Minister Knoll needs to get his priorities right: SA-BEST
SA-BEST today slammed Transport Minister Stephan Knoll’s priorities after it was revealed he had “found” $130,000 for a controversial pedestrian crossing in his own electorate while cutting funding to a crucial taxi passenger safety program.
Mr Knoll has rejected numerous calls by the Taxi Council of SA to provide $140,000 in funding to allow an award-winning concierge service to continue to operate in the CBD and Glenelg until at least the end of June next year.
If funding cannot be found, the program will cease on New Year’s Eve - the busiest period of the year - and 15 experienced rank attendants will be made redundant.
However, the Minister announced last week the State Government had committed $130,000 towards a $200,000 pedestrian crossing in Nuriootpa, in the heart of his electorate of Schubert.
Minister Knoll also announced this week another road upgrade in his electorate - the third in three weeks in or near his electorate.
In the meantime, residents living on a dangerous stretch of Main Road at Coromandel Valley – an issue SA-BEST MLC Frank Pangallo spoke about in Parliament recently following a fatal car accident on the road – have been pleading for 17 years to have it upgraded. It’s so dangerous, Australia Post refuses to deliver mail to residents.
Frank said: “The Minister needs to get his priorities right instead of focussing on pork-barrelling in his own electorate.
“This crucial taxi concierge service at six managed taxi ranks in the city and one at Glenelg has helped more than two million people over the past eight years – yet faces imminent closure because the Minister is too miserly to find $140,000 to keep its doors open,” he said.
“Even on radio this morning with Leon Byner, the Minister seemed confused with the amount of funding his government axed from the program in the State Budget saying the government’s contribution was $80,000 when in fact it’s saving $190,000 by not continuing funding.
“He also claimed he had not heard from the Taxi Council – that is simply not true or is it a case of his department keeping important information from him.
“DPTI simply ignores the peak body for the taxi industry.
“Minister Knoll also refuses to publicly reveal just how much his department has collected from a $1 taxi fare levy introduced to help compensate the taxi industry from the disruption caused by the reckless introduction of ridesharing services by the previous Labor government - and supported by the Marshall Liberal Government.
“Based on the number of trips taxi drivers provide each year, millions of dollars have flowed into the DPTI coffers – some of which the Minister can easily divert to ensure this crucial community safety program continues.”
“It appears the Minister is far more focused on shoring up personal support in his own electorate than committing to programs that ensure the safety of taxi passengers.”