Extension of temporary exemptions: Australasian Railways Association

The Australian Human Rights Commission (‘the Commission') gives notice of its decision, on 31 January 2012, on an application by the Australasian Railways Association on behalf of its members for further temporary exemptions pursuant to section 55 of the Disability Discrimination Act and part 33A of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport.

Decision Of The Commission

The Commission has decided to grant further exemptions so as to continue in effect until 31 December 2013 the exemption which was granted by the Commission on 7 September 2010 (available on its website). This exemption in turn extended the effect of exemptions granted by the Commission in 2007 (also available on the Commission’s website).

Consideration and Reasons

In making its decision, the Commission had regard to the terms and objects of the DDA; the application; one public submission received; a recommendation from its Director of Disability Rights Policy; and documents available on its website in relation to the prior exemptions granted to the Australasian Railways Association.

The applicants requested that the effect of the exemptions previously granted be extended to provide regulatory certainty while they

  • continue to undertake major purchasing and infrastructure works necessary to increase the provision of accessible rail public transport and
  • pursue regulatory recognition of a rail industry Code of Practice on accessibility developed with the intention of translating the obligations of the rail industry under the DDA, the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport and the current temporary exemptions into practical and detailed performance criteria.

Noting that the exemptions previously granted do not postpone provision of access or excuse non-provision, but rather seek to define in operational terms what the required access is, the Commission decided to grant the further exemption requested.

Review Of Decision

Subject to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision to which this notice relates by or on behalf of any person or persons whose interests are affected by the decision.

Dated this 1st day of February 2012

Signed on behalf of the Commission by Commissioner Graeme Innes AM