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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2334..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

second one is that there are not enough cabs in this town. The reason why there are not enough cabs in this town is that, between 1995 and 1998, Mr Smyth, as a former transport minister, would not issue any further licences in this town.

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: he cannot mislead. I was not a minister between 1995 and 1998.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, I warn you. If you try that again, I will name you. Withdraw that.

Mr Smyth: I was not a minister between 1995 and 1998.

MR SPEAKER: Withdraw what you just said.

Mr Smyth: I withdraw. He must apologise and withdraw what he said earlier. He must report to the Assembly truthfully.

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. What happened was that there were no taxi licences issued between 1995 and 1998. There were none issued between 1995 and now. What happened was that this government has said, "No more to perpetual plates; we are going to go with the leased arrangements."We have released 20. There are at least 20 more on the road. That means that there are going to be 20 more at the airport. There are going to be 20 more outside the nightspots so that, when people want to do the responsible thing and go home by cab, there are cabs available to do so. We will be releasing another 20 next year.

That is our side of the bargain delivered. We introduced, in June of this year, regulatory increases. We now have the fining regime available. We can now do anything between a reprimand and a maximum fine of $500 per standard per month, up to withdrawal of accreditation. We now have that power vested in the RTA if people do not satisfy accreditation standards.

We have been out there trying to make sure there is more competition in the industry. We have been up-front. I have been out there in the media telling people this ad nauseam. These folks opposite are left floundering. They do not know what they are talking about. Mr Pratt surprises me. He does not know what he is talking about. All he has to do is ring my office, ask for a briefing on this-he is the shadow minister-and we will give him one on it. No; he decided to take the lazy option.

Employment

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is directed to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Can the Treasurer outline for the Assembly the measures that the ACT government has put in place to address skills shortages and the importance of a strong labour market and confident business sector?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Gentleman has asked an important question about an important issue. Earlier this week I informed members that last week ACT labour force data revealed that the ACT had the lowest unemployment rate on record in Australia, with a trend unemployment rate of 2.8 per cent. It is interesting to reflect on the fact that the last


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