Page 3767 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 28 October 2015
This government seems to have an obsession with all things interstate. They seem to have a bias against Canberra and against the Canberrans who have taken risks, built up businesses, created wealth and opportunities and created employment. We owe it to Canberrans to be fair. As I have said before, I am not against ride share businesses; I simply think there has to be appropriate recognition of the devaluation brought about by this government’s change.
In fact, I understand that a policy option for the recognition of the evaluation of perpetual plates was put to the government by the department. I would appreciate it if the Chief Minister in his speech would confirm this is the case and, if so, what was the proposal or what were the options put to the Chief Minister and put to cabinet by his directorate? What options were put forward for his considerations? What were the deliberations and why did they say no?
The government’s discussion paper very clearly says in questions to consider, “How can we have a model that allows innovation but also recognises historic regulatory costs borne by current participants?” This has been a question that has been on the table for many months, since the government first mooted this idea: “How can we have a model that allows innovation but also recognises historic regulatory costs borne by current participants?” That question has been left unanswered. That question has been ignored. That was a question for which 217 owners of perpetual plates had high hopes, and this government has let them down. This is a government that claims to be about social justice. This is a government that claims to be for Canberra. In this move it is doing the very opposite.
Mr Barr may have ambitions to be perceived by Canberrans as modern. He may have a desire to differentiate himself from Ms Gallagher or Mr Stanhope. However he should not be doing this at the expense of hundreds of small businesses. Unfortunately this is a trend that is becoming more and more apparent. The truth is, the best reforms are the ones that are well implemented and take the community with you. This is not so in this circumstance.
Mr Barr and the government must recognise the impact of their policy on taxi owners, operators and drivers. He may claim that he is helping taxis by reducing the annual fee. However this decision is probably the primary contributor towards devaluation of the plate value. Mr Barr and those opposite should not be stubborn; they should not just sit back as life savings are wiped out. We call on the government to do the right thing, to support Canberra family businesses and to develop a package of support that recognises historic investments.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (4.17): I thank Mr Coe for raising this matter today. At the outset I say that the government will not be supporting Mr Coe’s motion. I have circulated an amendment that indicates that the government will review how the introduction of ride sharing has influenced the price of perpetual taxi plates 24 months after the commencement of ride share operations in the ACT. I move: