Page 3995 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015
The scrutiny of bills committee also raised an issue about section 36I of the bill. It provides the court with the power to make a range of orders against a corporation that is a transport booking service if the corporation has been found guilty of certain offences. It can, for example, publicise an offence or require a project for public benefit. The government has included this section to provide the required flexibility and powers to deal with a new competitive environment with a range of new participants. To explain the power a little further, these kinds of markets can involve big and well-resourced companies and it is important that there are appropriate powers to ensure these companies adhere to the regulations we have established.
It is important to emphasise that these powers are not conferred on an administrator but only on a court after it has made a finding of guilt against a corporation. These provisions are closely based on existing provisions in the Crimes Act. In the interests of protecting public safety and the public interest, it is important that powers of this kind be available to a court. Nonetheless, in future the ACT Parliamentary Counsel’s Office will consider the drafting of such clauses in light of the committee’s questions and propose to the government any alternative drafting that might be beneficial. However, the current drafting is based on a clear precedent and the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office advice and will remain in this bill.
The government will be carefully assessing the impact of the reforms. We will be establishing a steering committee and stakeholder engagement process involving government players and players from the industry and the community sector. We will look at implementation issues, including what training should be mandatory. We will also monitor the value of perpetual plates ahead of a formal review in two years time. We will monitor quality of service, including supply and wait times, safety outcomes, wheelchair accessible taxi service quality, impacts on pricing, the viability of drivers and operators and the pricing behaviour of taxi perpetual plates, among other factors. This is the prudent thing to do when so many consumers and other stakeholders depend on this vitally important industry.
The government has been proactive in establishing an environment in which consumers will have more options for travel, including new suppliers to choose from, new ways to book that travel and new ways to pay for it. All the while the amendments in this bill we are debating work to uphold the safety and protections that Canberrans want and expect.
Lastly, I note the excellent work done by officials leading up to the passing of this legislation. They have taken a complicated area of policy and worked through all of the issues in a thoughtful and intelligent way. They have also worked very hard to do that in the time lines that have prevailed upon them. The outcome is that the ACT is leading in this area of policy and regulation. In fact, in many ways we are the envy of other jurisdictions, and the efforts of government officials have been a key part to this. I thank them for their efforts. I will be supporting the bill today.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (11.43), in reply: Last month I tabled the Road Transport (Public Passenger