A Bunbury taxi driver who was bashed by passengers in January has backed Mandurah MLA David Templeman’s call for the State Government to fund the roll out of surveillance cameras in taxis operating in regional cities.
The push for cameras was prompted by the death of Mandurah taxi driver Lindsay Ferguson, 67, last month.
Mr Ferguson died after his taxi swerved and crashed into a truck. Police have charged a passenger with aggravated assault, deprivation of liberty and other charges of threatening the driver.
Bunbury taxi driver Ricky Johnson, who was bashed and robbed by passengers earlier this year, said cameras would be a deterrent to bad passenger behaviour.
“If Perth drivers have them, there is no reason we shouldn’t have them as well,” he said.
“We are facing the same issues and the job carries the same risks.”
Mr Templeman made an impassioned plea for the State Government to help fund the cameras in Parliament last week, with Mr Ferguson’s family and Mandurah taxi drivers in the public gallery.
Mr Templeman said while cameras may not have saved Mr Ferguson’s life, they were an important safety measure and a tool to help police.
He called on Transport Minister Troy Buswell to find the cash for cameras in taxis operating in regional cities, including Bunbury, Busselton, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton and Broome, and suggested drawing money from Royalties for Regions.
Mr Buswell said the cost — about $4000 a vehicle — was the only reason cameras had not been installed.
He said owners of new taxis in Perth were required to pay to install the cameras, while existing taxis had received a Government subsidy to help with the cost.
Mr Buswell said cameras were not a requirement for regional taxis but he would be open to finding the necessary funding.
“If that can stop one other person going through what Mr Ferguson would have been through and what his family is now going through, then it is probably a very, very good investment of public funds,” he said.