Announcement: Retirement of the No Permit No Park Campaign

Full Statement
For around 6 years now I have tirelessly campaigned for better community awareness, legislation, policy and management of disability accessible parking. Throughout the term of this campaign I have been grateful for many things. None more than what the reality is for people with disabilities in their fight for the right to access and inclusion in their community. I have learned so much about the importance of good policy being more than just words. Good policy must have action.

The policy on disability issues while development is driven by the disability community, it is reliant on our governments to implement. While there has been improvement over the past 6 years, it has been slow and lacking in action. As change only happens when need is demonstrated, that’s what I set out to do when I began this campaign. Demonstrate the need for change.

The climate of disability issues has evolved over the past few years since the introduction of access laws intended to uphold our rights. The disability community is fed up with being told we are the burden on society. The attitude that we are the burden is because we are treated like an inconvenience. The better access and inclusion is in a community, the less “inconvenience” people with disabilities are to the rest of society. When we aren’t forced to request your assistance continuously, we blend in and continue about our business just like everyone else.

Society can be slow on the understanding of these issues. Our governments may have the best of intentions when they give us our annual slogans for Disability Action Week but again we see lots of words and very little action. The action is left to the disability community who year after year keep saying the same thing. We just want access and inclusion.

Recent events have had me looking back at what led me to start this campaign and what my intention was. Lately day after day I am sent stories from people in the community who hold permits or assist people who hold permits, being abused by people without reason. It has simply stemmed from that person’s own judgement. One of the main educational points of this campaign was that you can’t judge a person’s situation or disability by looking at them. The motto was always check the permit not the person.

When I first shared photos of parking offenders, it was people whom I had initially approached and tried to have a conversation with to attempt to educate them. It was only when it was met with hostility, abuse or just flagrant lack of consideration for the inconvenience they were causing people with disabilities, that the photos were published. It wasn’t intended to be a policing activity on parking spaces. I’m disappointed that I myself allowed it to become that. It should always have been about opening the conversation for education and awareness.
I am aware I created this paradigm. I allowed it to get out of control. So it is up to me to take the action necessary to control it again.

Yesterday an innocent man was subjected to spurious attacks from strangers after a photo was posted accusing him of parking in a disability space without a permit. Despite evidence of his permit being provided, the accusations continued with further photos. It was at this point I realised the photos were not enough evidence to prove any wrong doing by this man. I had begun the campaign with a rule of three photos. The registration of the car, showing the car in the disability marked space and the dash. The reason for the dash was because at a distance from the front of the vehicle you cannot always see the permit.

This is why the photos being shared yesterday were inadequate evidence to back up the accusations made. The person in question does have a permit. Like many of us do, he had his permit on the dash. The casing and suction cups provided with the permits are not adequate to withstand the heat in a closed vehicle and often fall off. For many people the permit is more secure when placed flat on the dash in visibility of the window, where it can still be seen when standing directly in front or beside the vehicle. It may not be visible from 5 metres away as it was not in this case.

I’m deeply regretful that my advocacy may have resulted in any distress caused to Father Bill Kelly. He has been devoted to helping the community for many years and has been held in high respect by all. To see his reputation attacked the way it was yesterday was distressing. Even in my attempts to defend him the accusations continued. If that wasn’t enough distress, accusations were then pointed to me for “starting” this behaviour in the first place. That was never my intention, but it turned out that way. For that I apologise to Father Kelly and to the rest of the community.

Under any normal circumstances I don’t believe anyone would have looked twice at Father Kelly’s car while he did his shopping. It was only that he had a sign attached to his vehicle supporting his local state MP in the current election here in Queensland that it caught the attention of the LNP Qld.

The fact that this significant disability access issue was used purely as campaign propaganda has proven to me that I have failed in my objective to both educate and gain support from all political parties to work with us in improving policy on this matter.

I can no longer trust that any party forming a government would be effective to work with me on this and other disability issues giving it the respect it deserves.

It is for this reason, that today, with great disappointment, I am announcing my retirement from campaigning for the No Permit No Park cause.

As of today, photos will no longer be posted by the community on the website or it’s social media accounts.
The Facebook Page, Twitter account and website will continue to exist only as an information service. With my declining health, it’s probably all I can manage currently anyway.

