Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, said today that 1 May 2011, the day the Disability (Access to Premises – buildings) Standards 2010 commenced, would be remembered as the day many people who had been traditionally locked out of public buildings in our community were finally let in.
“The commencement of these Premises Standards is a momentous event in our community,” Commissioner Innes said. “They usher in significant changes to the way public buildings are designed, constructed and renovated, which means greater safety and accessibility for all Australians, whether they live with disability, are ageing or simply experience difficulty entering and using buildings for any other reason.”
Commissioner Innes said that for too long, a large sector of our community had been locked out of public buildings that everybody else could access freely.
The Premises Standards commenced today and herald the most important and widespread improvements in building access Australia has ever introduced.
At the same time, changes to the Building Code of Australia were also introduced which mirror and support the content of the Premises Standards, ensuring consistency between the two.
“A newfound synergy between the Premises Standards and the Building Code of Australia will ensure people with disability will be more able to participate in and contribute to the economic, cultural, social and political life of our community as equal citizens”, said Commissioner Innes.
“More than 10 years in development, the contributions and dedication of hundreds of people can finally be celebrated, from building professionals to developers, from people in the disability and ageing community to government workers at all levels”, Commissioner Innes said.
Commissioner Innes said that the changes will benefit every Australian and help to create a more adaptable and sustainable built environment as we move into the future, capable of responding to our changing circumstances and our family and community needs.
A Backgrounder, with more detailed information about the Standards and their effect, is on the Commission website at: www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/buildings/backgrounder.html
Media contact: Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529.