Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 3768..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
I do not think we can sit here and decide it on the basis that she has had a relationship with the Labor Party, as you have, Mr Mulcahy. As the Chief Minister pointed out, how does that impact on you being a professional Liberal? Do you get asked that? Because of the fact that you had a personal history with the Labor Party, do your Liberal colleagues look at you a bit funny and go, "Mate, I am not sure because, in your previous history, you were a member of the Labor Party."It is exactly the same situation.
Mr Mulcahy: Not at all.
MS GALLAGHER: Why is it different? Maybe you are a mole. Maybe your Labor affiliations are the cause of all this internal turmoil at the moment. It is exactly the same scenario.
Let the research and the scope of the work go on. Let the ethics committee worry about the ethics, which is the most appropriate place for it to be. From my point of view and from the ACT government's point of view, I am looking forward to when that research is completed.
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, the recent decision in the Crowley discrimination case found that there had been about 50 complaints made to your department about breaches of taxi regulations in relation to wheelchair-accessible taxis, or WATs, but so far there had been no disciplinary action taken against operators for failing to give priority to disabled members of the community. Minister, why have you and/or your authority failed to take action against WAT operators who do not give priority to the disabled community?
MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. Firstly, I will need to check that there are no actions being taken; I am not so convinced that that is the case but I will take it on board and check it. The Assembly would be aware that the wheelchair-accessible taxi system and service for people in the disabled community in this town is nothing short of appalling. The government has done what I believe to be an awful lot about addressing that and there is clearly more to be done.
You would remember, Mr Speaker, that we had a working group consider the issue. It was comprised of people from the disability advisory group and people from what is now the territory and municipal services department and we introduced a whole range of initiatives. We increased the lift fee. We changed the regime so that if the booking was not made through the network the lift fee would not apply. We offered the network $100,000 to micromanage the system; that was not taken up by the network.
In the general sense the government has been very active in trying to clean the system up. I will check into the issue about whether greater penalties should have been levied by the department on them, and I will satisfy myself about the reasons. If there are no good reasons, I can assure the Assembly that I will be taking action about that within the context of the department because I do not find it acceptable.