Mixed blessings in Govt response to taxi report

A NSW Government response to a report into the NSW taxi industry has supported some but not all of the recommendations regarding wheelchair accessible taxis.

The Government this week tabled its response to the Final Report of the Legislative  Council’s Select Committee Inquiry into the NSW taxi industry.

The Government response supported a recommendation that the taxi industry revise the way it measures space inside a wheelchair accessible taxi.

The revised measurement is based on a three dimensional cube. It will ensure wheelchair users have adequate space inside a wheelchair accessible taxi.

However, the revised measurement applies only to new and replacement wheelchair accessible taxis. Existing wheelchair accessible taxis do not have to be modified.

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

The Government response only partially supported this recommendation. It advised that an audit would be conducted, but existing wheelchair accessible taxis, which do not fully comply with the Commonwealth Disability Standards, can continue to operate until they reach their 10-year age limit.

In the Federal Court this week, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre represented wheelchair user Greg Killeen in his disability discrimination claim against two taxi networks and the NSW Department of Transport and Infrastructure.

Mr Killeen (pictured) claims many taxis licensed by the Department are unsafe, uncomfortable and in some cases unusable.

The taxi companies named in the complaint are Combined Communications Network and the Austaxi Group. 

PIAC solicitor, 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 reserved his decision.

Read the Select Committee report and the Government’s response 

Read PIAC’s submission to the Select Committee

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