Conciliated outcomes: Access to premises

Updated October 2009. For more recent outcomes please refer to the Commission's conciliation register

Reminder: Conciliated settlements are usually made without admission of liability and may not provide firm precedents for the outcome in other cases. See also our guidelines on access to buidlings and services

2009

Guide dog access

A man who is blind and uses a guide dog complained that when he and his family went to a restaurant to order take away food he was asked to leave. The complaint was resolved when the restaurant manager apologised for not having know about guide dog access rules, and undertook to arrange staff training on access and place a “Guide Dog Welcome” sticker at the front of the shop.

Hearing access

A man who has a hearing impairment complained that when he attended a lecture series at a public venue he was unable to hear the lectures as there was no audio loop installed in the theatre. The complaint was resolved with the respondent agreeing to provide an apology, a refund of $85.00 for the lectures and install an audio hearing loop in the theatre.

Local solutions

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that a local fast food outlet had failed to provide wheelchair accessible toilet facilities and that the local council had permitted the discrimination. The fast food provider advised that it had taken steps to provide accessible toilet facilities in many of its outlets, but not in the complainant's local store. Without admission of liability, the fast food provider agreed to provide accessible toilet facilities in the complainant's local store within twelve months of the lease being renewed. The respondent council advised that although there had been no recent development application through which it could review access at the specific store concerned it would agree to inquire into a number of local access issues raised by the complainant.

Accessible payment for parking

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that local parking meters were not accessible which had led to her being fined for not having a parking ticket. The complaint was quickly resolved with the respondent agreeing to waive the parking fine and ensure its payment systems are modified to provide accessible options.

Disabled access enabled

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that a stair lifter, installed to enable people who use wheelchairs to access the local cinema, had been out of order for several months. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to install a new and more reliable lifting device.

2008

Sign here

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that he had been unable to find accessible toilet facilities in a large shopping centre. The complaint was resolved when the centre management apologised and installed improved signage to enable the accessible facilities to be found more easily.

Access and secure facilities

A woman who uses walking sticks because of her disability complained that she had not been permitted, because of security policies, to use her sticks when visiting her son in a correctional facility. The complaint was resolved when the authorities responsible agreed to make their own mobility aids available for visitor use.

Can we fix it, yes we can

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that access to her local hardware store was only available via a portable ramp which she considered unsafe and unreliable. The complaint was resolved when the shop agreed to seek council approval for a permanent ramp.

Be alerted not alarmed

A man who is deaf complained that security screening devices and fire alarms at a government building provided only audible warnings and no visible alerts. He complained that the safety and dignity of deaf members of the public using the building were put at risk by this failure. The complaint was settled when the building management agreed to install visual warning systems.

Accessible arts

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that a major publicly funded arts facility did not have public lift access, so that patrons requiring lift access needed to arrange to be met by staff and accompanied through goods lifts and otherwise off limits areas. The complaint was settled with an agreement to install appropriate public lift access.

Footpath policy

A woman who is blind complained that a city council was proposing to approve a footpath trading policy which would permit barriers to people with vision impairments. The complaint was resolved when the council agreed to consult organisations representing blind and vision impaired people before proceeding further with the policy.

Accessible parking

A man who has a mobility impairment complained that there were no disability parking spaces near to his children's school. The complaint was resolved when the respondent, the local council, assisted in negotiating provision of an accessible parking space by the school.

Washroom access improved

A man who uses a scooter because of a mobility impairment complained that toilet facilities provided by his local council were too difficult to enter. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to install external and internal grab rails to assist entry for people who had limited ability to walk, and to investigate possibilities for direct scooter access in future development of facilities.

Safe crossing

A man who has a vision impairment complained that the only crossing provided for a major road in his area was by means of waiting for gaps in traffic at a roundabout, which was particularly unsafe for people with limited vision or mobility or both. The complaint was resolved when the State roads authority agreed to fund an audit of pedestrian movement in the area and then supported installation of a marked crossing to the local authority with control over the section of road.

Power wheelchair access in protected area

A man who uses an electric wheelchair complained that he was unable to visit a natural heritage area without planning and seeking permission in advance, since restrictions placed by the responsible authority on bringing vehicles to the area without a permit, in the interests of protecting a fragile environment, also applied to power wheelchairs. The complaint was resolved when the authority agreed to remove the regulatory restriction and instead rely on the general power and ability of rangers to intervene in any cases where visitors acted in a way which endangered the environment.

