Court hears taxi discrimination case

A disability discrimination case against two taxi networks and the NSW Department of Transport and Infrastructure came before Justice Edmonds in the Federal Court today.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre is acting on behalf of Mr Greg Killeen (pictured), who claims many taxis licensed by the NSW Department of Transport and Infrastructure are unsafe, uncomfortable and in some cases unusable.

The taxi companies named in the complaint are Combined Communications Network and the Austaxi Group. They control a large number of wheelchair accessible taxis in NSW.

PIAC solicitor, Ms Gemma Namey, said Mr Killeen is asking the Federal Court to stop the department issuing licences to taxis that fail to meet the disability standards.

‘PIAC is also asking the Federal Court to order the taxi companies named in this complaint to modify existing wheelchair accessible taxis that don’t meet the Standards,’ Ms Namey said.

Justice Edmonds held the matter over to Wednesday 4 August 2010.

The discrimination complaint comes as people with disability await a NSW Government response to the recently released Legislative Council Select Committee report on the taxi industry.

The Select Committee report recommended an audit of all wheelchair accessible taxis to identify vehicles that are non-compliant with the Disability Standards.

The Committee also recommended that operators be given financial incentives to modify their vehicles. If these vehicles remain non-compliant after three years, the Committee recommended their licences be revoked.

Details of PIAC’s submission to the Select Committee are available here.

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