Every day, people with disabilities experience barriers that make it difficult to participate and work in the community. Their disabilities may be visible and obvious, such as use of a wheelchair, or invisible and non-obvious, such as breathing difficulties, or a prosthetic limb.
Barriers to accessibility may be physical, such as inaccessible streetscapes; social, such as a lack of information about public spaces; or attitudinal, such as assumptions that people with disability are not able participate in certain activities in public spaces. In addition, so many people with invisible disabilities also incur challenged accessibility.
So how do we address this accessibility issue in parking?
What is the legislative framework for disabled parking permits?
Australian Federal Disability Parking Scheme
The Australian Federal government aims to address this issue in parking accessibility through the Australian Disability Parking Scheme (ADPS). This includes an Australian Disability Parking Permit, which is recognised nationally. It also establishes nationally consistent eligibility criteria and national minimum parking concessions to help reduce the barriers for permit holders when travelling interstate [Source]. State and Territory Governments are responsible for the management of the ADPS.
New South Wales
New South Wales has a Disability Inclusion Action Plan which incorporates 4 key priorities towards actioning disability in NSW. These include:
- Priority 1: Developing positive community attitudes and behaviours.
- Priority 2: Creating liveable communities.
- Priority 3: Supporting access to meaningful employment.
- Priority 4: Improving access to mainstream services through better systems and processes.
Section 23 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with disability in relation to access to, and use of, any premises, including the public domain – usually the responsibility of local government.
Under the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 1994, each Local Government Association (Council) is tasked with responsibility to comply and report back publicly on its obligations, performance and commitment under the Disability Inclusion Action Planning Guidelines (DIAP).
In New South Wales, the Australian Disability Parking Permit is administered through Service NSW following, under the Mobility Parking Permit Scheme, and there is no fee for this. You can make an application for a permit here
Victoria had a recent generational reform of its Disability Parking Scheme in March 2021. [Source]. Significant changes have been made to the qualifying criteria in an attempt to reduce the misuse of the permits. Previously, the system was not unified because each of Victoria’s 79 Councils assessed disabled parking permits on different standards – there was no uniformity across the state. The reform means that now all Victorian Councils must use the same rules to make it fairer and easier for the more than 320,000 Victorians who need them.
Changes are also being made to the criteria to try to reduce the misuse of them. These include the adoption of technology, including a QR code which allows parking inspectors to check and authenticate whether a parking permit is valid or not.
You can apply for a Victorian Disabled Parking Permit here