No Permit No Park Campaign Australia

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Disability Parking for Businesses

Information about your legal responsibilities and how you can uphold the moral responsibility legally with disability parking and enforcement

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Access & Inclusion for Businesses & Building Owners

How to increase your patronage by up to 30% by making your business or building disability friendly

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Access & Inclusion for Advocates

How to create positive change in your community following a few key guidelines

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Download our Educational Flyer

Print your own educational flyers to leave on offending vehicles in disability parking

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Media Gives Readers Bad Suggestion to Abuse Disability Parking

Today, Brisbane Times journalist, Nathanael Cooper, wrote about Nova presenter Mitch Lewis having his car towed after parking his car on private property at Westend. No big deal right? The towing company is authorised and the owner of the property has the right to have any unauthorised vehicles removed. Slow news day perhaps?

My issue with the article is when Cooper suggested to avoid hefty fees to retrieve your car, you’d be better off parking in a clearway or disability park on the street.

Image reads: RACQ confirmed that businesses were entitled to protect their parking spaces as long as there was clear signage posted, and that $550 was the standard rate for retrieving a car from a towing company. A quick check of Brisbane City Council's parking fines revealed drivers were better off parking illegally on the street than risking it on commercial premises. The highest parking fine, for parking in a clearway or in an area for disabled persons without a permit, costs less than half that of the going rate required by towing companies.

Image reads:
RACQ confirmed that businesses were entitled to protect their parking spaces as long as there was clear signage posted, and that $550 was the standard rate for retrieving a car from a towing company.
A quick check of Brisbane City Council’s parking fines revealed drivers were better off parking illegally on the street than risking it on commercial premises.
The highest parking fine, for parking in a clearway or in an area for disabled persons without a permit, costs less than half that of the going rate required by towing companies.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/son-of-wally-lewis-cops-kingsize-parking-fee-20160128-gmfwaq.html

What Cooper missed entirely is that if you park in a clearway you absolutely WILL be towed (I know this, it’s happened to me when I forgot I’d parked my car on a street that became a clearway at 4pm). Plus you still cop the council fine on top. Council, while it’s not common practice, can also tow a vehicle from a disability bay if there is no permit on display. They absolutely WILL if that disability bay becomes a clearway at any time. Most importantly Cooper misses the whole morality of just parking in a disability accessible space without a permit because there’s no where else to park. So sad, keep driving. People with disabilities have even less options available to them especially for those whose access needs are specific (ie wheelchair access). Chances are if you’re driving around looking for somewhere to park, so are we. Difference is we don’t have the benefit of easy mobility to walk a few more blocks.

Aside from the absolute insult to the disability community for even suggesting the rest of the community would be better off doing this, it’s really irresponsible to encourage abuse of disability parking.

When less than two percent of parking areas are allocated to disability access while around four and a half percent of the Australian population holds a disability parking permit, we’re already facing a challenge to access our community. Why make life even harder for us?

I hope a retraction is printed or at least an addition to remind drivers they shouldn’t do this. Of course we know I’m more likely to be told to get a life right?

Friday Wright
Campaign Founder & Curator

Ten Things Disability Parking Activists Wish You Would Stop Saying

I’m scraping in closer to the three year anniversary of the campaign and there are some things aside from the actual offences themselves, I just grow really weary of hearing. I can only imagine those who have been doing this longer than me, and living with their disabilities longer than me, must be even more over it than I am, but here is a list of a few things I really wish people would stop saying or doing when it comes to disability parking.

booked

1. Disabled people get the best parking

Newsflash, it’s 2016 and still engineers, builders and architects can’t relate design to practicality. No we don’t get the best parking. It’s not always right in front of the door, quite often it’s waaaaay down the other end of the parking aisle. Or shoved into an alcove somewhere out of the way. It’s rarely ever undercover, because hey, what does it matter if you get wet, you’re already dying anyway right? Our disability parking permits are not a “perk” we get for the “benefit” of being disabled. It’s to allow us equal access to the community.

2. But I’m Only Going To Be A Minute

Oh please rub it in our faces just a little harder. Screw you. It takes majority of us longer than that just to get out of the car. You can walk freely and still be a minute, park elsewhere and use your damn privilege of being able to walk.

