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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6107 ..

system actually minimises the extent to which overheads are a burden on taxi operators?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. Mr Hargreaves goes to some of the complexities in relation to efficiencies and issues of scale in relation to the way in which the industry is structured. These are issues which the industry will need to respond to and deal with. The government cannot deal with some of those issues that are industry specific; Mr Hargreaves is quite right.

But there are issues in relation to the way in which the operators, the fees, the charges and the nature of the operation—the requirement essentially that all taxis operate through one of the currently two operating systems and the extent to which there is a range of fees and charges that might be ameliorated or indeed the capacity for individual taxi operators to operate as sole businesses or sole operators. This is the range of issues that have been considered.

We want it to be a viable industry. We want everybody participating in it, of course, to earn an appropriate return on their investment. We are conscious that these are small businesses; we are conscious that some of the owner-drivers particularly have invested their life savings in their particular business. The government acknowledges that there are issues that we can address through fee regimes, but there are also issues which the industry itself must address in relation to issues around scale, efficiency, operation and the capacity to ensure that everybody within the industry is earning appropriately.

But at the end of the day, the government, as the regulator, has responsibility to ensure that the needs of the community are being met all the time. At the moment, they are not. The industry is trying hard. I have worked hard with the companies and the operators, but there is nobody who has been involved in this particular inquiry or review who thinks for one minute that there are not problems that need to be resolved.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, in responding to the concerns about the capacity of the current taxi fleet to service the morning airport peak period, did the government consider any alternatives to releasing more plates, in particular measures to encourage ride sharing in high occupancy taxis or running a more frequent bus service?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, the government has given consideration to all of those issues. Members will see from the PricewaterhouseCoopers paper, which has been released, that all of these issues are canvassed within that paper. It was the PricewaterhouseCoopers paper that actually was the focus of the consultation on the review. Issues around demand responsive taxis, issues around a commissionaire, issues around other and perhaps better ways of moving large numbers of people from the airport during those peaks were all considered. They are all issues that I will be taking to cabinet in the near future around the recommendations that I propose to put. That is not something I have yet done. We have not finalised our position. I will

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