I want to thank everyone for their support, especially those involved in the development of the campaign, getting it off the ground and those who helped to fund the costs. In particular;
Linda Wemyss my long time partner in crime and fellow admin assistant,
The late Amy Deguara, fellow admin and activist whom I miss dearly,
Bob Hartley who inspired me, motivated me and I’m sure he still regrets it to this day,
Constable Christie May of Queensland Police,
Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating of Queensland Police,
Spencer Howson who never sensationalised disability issues while I was on the air,
Most of all my family who have endured having to listen to me go on and on and on about disability parking and listen to me recall statistics and the discoveries when analysing data, thinking it would stop when I was not longer able to drive but it didn’t. I just added footpaths and public transport to my list of gripes about disabled life.

My final message to the community is don’t think for a minute no one is watching. Fines and penalties continue to increase as the demand for disability parking grows. Before you think it’s okay to park in a disability space just for a minute ask yourself, if you were disabled, and someone took away your only opportunity to do the one thing you wanted to do today…. How would you feel?

Thank you again for the support. Don’t give up hope. Change will come someday.
Friday x

Back to Mythbusting

This year, while I am working mostly with my local community to develop ways to build better, inclusive communities, I plan to dedicate my time to helping bust some of the myths I have seen in my time since starting the No Permit No Park Campaign here in Australia. Some of the myths are old ones that have been perpetuated over and over but some have surfaced more recently due to a lack of information or clarification of information. The fault doesn’t entirely lay with the people sharing it. Disability Anti Discrimination law in Australia is deeply fragmented and mostly useless. It exists but breaking it is of little consequence (unless you’re disabled with a law degree and lots of time on your hands to push the issue through the process).

We’ve done some mythbusting before and much of it was due to common misinformation or questions asked by the public. If you have a question please feel free to ask. Best method is probably to contact me directly by email via fridayology@gmail.com so that I get it directly and can respond publicly. You will of course remain anonymous if you ask a question. I want to share the responses publicly because chances are if you’re asking, someone else is also wondering, so we can share it with more people and educate the community.

One of the things that I intend to address is the responsibility of disability parking inclusion and enforcement as it is one of the most difficult areas to understand due to the fact that it is covered by three levels of government and five areas of legislation.

I’ve spent the last three years studying the Access to Premises Standards and Disability Discrimination Act in Australia to better understand how they work and how they should be applied. We are all aware how much time we can waste complaining to people who have no jurisdiction or power to act on the issue. We need to refine that in Australia so that it is easier to raise discrimination issues and have them addressed…. with an actual consequence. The first step to refining the process is to understand how it works. After three years of study, and I don’t claim to be a genius but I’m not incapable of learning these things, I am still struggling to grasp how the process was intended to be successful when applied. There are so many ifs, buts, maybes and exemptions written into the legislation it makes it impossible to hold anyone accountable for discrimination against people with disabilities.

One thing I can tell you is that rest assured here in Queensland at least, I have badgered all levels of government and all objective departments into taking this more seriously than they have in the past and as a result we’ve seen some positive changes and progress. Still in almost four years, we’re still fighting the same battles. I’m still putting out spot fires while the wildfire rages away from me. This has a great deal to do with the continual changes in all levels of government. No sooner do I get through to one group, there’s an election and I have a whole new group of attitudes to change.

So stay tuned in 2017. I hope that I will be able to give you the tools and the encouragement you need to be a powerful advocate in your community. If nothing else I have learned that when a community identifies you as one of theirs, they respect your views much more than someone they may never meet.

Image: cartoon graphics of people shapes with conversation bubbles above them.

No more putting up with it.

We are done.
Done with being a silent many. Every voice rings out and carries. No we won’t just go back. Home without you hearing. The sound when the many say, we are done. – The Madden Brothers

Keep fighting the good fight.

Friday.

AS/NZS 3695.3:2016 – What is it and what does it mean for you?

I was alerted to an article published in various media sources that gave many mobility device users cause for concern and as promised, I have investigated.

I discovered there’s much ado about nothing.

The article (click here to read article) wrongly stated that changes were being made that would prohibit the use of certain devices on road related areas, public transport and other public space if they didn’t comply to the changes. It’s not surprising though that this misconception has occurred. They never write these documents in simple language and this one in particular has a significant number of past references to other documents so unless it’s read in context with those documents it’s jibberish.

So let me lay it out for you.

Australian Standards 3695 was already currently two parts. Parts one and two covered the design and testing requirements for mobility devices such as wheelchairs, powerchairs, power assist add ons and mobility scooters, to ensure they adhere to the safety standards required for sale in Australia. This third part is an additional part of the existing safety standard for a compliance labelling system called the Blue Label system.