Meeting access requirements

A disability advocate complained that he had been unable to participate in a conference because of access limitations at the venue. The complaint was resolve when the organisers apologised and advised that they had adopted a checklist based on the accessible events materials developed by Meetings Events Australia in conjunction with the Commission.

Excessive use of force …

A woman with a physical disability complained that the doors at her local library required too much force for her to be able to open them. The complaint was resolved when the local government body responsible agreed to have the doors adjusted to meet applicable Australian Standards.

Access for parent with disability

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that the only ramp access to the restaurant in a local hotel was through the gaming area, which children were not permitted to enter, so that she could not accompany her children to the restaurant. The complaint was resolved when the hotel agreed to provide all a ramp for all ages access within 6 months.

Accessible facilities at shopping mall

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that a large shopping mall in a regional town did not provide accessible toilets. The complaint was resolved when the management agreed to upgrade facilities to provide access within 3 months.

Access to play area

A mother whose children have an allergy requiring them to carry an epipen complained that her children were not permitted to enter the play area at a store unless she entered and remained in the play area with them. The complaint was settled when the store agreed that the children could use the play area so long as the mother remained within sight.

Shopping centre access with assistance animals

A woman who uses an assistance animal complained that she had not been permitted to be accompanied by her animal in a shopping centre. The complaint was resolved when centre management advised that in response to the complaint they had developed a policy on assistance animal access for all centres in their chain.

Access to theatre

A woman who uses a wheelchair after experiencing a stroke complained that there was no accessible toilet at a local arts theatre and that the main entrance was not accessible. The complaint was resolved when the theatre group advised that it did not itself have the funds to install accessible toilets it would apply for funding from relevant arts funding bodies; and that although site constraints prevented installation of permanent ramp access at the front entrance, a suitable portable ramp would be acquired.

Guide dog access

A woman who uses a guide dog complained that she had been told to leave a pharmacy because she was accompanied by her guide dog. The complaint was resolved when the pharmacy apologised, and advised that its anti-discrimination policy, which only covered discrimination against staff, would be revised to cover discrimination against customers including customers with disability.

2007

  • A man who uses a wheelchair complained that a restaurant's accessible toilet facilities were not in fact accessible as handrails had not been fitted. The complaint wa resolved when the venue apologised and undertook to install handrails as required.

  • A man who uses a guide dog complained that he had been refused access to a bar. The complaint was resolved with an apology and a commitment to improve staff training on access issues.

  • A woman with a physical disability complained that a café in her town lacked an accessible entrance or accessible toilet facilities. The complaint was resolved when the café completed works to provide ramp access, replace a push door with an automatic door, and make its toilets accessible including fitting door closing devices and swing handled taps.

