MULTIPURPOSE OPERATORS — KALGOORLIE
1183. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the minister representing the
Minister for Transport:
The minister is aware of a situation
in Kalgoorlie–Boulder in which wheelchair users relying on taxi
services could be left stranded, with the city's last three
multipurpose operators threatening to walk out for good.
(1) Does the
minister concede that legislative changes ushered in by the state government on
1 July 2019 led to this unfortunate situation?
(2) Is the
minister investigating a spokesperson in her department who used bullying and
intimidating behaviour against one of the drivers of the multipurpose taxis in
(3) Will the
minister commit to a moratorium for a period of three months, and give the MPT
drivers a grace period from the penalties of the new legislation while the issue
(4) If no to (3), what is the
minister's plan to fix this problem?
STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question. The following answer has been provided by the
Minister for Transport.
(1)–(4) There has always been a requirement, pre and post–on-demand
transport reforms, for
wheelchair accessible vehicles to comply with certain Australian
standards and relevant sections of the Disability Standards for Accessible
Public Transport. Drivers have always been required to operate their vehicles
competently to ensure safe loading, restraint and unloading of passengers. The
new on-demand transport legislation has not changed this. Kalgoorlie operators
have been offered an introductory audit meeting to further assist them with
understanding their responsibilities as a booking service and the Department of
Transport has been working closely with operators and their drivers in
Kalgoorlie to ensure a continuation of the service to vulnerable passengers who rely on wheelchair transport services. Any
application of legislated penalties will
be considered only in the case of wilful and repeated ignorance of cautions.
DoT has assured operators that their compliance regime focuses on
education, engagement and investigation before any penalties.