3. There are bigger crimes happening than someone parking in a disabled space

No kidding! I mean our lives are so sheltered, what would we know about crime? People with disabilities are only 3 times more likely to be the victims of violent crimes or sexual abuse. Let’s get down to reality here, disability parking is a traffic offence that carries and infringement penalty. Disability Discrimination is a crime and preventing people with disabilities from access to premises is disability discrimination. Of course, it’s no big deal to you until you’re the one who can’t get out of their car or up the stairs right?

4. It’s Not Illegal It’s Just Immoral

WRONG! It’s an offence under the traffic act in each state of Australia to stop in an area marked for people with disabilities without displaying a current valid disability parking permit. The offences carries penalties depending on the state or council that is issuing the infringement and it’s also discrimination. Of course it’s quite acceptable to just be immoral when you walk on past with your perfectly working body while we try to lug our sad sorry and sore bodies who don’t want to play nice with us just to do the shit we have to do.

5. You Can’t Get A Fine In A Shopping Centre Car Park

Ugh. Please don’t start me on the legislation of private property versus privately owned property accessible to the public. There are about a dozen sections of legislation all relevant to this point that say you CAN and you WILL if you break the law. I could list them all for you, but you’d die of boredom. If there wasn’t legislation that said you can get a fine, I’d be the one lobbying to create it! Thankfully I don’t have to because it already exists and there are plenty of people out there who have the infringement notices to prove it. You’re just going to have to trust me.

6. I’m Not Parked

Just waiting for a mate? No, you can’t wait in the disability parking space without a permit and the owner of the permit. The legislation states you must not STOP in an area blah blah you know the rest. Keyword here being STOP. Don’t care if the vehicle is not in park, if the engine is still running, if those wheels have stopped and you’re in the space you’ve committed an offence (unless you immediately reverse out).

7. You’re breaching someone’s privacy showing their number plate in photos

No. We don’t have those kinds of privacy laws in Australia. Commercial media may have to or CHOOSE to for their own legal reasons but no, we can post all the pretty pictures of disability parking space thieves we like and we don’t need to hide the registration number of the car. Registration numbers do not identify a person unless 1. they’re so vain as to have a personalised plate that is easily recognisable to identify that person OR an authorised person has access to the system that provides that information and even then, privacy policies in those relevant departments apply. That said, plenty of people do stupid things in branded vehicles making the whole registration number argument irrelevant.

8. You don’t know what that person’s circumstances were

Really? You want to validate a traffic offence? Well we don’t know what the circumstances were of the speeding driver or the drunk driver but we don’t run around validating their despicable acts. The privileged person who thought their circumstances so mightily entitled them to use the accessible parking that we, the permit holders ARE entitled to use doesn’t know our circumstances that led us to the NEED to depend on accessible spaces, nor do they ever seem to give a shit. Of course if someone were to say (and it has happened), “I’m really sorry, but in my circumstances XYZ it was what I did at the time but it’s not something I normally do or would do again” we say hey, we get that. These things happen. Thanks for respecting the space and your support in the campaign to educate the community. Hope things improve for you. It rarely happens though. Usually they’re just jerks.
9. Get A Life

Oh how ironic. When we’re faced with the very thing that is preventing us from trying to have a life outside of our homes and we dare to complain about it we get told to get a life. Come on you can do better than that surely? I mean isn’t it bad enough you’re wasting all your privileged life away using the accessible facilities designed for people who are not so privileged as to have the benefit of easy mobility, that you feel so obliged to tell them to get a life? Maybe you do need the space after all. I can’t imagine anything more pathetic than you.

10. But you don’t look disabled.

Oh For FARK SAKE! Am I right? Step out of your sheltered world for a moment and learn something about the people in your community. What you think disability LOOKS like and what it actually is are so very far apart that you are an alien to me right now. No, you don’t have the right to ask me what my disability is. I am happy to prove the permit is mine, my name is on the back but no I DO NOT have to tell you what my disability is. No one does. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there and no it’s not “invisible” you just don’t know what the signs and symptoms are. Stop the expectation that all people with disabilities have to look sad, poor, abnormal, deformed, sick, need to be cured, tragic, unable to be independent, unattractive, unlovable and pitiful people sitting in wheelchairs being pushed around by magic carer fairies your “taxes” pay for. If that is the most you expect of someone with a disability I truly hope you never find yourself with one and lets face  facts, we’re all only an accident or illness away from life with a disability. We’re not all born like that.