What is the Blue Label System?

This will outline the requirements for devices that meet the compliance to safety standards for safe use of devices on public transport systems. There are already regulations and guidelines for safe use of mobility devices on public transport in each state of Australia. These requirements cover things such as width, length, weight and maneuverability of a device so that you can access public transport safely. The Blue Label System will make it easier to identify which devices are compliant to these safety standards.

See, what is happening now is that we are being sold devices that don’t comply to these existing regulations but many people are unaware until they try to use them and discover they don’t fit. It poses a serious risk of safety, particularly on the matter of weight, when the ramps that have be designed for loading us onto trains and such have a maximum load limit, and our devices exceed that limit.

So while the Blue Label System may make it easier for operators of public transport to identify that our device is not safety compliant and refuse us entry, this isn’t something new and it’s not a breach of the DDA because it is for our own safety. It is our responsibility to ensure that if we are going to need to use our devices on public transport that we acquire one that meets the safety requirements as this is what is also required to meet our needs.

The reference in the Standards draft document to road related areas is also an existing regulation under the Australian Road Rules that will be identified on a Blue Label or if a device is not Blue Label compliant, on a yellow label. It’s speed and slope stability. We are restricted to 10kph in public areas including footpaths and roads. Under the compliance requirements for the Blue Label your device will need to be either restricted to a maximum speed of 10kph OR, have an override switch that can restrict to 10kph and have a speedometer for use on road related areas. It also outlines the safety requirements for stability on slopes to a maximum of 7.1 degree pitch (although I do wonder about this one considering there are so many footpaths and access ramps that do not meet the safety standards for us to use them).

What does this mean for you?

Better safety. Better knowledge when purchasing a device.

Little Eleanor

Little Eleanor

Big Eleanor

Big Eleanor

I have two mobility scooters, known as Big Eleanor and Little Eleanor. I have two because they both serve very different purposes. Little Eleanor was my introduction to motorised mobility devices when I lost my capacity to drive independently. She’s small with a maximum speed of 8kph and easy to use in small spaces, such as buses and trains. I use her when I’m travelling long distances by public transport with short distances between destinations because her distance capacity is only small between battery charges. Big Eleanor is in excess of the size requirements for public transport. We tried. It doesn’t work. While I can get her onto the train she takes up the entry way and the wheel base width is in excess of the loading ramp width. She’s all terrain though and I can take her on all kinds of surfaces like the park with the kids, some beach surfaces and she handles the really crappy footpaths that are in dire need of repair but there never seems to be any budget for. She also travels long distances on one battery charge. She can’t go into supermarkets and she has a maximum speed over 10kph but also has an override switch to restrict her to less than 10kph. They both serve two different purposes but Big Eleanor will not be Blue Label compliant for public transport. She will get a yellow label outlining what her specs are.

I want to stress that there is nothing in the standards that prohibit you using a device that is not Blue Label compliant device in public areas provided it meets the regulations of the Australian Road Rules on the yellow label.

What concerns still need to be raised?

Well besides the fact that no matter how many organisations and websites related to disabilities in Australia that I am subscribed to I didn’t come across this document until AFTER public consultation had closed, I still have some concerns.

There is nothing yet to outline what if any, deadline there is for existing devices to gain a Blue Label OR how this will happen.
Who will re responsible for the expense if any of obtaining a Blue Label to continue using compliant devices on public transport.
Will there be any compensation for people who have unknowingly been sold devices that do not comply to the standards and cannot be used in any public area (lord knows there shouldn’t be any like this in Australia that are not for specialised use ie: beach chairs).

Unfortunately it’s not a simple task buying a wheelchair these days. It’s become as perplexing and expensive as buying a car. I hope this compliance system will make it somewhat easier for people to know what they’re getting into when they buy a new device.

To view the draft document of the addition to the standards click here

 

Selling the Back of My Wheelchair as Advertising Space

I’ve just discovered a new practice in advertising that needs to stop. NOW.

It seems innocent enough and someone probably thought they were really clever, low cost, relocatable, easy. What they haven’t realised is they are setting themselves up for the chain of causation should there be an accident. Here’s why….

