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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2105 ..

MR DE DOMENICO: No, I do not; but, if Ms Tucker does not want to, I will try to get hold of the ABS statistics. It is the Australian Bureau of Statistics that brings out those figures; they are not my figures. I will try to get Ms Tucker as much information as I can.

Taxi Licence Auction

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr De Domenico and is about taxi licences. I refer him to his claim that the low prices received for the 15 new taxi licences at yesterday's auction were good news for small business. Could the Minister explain, for the benefit of the small businesses that own the 200 taxi licences previously issued in the ACT, how their small business will benefit from having $80,000 wiped off the value of the major asset of their business? That is a drop from $242,000 to $162,000, on average, in the market price for their taxi plates.

MR DE DOMENICO: I am happy to answer that question, Mr Speaker. I have to say that, once again, this Government has done and will do more for small businesses - with accolades from small businesses, by the way - than this rotten lot did in four years. They are shivers looking for a spine to crawl up - all of them, for heaven's sake. They sat on their hands for four years and did nothing. Mr Wood, for your edification, the payroll tax threshold will go to $600,000, and $800,000 in 1997 - putting $13.5m into the business community. The result of that, Mr Wood, is that 6,700 new jobs have been created since March this year.

This brings the market to where we believe that it should be. It gives the consumer greater access to a transport service. It will stabilise taxi prices, in our view, and it brings Canberra into reality. Countless people in the community who complain that they can never get a taxi will be better serviced. I suggest that Mr Wood speak to Mr John Muir of Aerial Taxis, who last night said, "We have been waiting since March for these 15 licences and it is about time they came on the market". That is what small business is saying in the ACT, and this Government will continue to reap the benefits of looking after business, which this measly lot forgot to do for five years.

MR WOOD: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I understand from that that Mr De Domenico is supporting Mr Humphries's view, expressed earlier today, that the drop is a good thing, and we might see some reduced fares as a result. Does that mean also that you are going to change some of those processes that bring about the decisions on fares?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Wood for his question. It is a second question, by the way, Mr Speaker. It is a supplementary question, but different from the first one. However, I am quite happy to answer it. I am aware that Mr Wood is sitting on a committee with Mr Kaine and Mr Osborne that may well be looking into that very issue. I look forward to Mr Wood's deliberations as well.

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