Page 1299 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2009
opportunities, stability and, most particularly, an environment in which employers to the greatest extent they can are encouraged to maintain their existing workers and workforce.
MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Chief Minister and is in regard to transport, in particular, taxis, from Canberra Airport. Can the Chief Minister advise the Assembly of the state of play regarding his discussions with the Canberra airport on this issue? Is the Chief Minister planning to meet face to face with the airport’s manager to pursue the matter further?
MR STANHOPE: I have had discussions with the airport, most particularly with Mr Stephen Byron. As I think members know and as I think I have indicated previously, I have exchanged correspondence quite directly on the subject of what the government, the taxi industry and the airport together can do in relation to perceptions and some of the reality around difficulties and unacceptable delays and queuing at the airport.
At this stage, I have to say there has not been a meeting of minds between the government, the taxi industry and, most particularly, the airport in relation to what role the airport might play. It is an issue I will continue to pursue with the airport. I am aware, as I think other members are, that in other places where the major airport provides a universal fee for taxis accessing an airport, the airport then invests some of those funds in the employment of commissionaires to assist with queuing and the identification of taxis that might take multiple bookings and relieve some of the stress.
It is a matter of some regret to the government that that has not been achieved with the airport to date. The airport adopts a view that the major issues are around the numbers of taxis and the state of the roads between the city and the airport. The government understands those issues but believes that in relation to taxi numbers, the taxi numbers are now consistent with averages in all other cities in Australia and that to suggest that the issue is about taxi numbers is now not relevant.
The government accepts and understands some of the frustrations and issues that the taxi industry in particular faces in relation to difficulties in accessing the airport as a result of congestion on the road. We understand that. That issue will shortly be resolved.
The third issue we believe is around the attitude of the taxi companies—there are now two companies involved, of course—and the difficulties that are inherent in different attitudes being displayed by the different taxi companies and the view that the airport has adopted.
The government position is that the airport should contribute to the employment of commissionaires. The taxi industry’s response is that it would only contribute if there were an additional charge. The government’s attitude is that it should not be a role or responsibility of the government to pay commissionaires at a highly profitable taxi point.