There’s a standard in the building code in designing car parks. There are rules and legislation that must be followed and councils are responsible for checking everything has been adhered to and the building and surrounds are compliant before signing off on the Development Application Approval. If anything changes after that Development Application has been approved, council should be notified or else it deems the decision invalid. This is why even certain building and land renovations require a development application.

If the building is non compliant to building standards, access standards, safety standards or any other relevant standard, and council approve it, they could be liable for any future damage or injury caused. If this changes after the case of approval, the building/land owner could be liable, or the person who caused the change without permission of the previous mentioned.

It might seem so insignificant and trivial but there’s something that businesses have started doing that is not only an inconvenience, but also a risk to the public.

Covering of the bollards in the Disability Parking Zone (DPZ) with advertising material.

A Disability Parking Zone with 2 parking bays and a shared space between them. The bollard at the end of the shared space has been covered with a corflute triangular stand making the bollard less visible. There is also an advertising A Frame placed next to it making the shared space less accessible.

A Disability Parking Zone with 2 parking bays and a shared space between them. The bollard at the end of the shared space has been covered with a corflute triangular stand making the bollard less visible. There is also an advertising A Frame placed next to it making the shared space less accessible.

Bollards are placed in the middle space for a reason. To prevent vehicles from parking there. This space in the middle allows occupants of the vehicles parked in the DPZ to access the vehicle easily and safely and if desired, independently. Particularly for users of mobility devices such as wheelchairs or walkers.

The bollards are in a recommended position, recommended height and recommended colour. There’s also logic in that too. So that they are easily visible to drivers and they do hit them.

So hypothetically speaking, should a driver in a car park reverse into one of these covered bollards they have a case to claim against the chain of causation for damages if they can show that they were unable to see the bollard due to it blending into the surroundings or just not being clearly visible.

What gets me most is why, why on earth do people think using the accessible area is appropriate for their advertising? Is it because it’s cheap and convenient to them and they really don’t see us as customers so it doesn’t matter if they inconvenience us?

Seriously if you want some real mileage for your money on advertising, why not rent the space on the back of my wheelchair or mobility scooter? I got everywhere on my scooter, and being a young and sometimes trendy 40 year old I get some attention on that thing when I’m out. No, you wouldn’t would you? If you won’t rent the space on the back of my wheelchair, why use the accessible areas intended for me to be included in my community? As your customer? Stop being lazy. And inconsiderate. Your methods reek of ableism.

Image of the back of a wheelchair with a man sitting in it. There is a sign on the back saying "Advertise Here Call 1800 Stop Ableism"

Image of the back of a wheelchair with a man sitting in it. There is a sign on the back saying “Advertise Here Call 1800 Stop Ableism”

Who is really committed to building #InclusiveCommunities?

I’ve had an ongoing battle with my local council – Moreton Bay Regional Council – over their lack of understanding and commitment to access and inclusion for people with disabilities, mobility impairments and other users of wheeled devices such as parents with small children. After three years of battling the same arguments and being met with the same token generalised responses I decided to see where and how I could hold them to whatever commitments were put in writing. And there were none. My council doesn’t have an Access and Inclusion Plan. I emailed customer service asking where it is in case I couldn’t find it on the website and they replied they don’t have one, but they have a community plan which may have what I am looking for.

No. No, I am looking for an access and inclusion plan. I did look at the Community Plan. It’s very generalised and lacks promise or hope for people with disabilities even though we have a population of people with profound disability higher than that of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan, Townsville and Cairns Councils. Even looking for keywords showed very little thought for this significant part of the community.
The word Disability was mentioned once. In the entire 52 page document it was mentioned only once.
Accessible – 2
Ageing – 6
Inclusion – 0
Inclusive – 5
Cultural – 25
Corporate – 12
Asset – 11
Environment – 44
Business – 48

Hey, Moreton Bay Council, the 80’s called and they want their ideas back.

Qld councils population over 100k Access and Inclusion plans

*Population statistics are all taken from the same time frame for accuracy and may be slightly outdated to current statistics. Click link below to download the whole report in PDF

Qld Councils with Access and Inclusion Plans

 

With almost 5 % of the population in this council area having a profound disability plus another 17% having some form of disability NOT TO MENTION THE CARERS OF THESE PEOPLE, you’d think they’d get the idea it needs to be on the list of priorities up there with securing Ikea and Costco. I mean even North Lakes has it’s own special plan. The current most up to date statistics show there are 15021 people in North Lakes. There are 20593 people in all of Moreton Bay with a profound disability. North Lakes has a plan and we don’t.

