Page 6106 - Week 14 - Thursday, 9 December 2010

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We have taken the issues of the incomes, the earning capacity, of some owner-drivers particularly and some drivers within the industry into account in coming to a final position, which I will be taking to my cabinet colleagues in the near future.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, given that taxi operators are currently making low profits or operating at a loss, what impacts would the increase in taxi plates have on existing operators?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Bresnan. It is a complicated and complex series of interactions that are at play in relation to providing an effective, efficient 24-hour taxi service, a taxi service that meets demand and meets the requirements of the community, no matter at what time of the day and where.

There is very strong evidence, not just anecdotal evidence—and I sure you will have seen it—as anybody flying into Canberra on a week day, before 9 o’clock, would be aware, of some of the issues in relation to a lack of service and a substandard service for people that rely on and expect a taxi service that meets their needs when they need it. Queues at times at the Canberra airport, I am told, stretch for 200 metres. Delays that are incurred at the Canberra airport on some mornings of the week are dramatic. And it is not a circumstance that we can allow to persist.

I acknowledge that a major issue and a major difficulty for the industry in the ACT is the peaks and the troughs, that there is significant demand at different times of the day and that there are periods during the day when demand tapers off to a very low level. But it cannot be said that the taxi industry is meeting the needs of this community 24 hours a day, because it quite plainly is not.

We have, through the work that we have done, sought to deal with those issues of peaks and troughs. We have sought and investigated a whole range of strategies that might be introduced or employed. One of those, obviously, is to ensure that, at the end of the day, we have enough taxis to service this community, whatever the circumstance or whatever the time of the day. The evidence at the moment is that that is not occurring.

There are, of course, issues around efficiency, the way the industry is structured, the nature of ownership, the way in which the major operators actually operate. (Time expired.)

MR HARGREAVES: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. My supplementary is to the Chief Minister. Is the government contemplating the issue of leased plates or perpetually owned plates, and does the government recognise that the leased plate

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