I don’t look disabled? You didn’t look stupid but you opened your mouth and proved me wrong.

elisha flip the bird

Disability Parking & the Complex Enforcement Battle

 

Each year since the campaign began I receive hundreds of messages from the community asking what their rights are and what the responsibilities are of police and councils when it comes to disability parking and reporting it. It is very difficult to answer the question nationally as the issue is covered by all three levels of government and legislations vary state to state, by-laws vary council to council. What is consistent is the fact that ableism continues to hamper our quality of life while this particular facet of disability access is perceived as an unimportant “perk” for the disabled by the community and the only way we can change that is through education.

Meanwhile we have the ongoing battle between Police and Councils over whose responsibility it is and all we want is someone to stand up with us and say No, This is NOT OK. It needs to be an authority because society still treats us like we don’t have the right to speak for ourselves. My biggest obstacle to educating people on the rights, wrongs and responsibilities of it all are keyboard lawyers and the fact that while a website, even from a government department, may say one thing, legislation says another.

So when it comes to reporting an offence of misuse of a disability parking space, who do you call? What a shame we don’t have Ableist Busters right?

Police are the standard go to for majority of cases when it comes to parking under the traffic act as they cover both street parking and off street parking. Off street parking is covered by police – and this is nationally under the Australian National Road Rules legislation that is then adopted and added to by each state – Off street parking is covered when it fits the definition of a road related area. Generally speaking that is a car parking area that even though it may be situated on privately owned land, is generally open to and accessible by the public. For example shopping centre car parks. The exclusion of this is when in a residential building there is a private car parking area of multiple spaces that is within a gate or is clearly signed that the public are not permitted to park there without the authorisation of the owner.

Police may issue infringements in these areas. They are also allowed, under police powers, to enter the area without having to seek permission first. And therein lies the first key difference between Police and Council.

Now this is where it gets really difficult. Each state has varying legislations that cover the same things but written in different ways. I haven’t yet perused all the states legislation to be able to specifically tell you where to find them all but as a study case, I’m using my home state of Queensland.

Police powers and relevant legislation allows them to enter the area, patrol the area, respond to complaints and investigate in the area and issue infringements if deemed necessary. The Transport Operations Road Use Management (Road Rules) Act 1995 specifies that stopping in a parking area marked for people with disabilities without a valid permit is a traffic infringement and can be enforced by police. The Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 specifies their limits of power to be able to enforce this law, where and how it must be done.

So far, Queensland Police, NSW Police and Victoria Police have all confirmed with me that they can and will accept complaints from the public, preferably with evidence, of a disability parking law being broken. However there are some important factors for you to remember when making these reports. You will need to be willing to appear in court as a witness to the event should the offender be issued an infringement and choose to appeal it in the courts. You also need to make the complaint as a non priority complaint unless there is an emergency involved. Please don’t expect to call police and have them come right there and then to write out a parking ticket. There is no guarantee there is a car available in the area at the time and on the list of priorities in respect to the calls police deal with a parking offence is not high up there and nor should we expect it to be. In any event, taking photos, recording any conversations you have with the offender or taking video of the event can all be provided as evidence for the police to investigate. Which they can do under the Police Powers Act.

This is the difference between Police and Council.

All sworn in members of the Police Service are “authorised persons” to issue infringements. They also have the power to investigate and gather evidence which can be provided by the community but they also need to ensure they are able to present a strong enough case to Police Prosecutions should the matter end up in court. So your photos or video need to show the car, having no permit on display and the positioning of the parking.

Councils in Queensland have their power to create by-laws under the Local Government Act 2009. This Act also specifies what an “authorised person” is for the purpose of issuing infringements. These are called Rangers or Compliance Officers. They have the power to issue infringements of council’s by-laws. Council authorised persons must seek permission from the building owner or manager before they are able to carry out checks of compliance to council by-laws before issuing infringements. Council authorised persons can act on reports from the public to inspect or investigate claims of breaches however they must be able to provide the evidence as seen by them to issue an infringement.

