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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1511 ..

Restricted hire vehicles

(Question No 156)

Ms Dundas asked the Minister for Urban Services, upon notice:

In relation to restricted hire vehicles:

(1) Is there a licensing system administered by the ACT for the operation of restricted hire vehicles.

(2) What department is responsible for the policing of the regulations of restricted hire vehicles.

(3) Since 1998, how many (a) complaints and (b) charges have been registered and initiated against operators of restricted hire vehicles.

(4) What was the nature of the complaints in 3(a).

Mr Wood: The answer to Ms Dundas' question is as follows:

1. Restricted hire cars are administered under Division 9.4 of the Road Transport (General) Act 1999 and the Road Transport (Hire Vehicle Services) Regulations 2000. Restricted hire vehicles are subject to an annual fee of $142.00.

Arrangements were established many years ago to allow restricted and special occasions operators to undertake work when standard hire cars are fully booked. Under these arrangements restricted hire cars may apply for 10 licence variations and special occasions vehicles may only apply for three licences within any one year. Prior to any variations being granted the Road Transport Authority must be assured that a standard hire car would not be able to undertake the work.

2. Urban Services is responsible for policing the restricted hire vehicles legislation.

3. The Department has been unable to locate any record of written complaints lodged in the period 1998-1999. Since January 2000, there have been nine written complaints. Many investigations of alleged illegal operation have been resolved by telephone inquiries with the registered operator of the vehicle. Some investigations revealed that vehicles were not being operated as private hire cars and were being used for private functions. Two alleged illegal operators were sent warning letters and another operator was asked to show cause why an infringement notice should not be issued. A letter detailing the activities that are authorised under private hire car, restricted hire vehicle and special occasion licences was also sent to all operators in January 2000. As a general pro-active measure, in September 2001 a letter was sent to all high school and college principals asking them to advise students regarding the hiring of public vehicles for school formals. A public notice was also placed in the Canberra Times in September 2001 advising the general public about vehicles authorised to provide hire car services for school formals.

4. Most of the complaints related to alleged illegal hire car operators and one complaint was of a general nature on hire car issues.

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