I would like to thank our chair, Enver Erdogan, for his patience and my fellow committee members. I would also obviously like to thank the staff of the secretariat, who did an incredible job, and those who came along and spoke at the public hearings.
This report is a damning report for Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV). The failure of data collection and other matters is staggering. In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, when the government was supporting the industry to the tune of $22 million to keep taxis and particularly wheelchair-accessible vehicles on the road, while the government was proactively supporting the industry, the regulator opened up the multipurpose taxi program to another 80 000 vehicles. They thought this was a good idea. The report has shown the damaging effect on the financial viability of the wheelchair-access vehicles. Wheelchair-access vehicles provide an essential service to the community.
We discovered during the inquiry that Uber had actually trialled providing wheelchair-access vehicles and found it simply financially unviable. At the public hearing they declared they had no intention or plan to provide these vehicles in the future. They merely want to cherrypick the cream of the work. This is a company the CPVV wanted to open up our disability transport program to—a decision almost beyond belief. The CPVV came kicking and screaming to this inquiry. Their recalcitrant attitude to accountability at the parliamentary inquiry did not do them any favours. I was pleased to see the report remind the CPVV of not just their responsibility to be accountable to both the Parliament and the public but their responsibility to protect Victoria’s most vulnerable and provide them with accessible and safe transport. I will be having more to say, obviously, at a later stage.
See speech here