What this means is that you can call council to complain about a parking by-law breach and give them the information, but a council authorised person will need to attend to collect the evidence before an infringement can be issued. These can be given on the spot or sent in the post. Council authorised persons do not have the same powers as police when it comes to entering property, investigating a committed offence or other types of enforcement powers. The Authorised Person is the one who will be called to testify their evidence if the person in receipt of the infringement chooses to have the matter heard in court. Council are not represented by Police Prosecutions. They have to foot their own costs in court and if the matter goes in favour of the defendant, they may have to cover their costs too. Councils will rarely let matters of small amounts go to court unless they are absolutely certain the offence occurred within the defence of the law which is why they send out an officer rather than accept third party information.

How infringements are issued and enforced is covered by the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999 and the State Penalties Enforcement Regulation 2014.

In relation to the controversially promoted Snap Send Solve App used by many councils across Australia, I’ve been doing some research into it’s effectiveness for disability parking offences. I called and spoke with several councils listed as using the app and not one of them stated that they would issue an infringement from the information supplied in a report. They do however state that an authorised officer would be sent to the location where the offence has been reported and investigate. If the vehicle is still there they will take the required evidence and either issue an on the spot infringement or it will be sent in the post.

Snap Send Solve is an app already designed that these councils subscribe to for a fee. Other councils have spent the money to have their own similar apps designed more specifically for their purposes. The apps are intended only for the purpose of collecting information in a faster, easier, more convenient manner than having operators man phones. It allows them to collect enough information to follow up a report that a by-law offence has been committed or to respond to commonly reported issues like pot holes and dumped rubbish without having to keep people tied up on the phone. It was never intended to be used as a sole basis of issuing infringements. A spokesperson for one of the councils said that the legal department would “stop the practice” if they were to find that happening as it would contravene council policy.

None of the councils I spoke to could confirm if any data of any nature was kept in relation to monitoring locations by offence type to see if there was a particular high occurrence area.

Clear as mud? Yep. This is why we get passed from one side to the other continuously.

Who do you call? Unless you spot an officer nearby or it’s an emergency, you don’t. You help us collect data so that we can notify police and councils where they need to patrol by reporting it through the Towit App on your phone or you pass the info on to us via our Facebook page or you collect the required evidence and take it directly to the local police station so that they can investigate. You can also help your local authorities by letting them know where you see the offences occur the most and asking if they can include that area in their patrols. That makes you an activist rather than a slacktivist.

 

If something is blocking disability access – Key It

The Key Concept

We’ve all experienced it at one time or another. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s ridiculous. Disability Access including parking is often mistaken for convenience when to those with mobility needs it’s a necessity. It’s about dignity and inclusion. It’s so frustrating when you’re trying to wheel your chair along a footpath and bang in the middle is a car. No safe way around. You’re blocked. Well now you can just KEY the car and they’ll get the message!

It’s not about vandalism. What we want you to do is help raise awareness in the community when people place vehicles or other objects in the way of disability access. You can do this by putting on of our Key notices on the vehicle or object. The notice directs people to a page where we try to educate them about the importance of access for an inclusive community and encourage them to play a role in being inclusive.

PLEASE NOTE:
No Permit No Park is an educational campaign that seeks to raise awareness and improve the lives of people with disabilities through community accessibility. We do not promote, condone nor encourage vandalism of property at any time. People should be aware though that their obstruction of access can result in the causation of accidents including falls and wheelchair tips. These accidents can result in incidental damage to property but more importantly it can cause serious injury to a person with access needs.

Join the campaign today and print out a copy of our Key Notice. Click here to see the Keyed information page.

keyed

click on the image and then print from your computer

 

Summer Car Safety Message

We often hear and see community messages in media warning us of the dangers of leaving children in cars on hot days. On a 30 degree day (the average Australian summer temperature), within 15 minutes inside the car can reach lethal temperatures. It’s not safe for pets either we’ve come to learn after numbers of dogs have died being left locked in the car. Even with the window down a crack it’s not enough to reduce temperatures.

What we don’t hear about are the adults that die in hot cars. Mostly due to the assumption that an adult can get out of the car when they’re heating up unlike children or dogs. It’s forgetting the most important factor. Disability. If someone requires assistance to get out of the car or to walk to safety they should never be left alone in a hot vehicle. Ever.

We’ve designed an all inclusive image that you can share to spread the word.
hot car danger announcement

 

NB It’s already been pointed out I have spelled Celsius incorrectly. I could have changed it but my dyslexic aphasia man in my brain said not today.

Rant warning! – Of all the stupid excuses…..