  • A man who is blind complained that he had been refused entry to a music venue when accompanied by his guide dog. The complaint was settled when the venue apologised and arranged disability awareness training for its staff.
  • A mother complained that when she and her son, who uses a wheelchair, visited a restaurant , the toilets were not accessible. The complaint was settled when the respondent advised that the toilets would be renovated to include provision of disability access.
  • A man who uses a wheelchair complained that the accessible toilets at his local railway station were locked and it took too long for staff to attend to open the facility. The complaint was settled when the rail authority agreed to fit a MLAK lock (master locksmiths' standard lock) and provide the complainant with a key.
  • A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that there were no accessible toilets at a hotel she attended for a wedding. The complaint was settled when the hotel advised that it was upgrading access including the toilet facilities.
  • A man who uses a wheelchair complained that footpaths in his local area were inaccessible through having a crossfall in excess of Australian Standards and kerb ramps being inadequate. The complaint was resolved when the local government authority agreed that footpaths being upgraded in the course of development works would meet the standards concerned.
  • A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that when she attended an event at a club there were no accessible toilets available. The complaint was resolved when the club apologised, agreed to pay $1000 compensation and advised that it had commenced work to provide access.
  • A woman complained that when she visited a nightclub with a friend who uses a guide dog they had been refused entry on the basis that the club believed it was required to exclude all animals since food was served on the premises. The complaint was resolved when the club agreed to pay $500 compensation, apologized and acknowledged that exclusion of guide dogs had been in error.
  • A woman who has MS and uses a wheelchair complained that her local swimming pool was not accessible since the hoist installed for pool access was limited to 100kg loading. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to install an upgraded hoist.
  • In another case, a woman who uses a wheelchair complained that the pool lift at a swim centre had been removed making the pool inaccessible to her. The complaint was resolved when the centre reinstated the lift and undertook to have a staff member attend an AusSwim course in teaching swimming for people with disabilities.
  • A man who has a physical disability complained that a State government authority had held a community consultation on service provision in his region in inaccessible premises. The complaint was resolved with an undertaking that the authority would ensure that all future consultations were conducted in accessible venues.
  • A man who uses a wheelchair complained that several areas in his local hotel were inaccessible to him. The complaint was resolve with an agreement to provide access to the sports bar, bistro and beer garden within 12 months.
  • A mother complained that when she visited a restaurant with her son who uses a wheelchair there were no accessible toilets. The complaint was resolved when the respondent advised that renovations had commenced including provision of accessible facilities.
  • A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that the accessible toilets in a shopping centre were kept locked (while other toilets were not) and thus were not accessible when needed. The complaint was resolved when the respondent advised that facilities would now be unlocked when the shop was open and that doors had been upgraded for easier access in accordance with relevant Australian Standards.
  • A man who has an acquired brain injury had been banned from a hotel for prior incidents of inappropriate behaviour. He complained that, although he now understood and accepted the justification of the previous ban, it was discriminatory not to give him an opportunity to demonstrate that he could now behave appropriately. The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the man could attend the hotel for a trial period when accompanied by an appropriate support person to assist him in monitoring his behaviour.
  • A man who uses a wheelchair complained that local footpaths were frequently inaccessible to him. Footpaths were located at the kerb edge with a nature strip between them and the property line, rather than the other way around, with the result that paths were frequently blocked by household rubbish bins. The complaint was resolved when the council advised that a number of paths were being relocated and that residents had been provided with information on keeping access paths clear.
  • A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that her local hotel was inaccessible to her. The complaint was resolved when the hotel advised that a portable ramp had been acquired and a buzzer installed to aler staff to the need for ramp access.

2006

School crossing access improved

A mother who is blind complained she could not take her children safely to school because of a lack of traffic signals to enable safe crossing of the road. The complaint was settled when the roads authority agreed to install traffic lights by the end of 2006 and to assist with the cost of taxi fares until that time.

Cinema facilities upgraded

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that at one cinema venue accessible toilets were lacking and at another the toilet intended to be accessible had doors too heavy to open and fixtures set too high. The complaint was settled with an agreement to upgrade toilets to meet relevant Australian Standards within 3 months.

Scooter access to club

A man who uses a scooter complained that his local club refused him entry unless he could transfer unaided from his scooter to a wheelchair provided by the club. The club had raised safety concerns regarded use of scooters inside the premises. The matter was settled when the club advised it had adopted a mobility devices policy under which scooters and other mobility devices would be permitted to enter, after explanation of safety issues including maximum 3kmh speed and provision for excluding people operating mobility devices unsafely.

Access to public events

A woman who has arthritis complained that no provision had been made for disability access at a street festival organised by her local council. The matter was resolved when the council agreed to develop and publish a disability access plan for public events within 6 months.

Jetty access provided

A woman complained that her daughter was unable to use a local jetty as it did not provide wheelchair access. The complaint was settled when the State government department responsible advised that the jetty would be refurbished to provide access.

Shopping centre access improved

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that her local shopping centre was not fully accessible. The complaint was settled when the respondents agreed to ensure kerb ramps at all footpaths around the centre within 3 months; fit a sliding door to at least one accessible toilet within 3 months and upgrade other accessible toilets within 12 months; increase the number of disability parking bays from 3 to seven; study the feasibility of installing lifts from the car park and provide assistance when required in using travelators

Accessible toilets - installation corrected

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that the toilet facilities at her local sports club, although intended to be accessible, were not accessible to her because the seat was too low for her and lower than indicated by the relevant Australian Standard (which although not directly in force as part of the DDA provides a guide to what reasonable access involves). The complaint was resolved when the installation was altered to comply with the Australian Standard.

