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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3873 ..

Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Amendment Bill 2001

Debate resumed from 9 August 2001, on motion by Mr Smyth:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HARGREAVES (10.22): The opposition will be supporting this bill and the amendments the minister will be bringing forward.

Mr Moore earlier this evening talked about something that Ms Tucker was doing. Amendments were flying backwards and forwards like frisbees. Mr Moore talked about very late amendments being problematic. He had a point, as usual. A minute ago, the Minister for Urban Services said, "This is what you get." With an outstretched finger, he lectured Mr Berry. He said, "When we put the amendment bill out early, that was good for consultation." For the record, we have known about the bill and have been looking into it for some time. I congratulate the minister and his office on that.

However, the amendments were received very early today. Had it not been for the cheat sheet provided by Assembly staff, I would not have known that any amendments were coming forward. I had to request them. I received them at 7.55 tonight. They were circulated around the chamber at about a quarter past nine.

Mr Humphries: 21/2 hours is heaps of time, tons of time.

MR HARGREAVES: Tons of time, says the Chief Minister. Come November, he is going to have tons of time to work out his election campaign for the Senate.

Mr Humphries: So you have said.

MR HARGREAVES: It is okay, Senator. You can relax. If we are going to preach about it, let us get our act straight. This bill introduces for the first time a process for taxi service accreditation. It establishes powers for the introduction and the implementation of the process for taxi services accreditation. It also introduces safety standards, which have been non-existent to date. That is going to be the singular most important thing about accreditation. We now have standards. If people want to play in the taxi industry, these are the standards they will have to achieve.

The regulations will set standards relating to pick-up times in peak periods, something long overdue. Accreditation will enhance the current level of driver, passenger and community safety and will bring the ACT into line with other states.

This bill clearly defines the role of the network and the driver and protects the interests of the customer. The regulations will ensure that taxis are fitted with safety cameras and equipment capable of producing video recordings. There has been confusion among drivers concerning cameras. This bill should clarify things for them. I welcome that.

This is not totally connected, but the government is pursuing this bill before the competition commissioner has brought forward his report on whether it is anti-competitive behaviour to insist that wheelchair accessible taxis go to a particular

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