Friday I drove around a shopping centre for 15 minutes before finding an available accessible park. Last week I had to park 30 metres from my doctor’s surgery and negotiate my way past incoming traffic and reversing cars to get there. In both instances there were disability designated parking bays being used by people without permits.

Then yesterday I saw people using the last available disability park at my local shops as a loading bay for their bulk alcohol purchase.

When I said something to them about it their excuse was dumbfounding.

Why do we have Disability Parking Wars?

It’s not easy to get a disability parking permit these days. Well it seems that way for most of us. I know myself having applied for a temporary permit when I was trying to convince myself my condition was not going to be permanent (Yeah I know, no cure for Parkinson’s but at that stage we didn’t know it was Parkinson’s), having to reapply for a permanent one when I accepted the diagnosis only to have it rejected (don’t go there), and having to apply for an appeal of the decision.

Eventually my permit was granted. As more states move to the nationally recognised Australian Disability Parking Permit Scheme which suggested stricter eligibility requirements, it’s even harder than it ever was to get a permit. As it should be. Permit schemes were designed to provide equitable access for people whose mobility prevents them being able to access places they go in their community. Not just cos your feet get puffy when you do a lap of the supermarket.

You can be forgiven though for believing it’s easier to get a disability parking permit than it is to get a disability parking space.

Reason being that in many regions of our “lucky” country, it’s true.

While the Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 outline the minimum requirements for parking spaces in different building classes it’s a very, very rare case that builders or developers or goodness forbid the approving council, remembers the Performance Requirements clause in Part 2 of the legislation…

DP8        Performance requirement

                Carparking spaces for use by people with a disability must be:

                (a)    provided, to the degree necessary, to give equitable access for carparking; and

               (b)    designated and easy to find.

Limitation       Clause DP8 does not apply to a building where:

                         (a)   a parking service is provided; and

                        (b)   direct access to any carparking spaces by the general public or occupants is not available.

Key words here being TO THE DEGREE NECESSARY.

Already, in our ageing population (not because age gives you a permit but because the rate of disability increases with age), on a national level the number of permits current to population outweighs the minimum requirements legislated for parking allocation.

For example….

A shopping centre (class 6 building) must have a minimum of 1 disability parking space per 50 spaces for the first 1000 spaces and 1 per 100 for every space after that. So in a shopping centre with 5000 spaces only 60 or just 1.2% of the total parking will be allocated to disability permit holders. Nationally the percentage of the population that holds a current disability parking permit is more than 4.5%. Not so bad you say?

When we look closer at specific areas it actually gets a little crazy.

Here’s a list of a few selected postcodes in NSW showing the number of disability parking permits currently issued to the population.

Permit holders to population by postcode shown with median age of population in that postcode.

Permit holders to population by postcode shown with median age of population in that postcode.

So lets look at the postcode with the highest percentage 2263 on the Central Coast.
The largest shopping centre in the area (that I could locate with the help of Google Maps) is Lake Haven Shopping Centre.

Lake Haven Shopping Centre boasts 1600 parking spaces. If they stuck with the legislated minimum requirement of disability parking spaces there would be 26. 1 per 50 spaces of the first 1000 spaces is 20 plus 1 per 100 for the next 600 is 6 totalling 26. That is 1.6% of space adequate for people with disability parking permits to park. However the suburb of Lake Haven and it’s neighbours in the 2263 postcode has a whopping percentage of permit holders to population of over 10%.

You know you're disabled when it's easier to get a disability parking permit than it is to find an available disability parking bay.

You know you’re disabled when it’s easier to get a disability parking permit than it is to find an available disability parking bay.

Must make shopping a very interesting exercise around there.

In fact in the whole of NSW we have over 4.7% of the population holding a disability parking permit. More than double the amount of accessible parking spaces available.

And yet we have people without disabilities wondering why we get so cranky about non permit holders using the spaces?

Get a life they reckon? Ha, we’ll try that out… as soon as we can find a park.

Am I eligible for an Australian Disability Parking Permit?

I get asked this question often. “I have (insert syndrome/illness/physical impairment here), would I be eligible for a permit?”

Only the issuing authority can tell you that for certain and they only way to find out is to apply. As a general guide though you should consider the guidelines for eligibility in each state and remember that you will require a medical practitioner to fill out a form describing how your situation impairs your ability to walk or your mobility.