Facilities at outdoor concert

A woman complained that when her teenage son, who uses a wheelchair, attended an outdoor concert, the unisex accessible toilet was locked and he had been required to use the women's toilets with resulting embarrassment to himself and others. The complaint was resolved when the event organisers apologised, advised that they had specific procedures in place to prevent such incidents happening, were conducting a detailed internal investigation to establish why those procedures had not been successful on this occasion, and offered the boy and a companion free entry to a further event.

Food for the body ...

A woman whose son uses a wheelchair complained that a local food outlet was inaccessible due to a step at the entrance and heavy doors. The complaint was resolved when the respondent advised that a contractor had been engaged to install automatic doors and ramp entry.

... and for the soul

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that his local church was not accessible to him. The matter was settled when the parish advised that plans for 1:14 ramp access were to be submitted to council and fundraising for construction commenced.

Venue access upgraded

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that when he attended an event at a major public venue access to toilet facilities was inadequate with insufficient signage, doors too heavy to open and insufficient room. The matter was settled when the respondent advised that signage had been upgraded and refurbishment of toilets commenced.

Choice of seating

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that he had been discriminated against by a concert promoter because there was no accessible seating in the premium section for a concert he wished to attend.

The complaint was settled when the promoter advised that although it was unable itself to alter the seating provided by venues it would continue to make clear to venues its strong preference for provision of accessible seating in all price categories.

Accessible parking at Commonwealth agency

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that disability parking spaces at the local office of a Commonwealth government service provider were inadequate. The complaint was settled when the parking was upgraded to meet relevant Australian Standards.

2005

An accessible day at the races

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that a racing venue did not provide accessible toilets or access to the upstairs viewing area. The complaint was settled when the respondent venue agreed to apply to its parent racing association for funding to achieve the required access upgrades within six months.

Accessible club facilities

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that a local club did not provide accessible toilet facilities. The matter was resolved when the club advised that plans had been submitted for approval and undertook that construction would commence as soon as possible after approval was obtained.

Security screening and guide dog users

A man who is blind and uses a guide dog complained that he had been discriminated against when, while undergoing security screening, he had been told to remove his guide dog's harness or he would have his dog confiscated , and was threatened with arrest when he said he could not read a document he was asked to read. The complaint was settled when the security contractor involved agreed to ensure training for all staff on its policies on screening passengers with disabilities and to use the incidents complained of as case studies in that training .

Wheelchair access to boat ramps and jetties

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that none of the jetties or boat ramps in his local area were accessible to him. The complaint was settled when the respondent agreed to have prepared a report on construction of accessible facilities, to seek allocation of funds for construction of such facilities and to submit a development application within 3 months.

Disability parking upgraded

A man whose wife has a mobility disability resulting from a stroke complained that designated disability parking spaces in their local area were not wide enough to permit safe loading and unloading passengers using wheelchairs and did not provide a flat surface. The complaint was settled when the respondent Council agreed to review parking spaces for compliance with Australian Standards.

Function centre access improved

A woman who uses a walking frame complained that access to a function centre was inadequate in a number of respects, including that accessible toilets had no doors. The complaint was resolved when centre management agreed to carry out modifications including fitting of lockable doors.

Accessible parking improved

A man who has a mobility impairment complained that it was not possible for him to find accessible parking at a sports venue. The matter was resolved after the venue advised that it had improved signage and training of staff to ensure that patrons who required accessible parking were directed to it.

Ramp access to shop

A father complained on behalf of his son, who has muscular dystrophy and uses an electric wheelchair, that he was unable to access a clothing store because of a lack of ramp access. The complaint was made against the landlord as under the lease the store could not alter the exterior access itself. The complaint was resolved when the landlord advised that a removable ramp had been provided together with a call button to have the ramp positioned by store staff.

Parking access restored

A woman with a physical disability complained that the disability parking spot at her local shops had been removed. The complaint was resolved when the parking spot was restored.

Directional indicators installed

A man with a vision impairment complained that a walkway and crossing leading to a hotel entrance was difficult and dangerous for him to negotiate because of a lack of directional tactile tiles. The respondent advised that it was willing to install these tiles but had been frustrated in this intention by the confusing nature of relevant Australian Standards and conflicting interpretation of these. The complaint was resolved when directional tiles were installed.

