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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3102

Mr Morris asked the Minister representing the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 5 October 1977:

(1)   What are the guidelines for the provision of private hire cars and taxis in lieu of Commonwealth cars at (a) Canberra and (b) each of the capital cities.

(2)   Why are Commonwealth car drivers subject to security checks and regular health checks when these checks are not required for hire car drivers anad taxi drivers.

Mr Street - The Minister for Administrative Services has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(   1 ) The Commonwealth car fleet is used to the maximum extent practicable, working reasonable overtime. It would be clearly uneconomic to maintain sufficient Commonwealth cars to satisfy every request because of the peaks and troughs in demand. All work beyond the capacity of the Commonwealth fleet is allocated as follows:

(a)   Canberra- To hire cars and taxis.

(b)   Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth- To taxis unless the booking is for a special car service in which case a hire car is chosen.

Sydney- To hire cars. If, as occasionally happens, there are insufficient hire cars to accept all surplus work, taxis are used. No special car service requests are allocated to taxis except in an emergency.

(c)   Outside normal working hours, weekends or holidays, a hire car or taxi may be used where it is clearly uneconomic to bring a Commonwealth driver on duty for a short period at penalty rates.

(2)   In addition to driving Ministers, senators, members and officials, Commonwealth car drivers, in the course of their duties, are at times required to convey classified matter and to enter restricted areas such as munitions factories, Defence science and Service establishments. Hire-car and taxi drivers are not utilised to the same extent.

Commonwealth drivers have been subject to regular health checks since 1957 based on a code of medical fitness for drivers adopted by the Australian Transport Advisory Council and endorsed by the Department of Health.. Physical standards for hire car and taxi drivers are determined by the appropriate State and Territorial authorities controlling such operations.

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