Since 2009 there has been an ongoing and in many opinions, not so successful attempt at harmonising the more than 200 permit types across Australia, through the Australian Disability Parking Permit Scheme. These permits are also known as an ADPP. Information about how to apply in each state is available here. There is also an information video available to watch via YouTube.

Further information is available on the following State and Terriitory websites:

Eligibility Criteria in each state is described as follows:

ACT
To be eligible for a mobility parking permit in the ACT a person must:

  • Be unable to walk and/or have pain or difficulty in walking 100 metres;
  • Require the use of crutches, a walking frame, callipers, a scooter, a wheelchair or other mobility aid; or
  • Be blind.

NSW
To be eligible for a Mobility Parking Scheme permit in NSW, you must have a disability. This is defined by legislation as someone:

  • Who is unable to walk due to the permanent or temporary loss of use of one or both legs or other permanent medical or physical condition, or
  • Whose physical condition is detrimentally affected as a result of walking 100 metres, or
  • Who requires the use of crutches, a walking frame, callipers, scooter, wheelchair or other similar mobility aid.

Mobility Parking Scheme permits are also available to people who are permanently blind. Guidelines for permanent blindness from the Commonwealth Social Security Act 1991 are:

  1. Visual acuity on the Snellen Scale after correction by suitable lenses must be less than 6/60 in both eyes, or
  2. Constriction to within 10 degrees of fixation in the better eye irrespective of corrected visual acuity, or
  3. A combination of visual defects in the same degree of visual impairment as that occurring in points 1 or 2.

NT
Northern Territory does not list the specific eligibility criteria and each council is responsible as the issuing authority for the ADPP. All applications are considered on a case by case basis from the information provided by your medical practitioner.

QLD
Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for an ADPP, the applicant must be a Queensland resident and meet one of the following eligibility criteria:
• Must be unable to walk and always requires the use of a wheelchair; or
• Their ability to walk is severely restricted by a permanent medical condition or disability;
• Their ability to walk is severely restricted by a temporary medical condition or disability.

A temporary medical condition or disability must be of at least six (6) months’ duration, as certified by a doctor or occupational therapist.

Guiding scenarios
Please find below examples of some types of mobility impairments that might be a severe restriction on an applicant’s ability to walk:
• The applicant is unable to walk and always requires the use of a wheelchair.
• The applicant always requires the use of a mobility device (for example, walking frame, elbow crutches). Please note a shopping trolley should not be considered a mobility device.
• The applicant has a severe mobility restriction affecting their ability to carry out basic activities (for example, the applicant cannot walk from a parked car to the entrance of a building such as a shopping centre, bank or medical facility, without stopping several times due to severe pain, extreme fatigue or loss of balance).
• The applicant has a severe mobility restriction as a result of a chronic condition (for example, of the heart, lung or kidneys and relies on portable oxygen to assist them to walk or walking could cause angina and/or heart attack or severe breathlessness).

SA
Important note for the Medical Practitioner
Under law the Registrar of Motor Vehicles must not issue a disability parking permit unless:
• the person has a temporary or permanent physical impairment; and
• their speed of movement is severely restricted by the impairment; and
• their ability to use public transport is significantly impeded by the impairment;
• in the case of a temporary physical impairment, the impairment is likely to endure for more than 6 months but is not likely to be permanent.

TAS
Tasmania does not specify the eligibility criteria, however the application form requires information from the medical practitioner including the diagnosis, how the applicant’s mobility is affected, the type of mobility device they use and the frequency of assistance required. Tasmania does not provide temporary membership to their Transport Access Scheme. Applications are only accepted for permanent disabilities.

VIC
Victoria has eligibility requirements for two levels and for permanent and temporary permits.

Permanent Disability Parking Permits

Current Victorian Blue Permit
Category One
To be eligible for a category one permit
  • a Medical Practitioner must confirm that an individual has a significant ambulatory disability and they cannot access a vehicle in an ordinary parking bay, or they are required to use a complex walking aid* that prevents access to a vehicle in an ordinary parking bay, or
  • a Medical Practitioner must confirm that an individual has either an acute or chronic illness in which minimal walking may endanger their health, or
  • a Specialist Medical Practitioner or Clinical Psychologist must confirm that an individual is an extreme danger to themselves and others in a public place without assistance by a carer.

*A complex walking aid is defined as an aid which has more than one contact point with the ground.

