Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6105 ..
Sunday presented to our emergency departments. On days like that, there are going to be considerable waits. When they are allocated over a month and you have the level of business that we have had in the past month, the fact that our category timeliness continues to improve indicates that the measures we have been putting in place are working and are having an effect on timeliness overall. But we will not rest; we have got more to do. We have got some challenges ahead, but we are very focused on achieving the national benchmarks in the near future.
MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Transport and is in relation to taxi supply in the ACT. Minister, I understand that the government is considering releasing a number of new taxi plates for sale in the ACT. What consideration has been given to the effect that the new taxi plates will have on existing taxi drivers, many of whom currently earn below the minimum hourly wage?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. As Ms Bresnan is aware, and I am sure all members of the Assembly are aware, a quite long-term, detailed consultation and consideration has been given by the government to taxis—to the taxi industry. That review arose out of significant concern actually from all stakeholders, including most particularly the community, about the efficiency and effectiveness of taxis and the taxi service within the ACT.
The ACT government commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to actually undertake a detailed review and assessment with significant engagement with the community. There have been a range of views put. I have to say that the community is quite dramatically polarised when it comes to a correct number of taxis or taxi plates for the territory.
So, yes, there is a strong view among some taxi drivers and taxi owners that we have sufficient taxis. There is a similarly strong view, most particularly from members of the community and major stakeholders, most particularly the business sector and the Canberra International Airport, that at different times during the day there is a drastic shortage of taxis and that the taxi industry at times simply cannot cope with demand and does not meet the expectations of people who require a taxi.
It is a vexed question. It is a difficult question. We have through the review sought to deal with the issue of some of the peaks and troughs. We have taken the concerns on board, but on interstate comparisons, on the basis of a pro rata comparison of taxi numbers, the ACT is not oversupplied. Indeed, the suggestion is that we are probably undersupplied when compared to other cities of the same sort. But we also do need to take into account the nature of the industry here and the nature of demand and the fact that there are cycles. We are taking that into account.
The government is yet to finalise the position, Ms Bresnan. We have not yet decided that we will increase the number of plates. The decision has not been made but we have been engaged in a quite detailed investigation, which has involved very close consultation with all sectors of the community that are interested in taxis, supplying taxi use, including drivers.