Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2317..
MR WOOD (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I commend the government response to the Assembly and move:
That the Assembly takes note of the paper.
MRS DUNNE (3.52): I welcome at last the minister's response to the planning and environment committee's report on the Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Amendment Bill. The response, which many in the community have been sweating on for a long time, is late. It is a mixed bag.
I think that while ever this government and this Assembly do not address the real issues of deregulation, this matter will never go away. The minister has said in this place, and elsewhere, that with the introduction of this legislation deregulation issues are dead. I beg to differ, because while ever we do not address comprehensively the issues covered by this legislation in a way that fully deregulates the market, these issues will not be dead.
We had discussion in the recently completed estimates process and elsewhere about the competition payments forgone because of our failure to address the issues relating to the taxi industry. I welcome the announcement by the government that they will buy back hire car licences, as recommended by the committee. However, at first blush, Mr Speaker, I think it is unreasonable that the people involved in the industry may have to wait over a year for that to come to fruition. I think it is unacceptable that people who are having a great deal of trouble driving a business in this climate-and many people could sell a licence plate if there was someone out there to buy it-may to have to wait until 1 July 2005 to see the colour of this government's money.
I make the point, Mr Speaker, that we have to consider what will happen after the election. This government response, in a sense, will not be worth a cracker after 16 October, because we have no guarantee who will be the minister for transport. We know that Mr Wood will not be the Minister for Urban Services. We have to seriously question the commitment of this government to actually address the needs of the people in the industry.
The buyback for the hire car industry is a very modest sum-the buyback for the taxi industry is a entirely different kettle of fish-and if this government cannot find the money between now and the election to come good with that it will be really very much a case of cocking a snook at people who are doing it very tough in this community. I want to see very soon and long before the election comes around not just a commitment to 1 July 2005 but a commitment to buy it out at a fair price in accordance with the advice of the planning and environment committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission
Paper and statement by minister
MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following paper: