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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3872..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

The department has dedicated significant resources over recent years to dealing with wheelchair accessible taxi issues. A high priority has been given to working with both the industry and community agencies to improve services to wheelchair-bound people, particularly through the work of the WAT reference group and the implementation of its recommendations. In August 2006 the government implemented a further recommendation involving lift fee payments being available to drivers for a wider range of wheelchair hirings, providing drivers record the hirings with the network. This should provide improvements for the micromanagement task and provide more realistic waiting time data. In essence, if they accept a mobile phone booking, they do not get the lift fee.

Further reference group recommendations relate to a strict approach to enforcing the requirements applied to WAT operators and drivers. The department will have no hesitation in adopting this approach should an evaluation of progress with implementing the reference group recommendations indicate that this is now warranted.

I would like to take the opportunity at this time to give a little further insight into one of the things I was talking about before—the finger-pointing between, for example, the drivers and the network. Of course, there is always finger-pointing between the opposition and the government, but that is the job we are in. I will give you some indication as to the willingness the department has brought to the process. My department actually speaks to Aerial at least twice a week, and maybe more, either on the phone or in writing—far more than any other constituency. My office has met on numerous occasions with Aerial, trying to work through some of the problems with them. For Mr Bramston to say we have not been particularly receptive is not so.

Mrs Dunne: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR HARGREAVES: I am indicating an extension of an answer to a question earlier on.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, you asked the question earlier on. He is adding additional information at the end of question time, which has become something of a tradition.

Mrs Dunne: I am sorry. I asked a question yesterday about wheelchair accessible taxis.

MR HARGREAVES: Yes, that is right. Now I am adding extra information to what I was asked later on. I am doing both in the one hit.

Mrs Dunne: What extra information are you giving now, Mr Hargreaves?

MR SPEAKER: We will have to wait and see—until he gives it to us.

MR HARGREAVES: This is in relation to why it is that drivers are being recalcitrant, supposedly, in relation to their relationship with the network. I am suggesting, in fact, that the reasoning behind that rests with the network. We have


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