Akii was on a high, returning home via Adelaide from Australian Fashion Week in Sydney, where they participated as a model in the “Fix The System Not Me” adaptive clothing collective show. But Akii said that when they were being transported in the airline’s wheelchair through Adelaide Airport, Jetstar staff seemed to lack experience when handling people who required mobility support.
Former disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes is spearheading a fight to change the way people with disabilities are treated by airports and airlines after feeling “sick in the stomach” and “humiliated” when he passed through security at Adelaide Airport.
“It was very frustrating,” Jordan says. “The ideal is perfectly level access where you don’t need to rely on a driver to put down a ramp, you just drive your wheelchair straight on the train. They can do it in Atlanta, they can do it in Perth, they can do it in a lot of places around the world.”
The Andrews Labor Government has created a new Chief Accessibility Advocate role to provide advice and help improve accessibility across the Victorian transport network. Tricia Malowney OAM has been appointed in the new role. In addition, Liz Ellis has been appointed to the role of chair of the Accessible Transport Advisory Committee, with two new committee members, Melissa Hale and Martin Stewart, as well as the reappointment of Mark Tomkins.
Walking is the main way people get to bus stops, with 94% of users in Melbourne walking all or part of the way. This report – Getting to the Bus Stop (2021) – provides a comprehensive analysis of the safety and amenity of access to bus stops in Victoria.
But for those living with a disability easy access to accessible parking is not only desirable, but essential. And a new survey from the Australian Network on Disability found 80 per cent of respondents believed accessing suitable parking space was critical.
Commuters who use wheelchairs are taking legal action against the Victorian government and Melbourne’s tram operator over their failure to keep pace with federal standards for accessible public transport.
This includes upgrades at over 1,000 kerbside tram stops across Melbourne with features like braille plates and tactile ground markings – as well as improved lighting, weather protection and safer road markings at 42 priority stops.
People with permanent disabilities will no longer need to be reassessed by doctors every few years to renew their permit, instead they can qualify for one for life. Disability advocates have welcomed the changes but said more still needs to be done around enforcement and public awareness. “Even when you have a permit it’s hard to get a space and that seems to be consistent across most areas, there just aren’t enough spaces,” said Disability Resources Centre Advocate Kim Collinson.
A new Accessible Parking Permit scheme has been introduced across Victoria. The new scheme launched on 22 March, and is designed to create fairer outcomes and free up accessible parking bays for the people who need them the most.
Closing date: April 23, 2021
On February 12 2021, the Department published the Reform of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport: Consultation Regulation Impact Statement The Consultation RIS includes regulatory and non-regulatory reform options for 16 areas of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002. Your feedback will determine whether the proposed reform options will improve public transport accessibility for people with disability and whether they will enhance the public transport experience for all Australians. Forums will be held over two weeks commencing 12 April 2021 to support public participation.
Closing date: May 3, 2021
For 40 years The government is bound by the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 to make all tram stops accessible by the end of 2022, but over the last 20 years there has been so little progress that there is now no possible way they can meet this deadline. People with disabilities have been campaigning for equal access to independent travel for over 40 years, and at the current rate of change the system will finally be inclusive in 2066! We have waited long enough. Making public transport work for everyone must be an urgent priority in the 2021 budget. We all deserve the same rights to free movement and our community is richer and stronger when everyone can participate.
Victoria’s taxi industry has voiced fears its business will be further eroded now that people with a disability will be allowed to use a taxi subsidy on Uber.
Victorians with disability and accessibility needs now have more subsidised transport options, with rideshare service Uber being approved to offer subsidised trips through the Multi Purpose Taxi Program (MPTP). The MPTP subsidy covers 50 per cent of the cost of eligible participants’ trips, up to $60. The subsidy is automatically applied to the upfront price shown to the MPTP member before they request a trip through the Uber app.
A pilot of the new Accessible Parking Permit (APP) Scheme and online administration system is underway. They replace the previous Victorian Code for the Disabled Persons Parking Scheme and individual council administration systems. From Monday 30th November, residents and organisations located in limited Council areas who require a new permit or need to renew or replace their current permit will apply online through the new system. It is anticipated that the remaining Victorian councils will transition to the new Scheme and APP Online Service in 2021.