Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 1 May 2003 The Willis family returned to Alice Springs in 1986. From then on, their children grew up here, went to school, got employed, married locals and now the children have 10 children of their own, all bom in Alice Springs. Jan was buried on 26 April 2003, and I wish to convey my condolences to Bill Willis, William - whom I know very well - Rowena, Bronwyn, Megan - who worked for me - and Brenda. In the time left, I would like to make a few comments about the commercial passenger vehicle industry that is still being very, very troublesome for us. Before that, I would like to just correct something that I said earlier today about the federal governments funding for Virgin Blue Airlines. I was incorrect in saying that the federal government gave money to the Northern Territory government. In fact, the federal government gave some $7m to Virgin Blue to bring them into Darwin a lot earlier than they would have come to Darwin otherwise. It was not until very much later that the Northern Territory government kicked in the $2m to help Virgin Blue also. Coming to the commercial passenger vehicle situation; it is amazing. This saga has been going on for well nigh 18 months now, and it still has not come to any conclusion. We have less than two months left until the CVLs expire this financial year. None of the operators with PH licences, for instance, know what is going to happen after 30 June this year, and the minister cannot advise them. I understand the minister had a meeting with the private hire car operators in Alice Springs. I also understand he told them that the private hire car category would now be rewritten into the legislation; the executive taxis will be withdrawn from the legislation; and limousines will be retained. Mobile telephones, which were not in the legislation, will now be rewritten back into legislation. Ranking might even, on special occasions, be allowed in legislation. It seems to me that the minister is going to withdraw the bill that is currently sitting on the table. I do not know what he is going to do with the second reading and the legislation which is still applicable. He has not advised us in this sittings what he intends to do, and the next sittings are not going to be until the end o f May, which really leaves very little time for any one of us and the industry to consider what this new legislation is going to look like - if the minister is able to get Cabinet approval, if at all, to introduce that legislation. I understand also when the minister spoke to the industry reps in Alice Springs, he suggested that CVLs, or commercial vehicle licences, will cost something in the order of $3000 per year for private hire cars to operate once this legislation comes in, which will increase to $4500 in the second year, and $6000 in the third year, and subsequently, for those cars and licences which are currently operating now. If you want to go into the industry, you need to now buy a new licence, and to get a new licence now it will cost you, as of 1 July this year, $6000. That is a very, very substantial hike. Apparently, it costs them $1000 to operate a CVL for a private hire car in the Northern Territory. To expect an operator, who is, essentially, is a very small businessman - one person looks after his own bookings, drives the car, picks up passengers, and that is all the operation is. He makes enough to live on, a bit of profit, maintains his vehicle, pays for his fuel and other expenses, his mobile telephone. This is going to go from $1000 to $3000 in one hike. I suggest to the minister that it might be really enough to tip a lot of small businesses over, because it is a lot of money. Until we know what is going to happen with the legislation, we cannot discuss this any more except to say: Hey, we think this is going to happen. Minister, can you tell us what it is? When is it going to come about? What about all these private hire car vehicles now that are on the road? What is going to happen to them after 30 June? I know that operators have recently gone to the Motor Vehicle Registry to try and get their vehicles reregistered for the coming financial year and also to get their CVLs extended. MVR said: Sorry, we cannot do it past 30 June; we do not know what is going to happen. We cannot give you anything because we do not know what categories are going to be available. The insurance on their vehicles and their public liability insurance is coming to an end; they want to go and get more insurance. When they go and talk to their insurance brokers or insurance companies and they say: We can only give you insurance to 30 June. We cannot go past that because we do not know what is going to happen. We do not know what to insure you for. What they are saying is: Okay, we will give you insurance for May and June, two months. For the two months insurance they do not charge two months pro rata rate of a 12-month insurance policy. They have to charge for the two months plus the overhead of doing business. Come 1 July, they need to reinsure and, to be insured for say the next 10 months, they are not going to get any pro rata-isation of what they paid for May and June into the next 10 months from 1 July. So, suddenly it is now costing these people a lot more money to just stay in business for two months. It is because this minister, being so absolutely incompetent about it, came out shooting from the hip left, right and centre, and tossed legislation which we 3995