging were below the cost of delivery. They were buying market share. We could not compete against subsidise fares and overnight my business took a dramatic turn.
Just like that, and through no fault of my own, everything slipped through my fingers and the financial pressure meant I lost my home. I knew then I would never own a home again.
So, seven months out from the 2018 state election I formed Transport Matters Party, a political party and began my campaign with the support of the commercial passenger vehicle sector. We managed to pick a seat in the Victorian Upper House.
I came to parliament to fight for fairness and represent those who are left to fall through the cracks.
What Rod Believes
I believe in fairness and equality for all Victorians.
Every Victorian has the right to fair and equal pay, sick leave, holiday pay, superannuation and parental leave.
It is time for governments to be held accountable for their actions and decisions. Democracy is about representative government but more importantly it is about holding the government to account. I believe in transparency, accountability and cutting red tape.
I believe government intervention is needed to address the increasing casualization of the workforce, rising costs of living and to put a stop to the exploitative work practices of the gig economy.
As an elected representative of the Eastern Metropolitan region, I get to take my community’s voice, experiences and issues to parliament.
This is a role I take very seriously.
“I did not come to parliament to throw rocks and stifle progress. I came to parliament to ensure my community is heard. The last four years have shown that we can negotiate with this government and effect change for the better.”
Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region