Access to toilet facilities

A man who has a mobility impairment complained that entry to the accessible toilets at a fast food restaurant required asking counter staff for a key, while other customers could use the toilets without this embarrassing interaction. The restaurant advised that the accessible toilet was kept locked to prevent misuse including drug use. The matter was settled when the restaurant advised it was willing to install a MLAK lock (standardised locks for which people with disabilities can have their own key issued.)

Shopping centre signage for vision impaired customers

A woman who has a vision impairment complained that a shopping centre only provided overhead visual signs for locating shops and facilities. The complaint was settled when the centre agreed to install tactile and Braille signage at all toilets and to assist in locating toilets, and to install a tactile wayfinding map.

Footpath access

A woman who has a vision impairment complained that her local Council was failing to enforce its policies on footpath access against shops which were encroaching onto the footpath with displays. The matter was settled when the Council agreed to issue warnings to businesses identified in the complaint and to revise its policy in consultation with people with disabilities.

Reaction to pesticides

A man complained that he was unable to access the premises of a tenant in an office building because he had an adverse reaction to pesticides used in an automatic dispenser in the lifts. The matter was settled when the building management advised that the dispenser had been removed.

2004

Heritage barriers to access evaporate for coffee shop

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that on a visit to Sydney she had been unable to access a coffee shop as both entrances had steps. The respondent indicated that there were difficulties with providing access as the premises had heritage value, but agreed to raise the matter with the Australian Heritage Commission (which provides information on upgrading heritage premises for access). The complaint was settled with an agreement to provide ramp access at one of the entrances.

Reaction to pesticides

A man complained that he was unable to access the premises of a tenant in an office building because he had an adverse reaction to pesticides used in an automatic dispenser in the lifts. The matter was settled when the building management advised that the dispenser had been removed.

Shopping access improved

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that a music shop in his regional centre did not provide access except through the back door and that the local Council had permitted this to occur. The complaint against the Council was settled when the Council agreed to prepare an access plan and to investigate upgrading disability access signage in the town. The complaint against the music shop was settled with an agreement to clearly designate an accessible parking space in the cark park at the rear of the shop.

Beach access improved

A man whose wife uses a wheelchair complained that a wooden walkway at her local beach did not provide non-discriminatory access: the boards were spaced too far apart for wheelchair users; the ramp was too steep; the walkway lacked a safety rail below the handrail; and the walkway ended at the high tide mark and so did not provide access to the water. The matter was settled when the respondent Council advised that although engineering advice indicated the boardwalk could not feasibly be upgraded to provide a fully accessible path of travel, plans were being prepared for a concrete path which would meet access standards while also meeting environmental requirements (including not affecting regeneration areas). The couple informed the Commission they were very pleased with the outcome.

Fair go

A woman with a physical disability complained that toilet facilities provided at a fair in a rural area had not included accessible toilet facilities (the nearest such facilities publicly available allegedly being 30 kilometres away) and that the Council had permitted the fair to go ahead on this basis. The matter was settled when the fair organisers apologised and stated that accessible portable facilities which had been ordered had failed to arrive, and Council advised that permanent accessible facilities had been approved and would be constructed for the next fair.

Hotel access checked

A woman who has a physical disability complained that hotel access did not fully comply with relevant Australian Standards. The complaint was settled when the hotel agreed to improve disability awareness training for its managers and to undertake an audit of implementation of a previous access audit.

Shopping centre access

A woman with physical disabilities who uses a walking stick complained that she had been discriminated against when a shopping centre refused her permission to leave her own mobility equipment at the information desk (as she had previously been permitted to do) while she did her shopping using a "power shopper" scooter provided by the centre. The matter was settled when the centre apologised and advised that the incident had been a misunderstanding rather than a policy change to withdraw its previous access arrangements.

Shopping centre signage

A woman with a vision impairment complained that signage at a shopping centre which was undergoing refurbishment did not comply with the requirements of the building code. The matter was settled with an agreement to install within one month signage which complied, including raised or embossed rather than engraved signs on washroom doors to enable them to be read.

Library access

A woman who has a vision impairment complained that a council library building did not provide non-discriminatory access because of a lack of accessible room signage and way finding including Braille indicators in lifts. The matter was settled when the council advised that improved signage would be addressed in an action plan.

Access to swimming area

A man with disabilities affecting mobility complained that he had been discriminated against by a water authority prohibiting motor vehicle access to a swimming spot. The matter was resolved when the authority issued a permit sticker allowing vehicle access to those parts of the area where vehicles did not present unacceptable environmental risks.

