Transport for People with Disabilities
The Australian Government sees the ability to move around the community underpinning all aspects of life for people with disability. The National Disability Strategy, launched 21 March 2011, seeks to guide public policy across governments to ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians.
Supporting the National Disability Strategy (NDS) the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA) prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of disability, both to the person with a disability as well as family members, carers and friends.
The DDA allows disability standards to be formulated in a range of areas. The purpose of disability standards is to spell out in greater detail rights and obligations under the DDA, providing greater certainty about the Act's requirements. For more information on the DDA refer to the Attorney-General's Department.
Currently, three disability standards have been formulated:
- Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards)
- Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards)
- Disability (Access to Premises—buildings) Standards 2010
Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002, as amended
The Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards) as amended, are formulated by the Attorney-General under subsection 31 (1) of the DDA.
The Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development has responsibility for providing public transport policy advice on the Transport Standards.
The Transport Standards were initially released on 23 October 2002 and subsequently amended in 2004, 2005 and 2010 with the current compilation, 1 May 2011, taking into account amendments up to Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Amendment 2010 (No.1).
The Transport Standards seek to provide a level of certainty to operators and providers of public transport conveyances and infrastructure about their responsibilities under the DDA. The Transport Standards also identify a series of target dates for compliance extending over a 30 year timeframe.
Part 34 of the Transport Standards requires the Minister, in consultation with the Attorney-General, to:
- review the efficiency and effectiveness of these Standards within 5 years after they take effect; and
- carry out a subsequent review every 5 years after the initial review.
The Review must include:
- whether discrimination has been removed as far as possible, according to the requirements for compliance set out in Schedule 1; and,
- any necessary amendments to these Standards.
2007 Review of the Transport Standards
The first five year review, commencing in 2007, was undertaken by an independent consultant, Allen Consulting Group, oversighted by a Steering Committee of senior officials. The final review report and Government response were publically released by the former Commonwealth Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Attorney-General and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers on 3 June 2011.
As indicated in Recommendation 9 of the Government Response to the review, responsibility for implementing agreed actions and preparing further policy and regulatory material for consideration and decision by Ministers rested with the Accessible Public Transport Jurisdictional Committee (APTJC) with the Accessible Public Transport National Advisory Committee (APTNAC) supporting APTJC in an advisory capacity and the Aviation Access Working Group (AAWG) progressing work in relation to aviation matters.