Access and Inclusion isn’t just about disability. It includes the ageing population and carers of children. It means that our community is accessible to everyone in it. This is why we have the Disability Discrimination Act. Speaking of which, Human Rights Australia specifically recommends all governments, organisations and businesses that offer services to a community have an Access and Inclusion Plan. They can even register them on the Human Rights Australia Website.

Just thirteen out of 78 Councils in Queensland have developed an Access and Inclusion Plan of some kind with specific reference to disabilities. Only 11 of them are registered with HRA (some of these were pre – amalgamation). 14%

But this isn’t isolated. It seems when it comes to accessibility and inclusion Victoria is the place to be with 79 out of 79 councils having an Access and Inclusion Plan registered with HRA. 100%! Well done Victoria.

NSW has 58 councils out of 152 with a registered plan or 38%

South Australia has 28 out of 74 council areas on the same page of accessible and inclusive communities or 37%

But us in the land of the eternal summer, we’re way behind with just 14% of our Local Governments wanting to include us and make our communities liveable for us.

Note that it is understandable some Queensland Councils with populations so small and almost none of those living with a disability may not have it as their priority. But when there are councils with populations over 100,000 people, it’s just not good enough. We shouldn’t have to ask to be included.

Of course I’m not expecting much change any time soon since my own local councillor has no issue, just like her predecessor, about parking in disability accessible parking without a permit. I’ve tried walking the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. It was inaccessible. The channels they expect us to go through to voice our concerns have no accountability. We need more than one voice.

I’m running out of energy and running out of time to get these things happening but I am not giving up.
If you’re in an area that is like mine and you want to do more than just be a lone annoying squeaky wheel, do like I plan to do and get a machine full of squeaky wheels together.

That’s right MBRC, you haven’t seen the last of me yet.

As long as these things still exist in my community, you’re going to keep hearing from me.

paisley path2

Photo of a footpath that descends to a steep hill with the International Symbol of Access painted on the ground with the NO symbol painted over it indicating the path is not accessible.

Why I’m Quitting Naming and Shaming at No Permit No Park

Don’t get too excited! No one is getting rid of me forever. I’m just moving on to bigger and better things. I’m doing it now because it’s time. I’ve worked tirelessly on this campaign for three years and in that three years I’ve learned so much. Most importantly here we are on the 3rd Anniversary of launching the campaign and I’ve seen the results of our work. Campaigners, you should be proud! We’ve achieved so much. I feel as though I have taken the No Permit No Park Campaign as far as I can at this level.

So what happens now? Don’t worry I’m not about to lay down and die just yet. I still plan to be a thorn in the side of bureaucracy but it will be on a broader scale. My condition has deteriorated further and my mobility has been affected to a level that I am having more difficulty with day to day activities including driving. So I am driving less but using mobility devices more. I recently purchased and registered my first mobility scooter and while it’s changed my life for the better to a degree, I am noticing more and more about the obstacles in our community when it comes to access and inclusion. I’ve been promoting the #InclusiveCommunities ideals throughout the whole campaign but now I’d like to do more to see real action on the ground rather than governments rerouting emails to other departments trying to figure out who is responsible for the problem. It’s time it was just classified into one area and addressed nationally.

meeting with Bill Byrne

Picture Me with Fellow Local Community Advocate Belinda Norrie at Community Cabinet with Police Minister Bill Byrne, Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman and various department director generals and assistants February 2016.

When we still have more than half our city network train stations being inaccessible and rules that can’t be enforced or have no penalty, it shows that the issues are not being given the focus they need. When we have communities with population rates of severe disability 3 times the average in Australia we need to ensure we’re channelling the funding to the right areas. This is what I aim to work on in the future. Raising awareness to the right people of the issues that are falling through the cracks.

 

 

So here are some snap shots of the success the No Permit No Park Campaign has had.

Between 2010 and 2015 Queensland Police successfully issued 5996 PINs (Parking Infringement Notices) for Stopping in a Disability zone without a permit. In addition to that another 530 PINsPINDP by QP district 5 yr period were issued for failing to comply with the conditions of the permit. This graph shows how these PINS were distributed throughout Queensland’s Policing Districts. North Brisbane, South Brisbane, Logan and Gold Coast as well as having high population and more on street designated disability parking areas to meet population demand, also have high police presence to population.

