In January 2010, PIAC made a submission to the NSW Legislative Council Select Committee on the NSW Taxi Industry. This submission drew on PIAC’s long history of involvement in discrimination litigation and public policy development including PIAC’s recent work around the five-year review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Cth) as well as its current involvement in a disability discrimination complaint against the NSW Department of Transport and Infrastructure (the NSW Transport Department) about Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATs) in NSW.In this submission PIAC comments on two issues: (i) the adequacy of NSW government reporting on the industry’s compliance with the Public Transport Standards; and (ii) the WAT fleet’s compliance with the Public Transport Standards. PIAC argued that NSW Transport Department has permitted networks and co-operatives to operate in a way that is not compliant with the Public Transport Standards, resulting in a number of specially licensed taxis being inaccessible to many people with physical disability. Moreover, in PIAC’s dealings with the NSW Transport Department about this issue, PIAC has identified a number of significant problems with the way the Public Transport Standards are reported and monitored in NSW which it highlighted in the report. However, in this submission, PIAC not only raised concerns about the reporting and enforcement of compliance with the Public Transport Standards by the WAT sector of the NSW taxi industry but makes a number of recommendations about how these issues could be resolved to achieve systemic and practice reforms of the WAT industry in NSW.
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