Carer access

The father of a girl who has an intellectual disability and physical disabilities and is dependent on attendant care complained that when she was taken by her carer on an excursion to an amusement park the carer was also required to purchase a ticket. The matter was settled without admission of liability when the park advised it had joined a State government based companion card scheme.

Post office access

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that he could not access his local post office because the ramp gradient was too steep (1 in 8). The complaint was settled when the respondent advised that it would be modifying the ramp and was seeking local government approval for that purpose and seeking funds to secure priority for the work.

Access to facilities at park

A number of people with physical disabilities complained that their local council had discriminated against them in that toilet facilities at a park were not accessible. The complaint was resolved when the council installed accessible toilets and parking facilities.

Access to swimming pool

A woman who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair complained that a city swimming pool lacked lift access for people who have mobility disabilities to enter the pool. The respondent at first indicated that lift access could not be provided at a "wet edge" pool as this one was. However the complaint was settled when the respondent agreed to install an appropriate hoist within 12 months.

Access to restaurant with guide dog

A woman who is blind and uses a guide dog complained that she and her partner were refused admission to a restaurant because she had her guide dog with her. The complaint was settled when the restaurant agreed to improve training for employees on disability issues and to include a note in its advertising material that guide dogs were welcome.

Cinema access

A man who uses a walking stick and wears a leg brace because of a disability complained that a cinema did not have any accessible seating for him. The complaint was settled with an apology and an agreement to improve signage and provide seating allocation for people with ambulant disabilities.

Parking at club

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that although her club had designated accessible parking spaces these were not policed and on occasion she had been forced to return home for lack of accessible parking. The complaint was settled when the club advised that it had formalised a parking policy including a system of notices to be placed on improperly parked cars.

Footpath access

A woman with a mobility impairment complained that pavement being relaid outside her home would be inaccessible due to steep gradient. The complaint was settled when the council agreed to redesign the pavement to conform to a 1 in 14 gradient.

Fast food restaurant access

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that a local fast food restaurant lacked accessible toilets, and that the council had approved the premises without requiring access. The complaint against the restaurant was resolved when the restaurant chain advised that it had a policy for all new outlets to be accessible; that all outlets which had been upgraded in the last 4 years also had been made accessible; and that the particular location complained about would be made accessible in 2005. The complaint against the council was withdrawn when the council advised that when the plans were approved it had lacked power to require access beyond that specified in the Building Code at the time; but agreed that it would establish a disability advisory committee and develop a disability action plan.

Another case in the same area was also settled when another fast food chain advised that provision of an accessible toilet in its local restaurant would be included in an upgrade scheduled for 2005. A complaint against the council in this matter for approving inaccessible premises was withdrawn when the council confirmed that approval had occurred in 1992 before the DDA entered into force.

Guide dog access to café

A woman who is blind complained that a café refused to serve her when accompanied by her guide dog unless she sat outside. The complaint was settled with an apology and an agreement to ensure that staff received disability awareness training.

Assistance dog access

A man who uses an assistance dog because of a range of disabilities complained that he was being discriminated against when a store refused to provide him with access when accompanied by his dog unless the dog was recognised by the local government authority. The complaint was settled with payment of financial compensation.

Accurate information on access limitations

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that she had booked a restaurant with friends after being told there were two steps so assisted access would be possible, but found there were several more steps, so that she could not enter because of fear of being dropped. The restaurant advised that the constraints of the building prevented installation of safe ramp access. The complaint was settled however with an agreement to ensure that accurate information was provided to all prospective patrons on access limitations of the venue and to re-examine possibilities for improved access in any renovations.

2003

Audio/tactile signals at intersection

A man who is blind complained that a crossing at a busy intersection was not accessible to him because there were no audible or tactile signals installed. The complaint was settled when the roads authority installed signals and advised that all new crossings had signals installed and existing crossings were upgraded where a particular need was brought to their attention.

Disability parking improved

A woman who has multiple sclerosis and uses walking sticks complained that disability parking spaces at a shopping centre were unsafe because they were on a slope, and were not sufficient in number. The matter was settled when the shopping centre agreed to regrade the parking area and to increase the number of disability parking spaces to at least the number indicated by relevant Australian Standards.