What is also interesting is that these areas are in high proactive council areas where competition is high for parking infringement revenue by comparison to lower populated areas. This shows us that police have a good awareness of disability parking offences and address the issues considering the priority level of parking offences in the day to day work of police.

 

 

Even further evidence comes through looking at the top 25 Parking Infringements issued in the same period. It is expected that the highest three would appear as they occur so frequently on a daily basis in busy traffic particularly in high density areas, with drivers often thinking it’s harmless, or just completely ignorant to the traffic control signage around them when they stop their vehicles. These are the type of offences police will see as they patrol in vehicles and therefore easily pull up to issue the PIN. Checking disability zones requires some more effort with an officer needing to inspect the windscreen of vehicles, so they’re not as easy to spot as the highest three offences.

What you can compare to see that Disability Parking offences are taken seriously, is that other offences that we know occur at just as high a rate as disability parking, such as stopping in a loading zone for more than 2 minutes to drop off or pick up a passenger, have less than half the attention of disability parking. Any parent who does the school run knows how often this particular traffic control is abused 5 days a week.

The most significant part of this particular statistic is that in the 2010-11 year Disability Parking Offences were 8th highest compared to now where they sit at 5th highest.

PINs over 5 yrs ranked top 25

 

What does any of this have to do with No Permit No Park?

Here is the pièce de résistance!

PINs for stopping in DPB without permit qps 2010 to 2015 I first established the No Permit No Park Campaign in March 2013. It wasn’t long before I was engaging with MPs and Councillors but my favourite engagement of all time has been with Queensland Police. In particular with Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing Command, Mike Keating and Senior Constable Christie May of Brisbane City command. They have been supportive, proactive and encouraging throughout the entire campaign. I can’t go past without thanking SC May on the work she has done with Operation No Permit No Park with enduring tenacity.

We’ve not finished working together just yet though. We have a project under way that will be revealed during Disability Action Week this year and we will continue to further develop the Operation throughout Queensland.

 

Operation No Permit No Park has been incredibly successful in Brisbane City (hence why we are encouraging other police districts to join the operation), with not only a reduction of complaints to parking centre managers in the CBD that are regularly patrolled, but also a reduction in opportunities to issue infringements as people become aware that they can and will be issued with an infringement even if they only stop for a minute.

I would also like to recognise that without the assistance of Steve Zeppa at QPS/PSB none of this would have happened. He’s the guy that organises everyone whenever I send an email saying “can we all get together for another meeting?”

 

The campaign hasn’t just had an effect on police operations though.

 

PINs for not complying with permit conditions qps 2010 to 2015

I was also surprised to see that while there has been an increase in PINs for stopping in disability zones, there has been a reduction in PINs for non compliance of permit conditions. We believe this can be attributed to the improvement in the permit system since incorporating the Australian Disability Parking Permit Scheme in Queensland, but also the work we’ve done promoting education to permit holders. Encouraging them to be more vigilant about ensuring their permit is on display and displayed correctly, as well as not becoming complacent in having permits replaced.

 

 

We’ve done a great deal of work gaining the support of law enforcement on this issue and I’m incredibly pleased seeing these statistics knowing they’re doing the best job they can. Of course there is always room for improvement which is why I have faith that SC May will continue to work in this area with the Queensland Police Service.

 

 

What happens to No Permit No Park now?

The website and social media will remain as an educational resource. I will still continue to share informational posts as my time and health allows. Slowly it will evolve into an Accessible & Inclusive Communities campaign as I continue to work on these issues in the community. What probably won’t happen any more is the whole “name and shame” photo posts. I’ve said it before but I am absolutely adamant now that it just doesn’t work effectively and wastes a lot of my time as I have to remove defamatory comments, interject arguments and correct myths people share. A perfect example was a very recent post on Facebook. A lady shared a photo showing a vehicle that had parked in front of a disability access bay blocking access to the footpath with her pushing her son who uses a wheelchair. I had shared it to show as an example of how not thinking about where you park have have a serious impact on people with mobility issues. Did it get the response I had hoped for? No. Instead people made suggestions of violence and vandalism, insisting she take the photo to police, call council, get a tow truck etc etc. We can do that time and time again but it only affects that one person at that one time.

By showing examples of how these situations can affect people with disabilities and their carers we have a much better opportunity to educate a community rather than denigrate it which will be far more effective and beneficial to the disability community in the long term. So if all you’re looking for is likes and overnight viral fame wanting to name and shame someone there are plenty of other spaces on social media doing just that. If you want to be part of the success and educate your community for long term benefit, then visit our new pages aimed at giving key steps to various relevant areas of a community.

