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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2135..

MR HARGREAVES: It's your turn, Mr Pratt, to make a dickhead of yourself.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hargreaves! Come to the question.

MR HARGREAVES: I withdraw that, Mr Speaker.

Mr Pratt: You are a disgrace.

MR HARGREAVES: Next! It's your turn, Mr Seselja.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Cease the interjections.

Mr Stefaniak: See if you can answer the question.

MR HARGREAVES: You are out of turn. Mr Speaker, earlier this year the government set out to increase the number of taxis on the road. In March-

Mr Pratt: He hasn't got a brain in his head.

MR HARGREAVES: You can't help yourself, can you? Good on you! Keep going, son! Mr Speaker, in March we announced our taxi licence release program, under which taxi licences could be leased from the government for a period of six years, following a ballot process. The first set of 10 leased licences was released by ballot in April 2006. Over 100 people applied for those licences, indicating a very high level of interest. All of those 10 new taxis are now on the road.

Following the success of the first ballot, another one was held this morning. Interest in the licences evidently remains high, with over 70 people applying in the second round. As with the first ballot, several existing taxi operators were successful in the ballot. It is anticipated that this new group of 10 taxis will be on the road by the end of the year.

A further 20 licences will be made available through the same process, providing an overall increase of almost 20 per cent in the number of standard taxis. Another outcome of this taxi release program is that it allows people to enter the industry at low costs-$20,000 per annum for the licence. Leasing taxi licences directly to taxi operators gives them more control over their business. That actually addresses the difficulty people have had in getting into the market by having to come up with $200,000. That is almost impossible to do in this day and age.

The prattlings of those opposite-and "prattlings"does not mean a little Mr Pratt-seem to indicate that they are holding the government responsible for the network's voice recognition failure. Firstly, that is not our fault. This company has invested quite a lot of money in this system.

Mr Pratt: It is your monopoly. Do something about it.

MR HARGREAVES: Through you, Mr Speaker, for the benefit of Mr Pratt, who clearly has some sort of phobia about reading legislation, there is nothing in our

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