Current Victorian Green Permit, with reference to Extra Time Only
Category Two
To be eligible for a category two permit:
  • A Medical Practitioner must confirm that an individual has a significant ambulatory disability or severe illness which does not affect their ability to walk, however they require rest breaks when continuous walking is undertaken.

Temporary disability parking permits

Temporary permits will be issued to an individual ability to walk is significantly restricted on a temporary basis and is not likely to improve within six months.

WA
Eligibility

To be eligible for an ACROD (Australian Council for Rehabilitation of Disabled) Parking Permit you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are unable to walk and always require the use of a wheelchair, or
  • Your ability to walk is severely restricted by a permanent medical condition or disability, or
  • Your ability to walk is severely restricted by a temporary medical condition or disability.

Similar to QLD and VIC, WA asks the medical practitioner for detailed information about how the applicant’s condition affect’s their mobility.

For any further information please feel free to email us and we will endeavour to assist you with finding it.
Friday@nopermitnopark.com

Top 3 Reasons Disability Parking Infringements are Waived

Research from data over the past 5 years since the access to premises standards were introduced in Australia has revealed some disappointing facts about disability accessible parking that needs to be addressed. Data from Councils and State authorities has revealed that fines for illegal use of disability parking are contested at an extremely high rate.

The top three reasons these fines are waived are:

  1. Medical Reasons
  2. Permit holder with reason for permit not being displayed
  3. Space did not comply to MUTCD or was not easily identified as a disability accessible parking zone.

The MUTCD or Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices provides the standards under which parking should be allocated and identified. Each state has their own manual but they are fairly consistent on two things. The space must display the International Symbol of Access and it must be clear and visible from a distance of at least 3m. When signage doesn’t meet the MUTCD standards and it can be deemed not clearly a disability accessible parking zone the recipient of the infringement will often have it waived.

This make enforcement difficult for authorities. Contesting in court can be a costly process particularly when the offender is awarded the fine be overturned and costs paid by the state (or council) prosecution.

Another interesting fact from the Queensland MUTCD is Clause 7.4 that specifies as well as spaces needing to conform to the relevant Australian Standards, the Building Code and The Access to Premises Standards, installation should also take into account the demand for available spaces, proximity of the spaces to the activity to be accessed and ease of access from spaces by a wheelchair. Five years into the legislation we are still seeing too often spaces that are not only non compliant but also non practical. Perhaps if there was more input sought from people with actual lived experience of mobility with a disability rather than engineers and architects this problem could be eliminated.

Back to fines being waived though, the costly process and time wasted in the court system due to the high levels of non compliance in building, we have the issue of deterrence for our authorities to actually issue infringements. Vicious cycle that brings us back to square one leaving us stuck in a society of tokenism where needs aren’t understood or met.

 

Building access is expensive? Try living with a disability!

While the federal government via the string of unsuccessful Social Services ministers, Kevin Andrews, Scott Morrison and now Christian Porter, continue to demonise people with disabilities as being the burdens of society, Disability Services in Australia are still rubbing their greedy little hands together knowing how expensive it is to live with a disability and seeing us as a commodity rather than a burden. From in home assistance services to providers of mobility aides to home and vehicle modification and technology assistance device developers they’ve all got their sights set on one thing. Our money. We’re necessity spenders. We spend on things we HAVE to have to spare any chance of a decent quality of life in a world that still begrudges having to cater to our needs.

$4000 laser light for people with Parkinson's to use when they have freezing gait. A laser light.

$4000 laser light for people with Parkinson’s to use when they have freezing gait. A laser light.

$200 Cushion to help someone stop rolling over in bed. Yes, $200.

$200 Cushion to help someone stop rolling over in bed. Yes, $200.

Recently on a bus trip back from a fabulous inclusive council event, I found myself in the company of a gentleman who saw fit to ask me what it is I do. Apparently in some circles who you are and what you do is still important. I was there as an invited guest for whatever reason council saw fit to invite me. I didn’t think what I did was important but I indulged his curiosity and told him, “I’m a disability access consultant and advocate for rights of people with disabilities.”

He didn’t really care what I did or who I was, what he was looking for was creating an opening to tell me all about himself and when I didn’t appear impressed, he took the opportunity to belittle what I do.

