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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