HANSARD TRANSCRIPT – Question
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:39): My question today is for Minister Symes representing Premier Andrews. As restrictions are now starting to be eased and we look forward to getting back to our new normal—and for many people back to work—I would like to call on Premier Andrews and his government to continue to lead from the front as they have done so through this pandemic. Local businesses need our support, and we must buy local. This must also apply to Australian owned and operated taxi, hire car and rideshare services, who transport our most vulnerable citizens: the elderly and people with disabilities, many of whom are unable to work from home and choose to avoid public transport. So I ask Premier Andrews: will he ensure that all Victorian government departments support small business and use only Australian registered rideshare and taxi services?
Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Resources) (12:40): It is a clean sweep from the crossbench today, and I welcome the question from Mr Barton in relation to the use of government services. I would say that since the deregulation of commercial passenger vehicles we have over 100 000 drivers that are earning an income from being a passenger driver at this point in time. I am not personally aware of the licensing ownership in relation to rideshare or indeed which taxi companies might have interests from foreign countries and the like. I will refer your question for an answer which potentially could come from the Minister for Public Transport or the Assistant Treasurer, who does procurement, but I will make my best endeavours to get you some further information in relation to your question.