THANK YOU

I want to thank everyone who has joined the campaign over the past 3 years, for the support that propped me up when I wanted to fall, for the lessons in humility and most of all for making it matter. Thank you to those who helped me find my way getting started, helped me find necessary resources throughout the journey and just for liking, sharing and sharing my humour and wit.

I look forward to bringing better access and inclusion to your community and mine.

Me and my cat Princess

Me and my cat Princes

Elisha ‘Friday’ Wright
Campaign Founder
Disability Advocate
Future Crazy Cat Lady

 

Preventing Permit Abuse

PREVENTING PERMIT ABUSE
One of the issues that Operation No Permit No Park has highlighted aside from disability parking offences, is the variance of permit abuse or fraud.

 

It seems innocent now but this permit was discovered over a year ago. Permits are only issued for 5 years so prior to August 2015 this permit could not have been issued with that date.

It seems innocent now but this permit was discovered over a year ago. Permits are only issued for 5 years so prior to August 2015 this permit could not have been issued with that date.

People have tried everything from deliberate placement of the permit so the expiry can’t be seen, to removing the expiry and permit number, to manipulation of the expiry date, to continue using permits that are no longer valid. This is rarely done by the original permit holder. For whatever reason, people seem to pass them on to others when they have their replacement. I should note that so far my research has revealed that the most common situation for an expired permit being fraudulently used is once the permit holder is deceased. 
 
I have been working with the Queensland Department of Transport on ways to reduce permit fraud. Despite the conditions of the permit stating that they must be returned when no longer required, permits are rarely returned and it is not enforced.
 
The new ADPP style IS much more difficult to manipulate so we do see less abuse of those types but it does still occur by concealment. Queensland is not alone, with similar issues in other states with different types of permits. My goal is to share successful fraud prevention methods nationally.
 

The best solution found so far has been to include the holographic printing on the date like we do on the new style ADPP. It makes it very difficult to alter the date.

Permit misuse can be reported through the issuing authority. You will need the permit number, car registration and any additional information you can provide.

Qld: http://www.qld.gov.au/disability/out-and-about/parking-permits/#report 

NSW: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/using-roads/mobility-parking/

SA: https://www.sa.gov.au/directories/customer-service-centres/enquiries-and-complaints

WA: http://www.app.org.au/

VIC: Contact the issuing council

TAS: Contact the department of State Growth Transport Scheme – Phone: 1300 135 513 Email: passenger.transport@stategrowth.tas.gov.au

ACT: Contact the Transport Authority – http://www.rego.act.gov.au/parking/special-parking-permits/australian-disability-parking-permits

One Quarter of Queensland Under-caters to disability accessible parking needs

With more than 26% of local government areas having a higher rate of permit holders to population than the mandatory disability accessible parking needs, we really need to address how access is assessed in Development Applications. Parking wars? We’ll show you parking wars. When you have 5% of the population seeking to use 2% of accessible parking (the minimum mandatory requirement under the Disability Access to Premises (Building) Standards 2010), it makes trying to live an independent and dignified life with a disability somewhat challenging.

Qld Disability Permit Holder Population Comparison

Download complete report here : Queensland Disability Parking Permit Population comparison

The #AusOpen Miracle

l don’t mind watching a good game of tennis particularly when someone as skilled as Roger Federer plays.

If I were to go to the Australian Open l’d need assistance. Anywhere with crowds, lined seating & stairs are a dangerous risk of falling. My OT recommends I should be transported in and out by wheelchair.

I’m sure I’m not unique in this. Many with mobility impairment rely on wheelchairs for safety. How many of us though have been accused of faking it the moment we dare stand up from our chair in public?

This is why disability activists globally are pushing to change language used to describe people with disabilities.

Wheelchair bound.

Regardless of the degree of our incapacity no one is actually bound to a wheelchair. This term leads people to believe we can’t get out of our chairs ever. So the moment anyone does we are fakes, frauds or miracles.

This is exactly what happened to an unsuspecting gentleman last night at the Australian Open. He dared to stand from his wheelchair to applaud a fantastic shot by Federer. Plenty of other people who weren’t wheelchair users did too but they were not vilified like this man was.

If you’ve never understood before why language around disability is so important, I hope you never find yourself with a disability.

I did express my views to many of these tweeters but none responded.

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