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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 1726..


MR SMYTH: My question is also to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Mr Hargreaves. Minister, you backed the formation of a new taxi company in an attempt to create another competitive player in the ACT taxi industry in support of your stated vision to deregulate this industry. The situation in the ACT now, for residents and visitors alike, is that taxi services have deteriorated even further, with 30 per cent of new leased plate owners having returned their plates and ACT residents, particularly those who are confined to wheelchairs, having been further disadvantaged. Minister, on what basis and with what advice did you decide to introduce a new taxi operator to the ACT?

MR HARGREAVES: Sometimes I wish Mr Smyth would actually quote his sources because I do not recall saying that I wanted a totally deregulated industry.

Mrs Dunne: We can't hear you.

MR HARGREAVES: I will say it again.

Mr Smyth: Don't be shy.

MR HARGREAVES: You know how sensitive I am.

Mr Corbell: A wilting violet.

MR HARGREAVES: A wilting violet; not shrinking but wilting. I do not recall ever saying that I wanted to totally deregulate the taxi industry. However, Mr Smyth is quite happy to ascribe that comment to me without sourcing it and without verifying it. Therefore, as such, you need to suspect every other assertion he has in his question.

Mr Smyth: Point of order. Standing order 118B states that the minister cannot argue the answer. I did not use the word "totally"and he cannot put it in my mouth. He must answer the question.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Come to the subject matter of the question.

MR HARGREAVES: He talks about 30 per cent of the plates being put back. I do not believe that 30 per cent of the plates are being surrendered.

Mr Pratt: Go and talk to the taxi industry leaders for a change.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Pratt!

MR HARGREAVES: This government did not introduce a voice-operated booking system that so badly failed the people of Canberra. This government did not split the taxi service into three different parts to put three different classes of traveller into the taxi industry. But it was this government that was sensitive to the needs of the disabled travelling public, having its taskforce chaired by Mr Wallace, chairman of the Disability Advisory Council.

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