Transport for People with Disability

Access to public transport is critical for people with disability to participate fully in community life and the economy. The National Disability Strategy (NDS) seeks to guide public policy across governments to ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians.

Supporting the 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 also allows disability standards to be formulated in a range of areas, including public transport. These standards spell out in detail, rights and obligations under the DDA, providing greater certainty about the DDA requirements. For more information on the DDA refer to the Attorney-General's Department.

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, Transport and Regional Development has responsibility for providing policy advice on the Transport Standards.

Part 34 of the Transport Standards requires the Minister, in consultation with the Attorney-General, to review their efficiency and effectiveness within 5 years after they take effect; and carry out a subsequent review every 5 years after the initial review.

The Review must consider 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.

Since the release of the Transport Standards there have been two reviews—the 2007 Review and the 2012 Review. Following the second review report and Australian Government response the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is working towards implementation of the review recommendations in collaboration with state and territory governments, public transport representative bodies and the disability sector. The major focus has been on the reform of the Transport Standards and development of The Whole Journey Guide.

Current developments

Reform of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002

The reform of the Transport Standards is underway and is being led by Queensland and the Australian Government. The reforms are being progressed by the National Accessible Transport Taskforce with guidance from the National Accessible Transport Steering Committee. At the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting on 2 August 2019, Ministers endorsed a forward work program for reforms to the Transport Standards.

The Third Review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards)

The third review of the Transport Standards is being undertaken by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications in consultation with the Attorney-General's Department. Once complete the Department will provide a final written report for consideration by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, in consultation with the Attorney-General. The Department anticipates that the report will be provided to Government in 2020.

Further information

For further information on the Transport Standards, please contact the Secretariat mailbox at: DisabilitiesTransportAccessSecretariat@infrastructure.gov.au

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Last Updated: 22 May, 2020