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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2137..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

That is just not satisfactory as far as I am concerned. I am sure all members join with me in saying that it is hoped that Canberra Cabs will lift their game with respect to their dispatch system. There are two criteria I will be keeping an eye on. One is the response that people get to the telephone booking system and the other is the response that they get with regard to a taxi actually turning up. Those, to me, are the major things. It is pointless having a Yes, Minister approach to our taxi dispatch system. This could be the best system in the world, but nobody is using it. I am not happy about that.

I was also interested to hear anecdotally that the wheelchair-accessible taxi system seems to be on the improve. The Canberra Cabs network was offered, as members will remember, $100,000 to help micromanage the system. Canberra Cabs did not take us up on that offer. The offer still stands. We will see whether they need it. I would encourage Canberra Cabs to continue the good work that I hope will be reflected in the survey with regard to the wheelchair-accessible taxis and I hope that they will have a very dramatic improvement in their voice recognition system. As I have said in this place before, given reasonable time after the introduction of the standards last June, we will be reasonable about seeing whether they have satisfied the standards but, where they do not reach them, there are penalties attached to the legislation. Let there be no mistake: this government intends to invoke those penalty provisions because it is just not acceptable otherwise.

We had in the federal parliament recently, as reflected in the Canberra Times this morning, dissatisfaction expressed by one of the members with the services received from Canberra Cabs. That means that the ACT, in terms of its taxi system, is being bagged right across the country, and we cannot put up with that much longer. The opportunities for the government to fix that are pretty limited, but, as I said to Mr Pratt through you, Mr Speaker, there is nothing in the legislation to prevent another network from actually setting itself up in business. Indeed, I would like to see some work done on enticing people here but, of course, that is up to commercial reality.

Schools-closures

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, on Chief Minister Talkback on 4 August, in relation to the sale of closed school sites, you said:

... it is quite likely in the future we will. Whether we sell them for supported accommodation, whether we sell them for the purposes of additional residential, whether we sell some of the land for a whole range of scheduled purposes.

This admission is in stark contrast to statements made by the minister for education, including his statement in the Canberra Times of 28 June 2006, where he is quoted as saying:

There will be no land sales as a result of school closures.

Chief Minister, whom are we to believe, you or the education minister?

MR STANHOPE: The statements that Mr Barr and I have made are essentially identical. There is some acceptance that there has been some gleam of meaning in the context of the statements made and their interpretation. Mr Barr said that the government


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