You see this very self important person was a builder. Apparently one of the biggest builders there is. I’d heard of some of the places he built but I didn’t know him by name which it seemed he expected I should. He asked more detail of what I do so I explained I gave FREE consultation and assessment of existing buildings’ disability access with solutions of how they can improve it or in the very least be more compliant. Yep. I’m that idiot. I’m the one who gives out my services for FREEEEEEEEEEEE. So I clearly cannot be as important as him.

The questions then came. “What are your qualifications?” – I’m self educated with assistance from relevant departments responsible for the relevant legislations.
“Can you read building plans?” – Basic plans yes. I really only need to know where the disability access is going to go and the dimensions.
“What about complex plans?” – Well it’s not really relevant to me to know where the power and water will be running so I don’t need to understand complex architectural diagrams, only the things relevant to access which I can identify.
“Have you ever built anything?” – actually, yes. Our family owned a landscaping business so I’ve built a few things, can you be more specific?

Then came the part I was NOT expecting but it made me realise what is wrong with the world and the obstructions to our battle for inclusive communities?

“Do you know how costly it is to do all that disability access stuff?”

Truth is in the scope of things it doesn’t have to be that costly if you get it right the first time and think about the practicality of it rather than how pretty it should look. Of course when you don’t need disability access it can seem like a complete waste right?

Wait…. what about parents with prams?????? Okay lets remove the controversial parking factor…. for years mothers and others complained about the need for wider entries and ramps and lifts and change areas for babies and seating areas that are NOT toilets because some people just can’t deal with boobs with a baby attached to them. And retailers heard and they saw the potential dollar signs of a return from a target market that wanted to be relieved of their boredom but struggled to find the means to do so. That’s right it had nothing at all to do with inclusion or equity. It was purely a marketing ploy but a very beneficial one to that target market.

Parents spend. Parents have children that need to be spent on. If you have kids, whether you’re getting it from employment or the government you’re getting money and who better to relieve you of that heavy cash but retailers, yaaaaaaay! Ice creams for everyone!

How do we translate this to disabilities? It seems society in general have a misconception people with disabilities have needs but not wants. Why would we want to go shopping? What could we possibly spend money on in a shopping centre. Shouldn’t we be at the mobility aides store? Where is your carer?

We’re viewed as being dependant therefore we couldn’t have an independently controlled income or the desire to want to spend it. But the government says they have to build access so they comply with what they have to and slip a few dollars to the inspector to approve what they think they can get away with.

When it comes to parking it’s no different. When compliance isn’t tough they’ll just slap in a space with a wheelchair symbol on it and call it accessible. It doesn’t work because you can barely see it, it’s not wide enough and it’s right down the very end of the strip way away from the entrance, but we called it accessible so deal with it.

disability parking fail

No. Just no.

Line marking and a bollard is all it takes right? How much does that actually cost? It’s going to vary and of course like any person wanting the best price you need to shop around but here’s a bit of an average…..

 

Line marking for two bays including the international symbol of access to the required dimensions in the required colouring using top quality material to last up to ten years, plus the shared access space in the middle cost including GST is around $160. A bollard for the shared space – using a standard yellow metal concreted fixture, $350 including installation. So for $510 you have accessible spaces for two cars for almost 10 years. 7 day trading. Average shopping time 2 hours. So that potentially attracts 8 spending customers per day. According to Inside Retail, Australian’s spend on average $141 per person in supermarkets alone. So just two disability accessible parking bays can potentially bring in $410 592 per year. $510 for ten years to gain $4 105 920?

I’d love to show this to that builder and ask how he’d feel about losing $4.1 million a year per double accessible parking bay. Sure you could put in a few more regular bays because they spend too right? But regular old parking doesn’t attract regular shoppers. You’re competing with every other retailer for that market. Besides, those of us who are brave enough to enter a shopping centre car park know there’s always (Christmas Crazies excepted) available regular parking when they are compliant to the building code but still we’re struggling to get proper disability accessible parking.

Make your premises the ultimate shopping experience in accessibility and you’re already winning over that target market that just want to be included. Not just them, but the people in their lives too.

The facts:

  • Almost 4 million Australians have a disability.
  • About 50 per cent of people aged over 55 have difficulty with their mobility, hearing or vision.
  • By 2050 more than 25 per cent of the population will be over 65.
  • If you add families, friends and colleagues the number of people affected by disability is even greater.
Source: Australian Human Rights Commission
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