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That may well be the case, and that may well be the wish of this Assembly; but we are not at that point yet. In fact, we are still quite some time away from that point. If it is the wish of the Assembly to change the committees around, then so be it, and Mr Moore's motion can again be put to the vote on the floor of the Assembly. But, for the moment, as I said, the Public Accounts Committee is not the appropriate committee to be looking at this matter; Mr Moore's committee is, and Mr Moore is the person who has raised this matter, who took the running on it and who did not come out of it too well. I know that Mr Moore has quoted the Labor Party as having been critical of his stance. As I recall it, my only criticism was to point out that the taxi industry was already subject to the Trade Practices Act and that I was not about to spend $48m on a useless exercise of buying back all the taxi plates. I commend my amendment to the Assembly because I think it is the more appropriate way for us to proceed if it is the view of the Assembly that this matter does warrant the kind of attention that Mr Moore, and only Mr Moore, suggests is needed.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Business, Employment and Tourism) (11.14): Mr Speaker, I have been very interested in the debate so far. It is ironic that there have been more flick passes in it than at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on a Saturday afternoon. It seems that everybody is using the terms “flick pass” and “passing it from one to the other”. Let us have a look at the situation. There is no doubt that we need to do something about the taxi industry in the ACT. We keep talking about it. Successive governments have said, “Yes, we need to look at it”, and all sorts of things; but no-one has been prepared to make a decision yet, which is a bit of a worry, I have to say.

It is true that there are 202 taxi plates and that the current going price is about $240,000 each, or a total of $48m worth. There is no reason to believe, though, that there is any inclination for there to be higher taxi fares in the ACT than in any other part of the country. Neither Mr Moore nor anybody else is suggesting that we are going to do things overnight. No-one has a chainsaw in each hand, ready to change things for the sake of changing. Obviously, any service that is out there will change. We need to look at the situation of making it better for the community that it is there to serve and what effect, if any, the change, if it occurs, will have on the investors in the industry. It seems to me very appropriate that, as we reach the year 2000 and we are talking about the positioning that Canberra will have in terms of the Sydney Olympics, one of those industries that become very important in that sort of situation is the taxi industry.

I have listened to the debate about which committee is the appropriate one for it to go to. To be very honest, I do not care which committee it goes to at this stage, as long as we do something about it. But it seems to me that I am also hearing whispers about negotiations for changing the terms of reference of another committee that this Assembly has approved - the Tourism and ACT Promotion Committee - to make it the Tourism and Economic Development Committee. I have to say that that makes a lot of sense. As a former member of the Planning Committee, I would be very concerned if this Assembly were to lump onto that committee right now this very important inquiry. At last count, that committee had met about 137 times on the very important issue of planning - - -

Mr Wood: It will meet more often now.

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