Page 2397 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 17 June 2009

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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


Ministerial response

The Clerk: The following response to a petition has been lodged by a minister:

By Mr Stanhope, Minister for Transport, dated 16 June 2009, in response to a petition lodged by Ms Bresnan on 25 March 2009 concerning wheelchair accessible taxis and the taxi subsidy scheme.

The terms of the response will be recorded in Hansard.

Taxis—petition No 96

The response read as follows:

The ACT Government notes the Petition submitted by the petitioners, tabled by Ms Bresnan, MLA on 25 March 2009, and makes the following comments:

Wheelchair Accessible Taxis

• The ACT Government is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have the same access to services as others in the community and is assisting public transport operators and providers to achieve compliance wit the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Cth).

• To support the taxi industry to achieve this goal the Government has implemented a number of initiatives to help ensure that waiting times for Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATs) are the same as for standard taxis.

• The Government balloted 12 surrendered WAT licences in 2007, bringing the total number of WAT licences to 26. This is almost double the number of WATs operating in 2007.

• Currently there are 24 WATs operating. One operator is waiting for a replacement vehicle and renewal of his operator accreditation and one operator recently surrendered his WAT licence.

• In addition, in the previous two standard taxi ballots, the Government provided financial incentives for operators to use a vehicle that was capable of carrying wheelchair passengers. It is anticipated that an increase in the number of standard taxis which are wheelchair accessible will improve service levels for WAT users.

• Further, to assist WAT operators to secure the services of drivers at a time when there are traditionally even higher driver shortages than usual, the

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