Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 July 2008) . . Page.. 2702 ..
correct amount of taxis per 100,000 people in the ACT. We have increased standards and introduced and applied penalties for poor performance. We have facilitated the introduction of a new network with competition into the marketplace. The second network has been in place for 12 months, and we are now going to apply those standards and penalties to the second network. I understand that the introduction of the second network has actually increased the standard of service delivery across town. Indeed, I had experience of it very recently when I came home from a somewhat enforced hospital visit.
I mentioned the taxi forum that we had. That was an attempt to get the industry to understand that it has a responsibility to its clients. There are two types of clients: business and recreational travellers and the domestic travel market around the ACT. The business and tourist industry groups came together at this forum with elements of the hire car and taxi industry, and they told the industry what they thought of them. They did not like it, but that is bad luck.
People in the ACT and members in this place need to understand that this is a private sector business arrangement; it is not something that we have a responsibility for, but we have done enormous things to encourage the taxi industry to flourish. We have increased by 40 per cent the number of taxis out there. We have facilitated meetings between the industry and the airport and the networks and the airport to try to get sense to prevail out there. We have introduced demand-responsive transport, new standards and new penalties for non-performance. They are slowly coming to compliance.
There have been significant and giant changes in this industry in the last four years, and that is because this government has accepted its part of the responsibility to attempt to find a solution. Now I am calling on the industry to do its bit. I am also calling on the opposition in this place to put the people of Canberra before their own opportunistic carping and come with us and encourage the taxi industry to take responsibility for itself. Those blokes opposite would say, “Well, we’ll introduce all these other bits of legislation.”
Opposition members interjecting—
MR HARGREAVES: Here we go! Some table tennis balls, please—pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. Minister, I refer you to a ministerial briefing from the Chief Executive of ACT Health to the then health minister in September 2004 about his serious concerns regarding child protection. I quote:
We are concerned that service improvements are not progressing and in fact the situation is possibly worse at the moment.
That brief goes on to highlight three examples of instances where senior health staff were unable to get the centralised intake service to address their concerns with serious