Bank access

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that his local bank premises were not accessible because of two steps at the entrance. The complaint was settled when the bank agreed to pay $5000 compensation, to lodge an action plan, and advised that it was relocating the branch to an accessible building.

Shop access unblocked

Two people with mobility impairments (one who uses a wheelchair and one who uses a walking stick) complained that a shop was inaccessible to them because of the amount of stock stacked in the aisles. The complaint was settled when the shop advised it had rearranged stick to provide better access for all customers.

Changing room access

A man who has paraplegia complained that the hydrotherapy pool changing room at a medical centre did not provide independent access for him. The matter was settled when the respondents agreed to install a bench meeting the complainant's needs.

Disability parking access improved

A person with a disability complained that disability parking was located in such a way that people had to travel 20 metres on the open road rather than having ramp access via the footpath. The matter was settled with an agreement to relocate the parking spaces to provide safe access.

Supermarket access

A man with a disability complained that his local supermarket only provided one accessible checkout lane and that this was frequently closed. The complaint was settled when the supermarket undertook to make express checkouts more accessible and to remove a railing between two other checkouts so that either could be used by people using wheelchairs.

Theatre seating access

A woman whose daughter has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair complained that an arts centre provided spaces for wheelchair users only at the back of the theatre with a poor view. The arts centre advised that it had plans to provide improved seating options by 2005. The complaint was settled when the respondent agreed to bring this forward to February 2004.

Footpath access improved

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that footpaths in his area were difficult and dangerous to negotiate because of bumps, tree roots and café tables and chairs. The matter was settled when the council advised that it had adopted a footpath trading policy requiring clear lines of passage for people with mobility or vision impairments, and had prioritised capital works for footpath repairs.

Access to council chambers

A council member who uses a wheelchair and a scooter complained that existing and newly built council premises were not accessible to him. The matter was settled when the council apologised, advised that doors which were difficult to open were being modified, and paid $6000 compensation.

Unsafe access is not access

A blind university student complained that there was no footpath provided from the street entrance to a point one kilometre inside the University premises, and that walking along the road did not provide him with safe access. The complaint was resolved when the University advised that works were being undertaken to provide a footpath and that transport from the entrance would be provided until completion of those works.

Supermarket checkout access

A man who has a mobility impairment complained that his local supermarket only provided one accessible checkout lane and that this was frequently closed. The matter was settled when the supermarket agreed to make all checkout lanes accessible.

Electoral access

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that a polling booth which was advertised as accessible for a State election was not in fact accessible. The matter was settled with an agreement for the respondent Electoral Commission to improve its access audit form in consultation with people with disabilities and revise its disability action plan.

Footpath access

A man who lives in a rural area complained that footpaths in his area were not wheelchair accessible. The complaint was settled when the council agreed to install kerb ramps at 8 key locations.

Wheelchair access to cinema

A woman who has a physical disability and uses an electric wheelchair complained that access at her local cinema was provided only by means of a stair climber and her wheelchair was too big to utilise this, so she had to be transferred to a manual wheelchair. She found this to be both undignified and painful.

The complaint was resolved when the respondent agreed to install a platform lift which was accessible to the complainant within twelve months.

Access to local restaurant

A woman and her family planned to go to lunch at a restaurant in a new building development for her daughter's birthday. Her daughter uses an electric wheelchair. The complainant rang the restaurant to confirm that access could be provided for her daughter using a stair climber that the restaurant had previously told the complainant they use. She states that she was informed by the restaurant that this device could only transport small push type wheelchairs up the steps to the restaurant. The complainant states that her daughter was thus unable to enter the restaurant.

The complainant contacted the local council to complain about the fact that her daughter could not access the restaurant. The council advised her that the plans submitted for the development application had included a lift and the council was currently negotiating with the restaurant to provide a lift to the premises. The complaint was resolved informally. The respondent agreed to install a lift in the premises by November 2003 and to place an advertisement in the local newspaper stating the restaurant's intention to install the lift.

Access to local hotel

A woman who uses a wheelchair and her son complained that after they visited their local hotel for dinner she had to exit the hotel by being carried down two steps by her son as the kitchen through which she entered the premises was closed.

The lessee of the hotel agreed to provide the complainants with a written apology in a form acceptable to the complainant. The manager also agreed to provide a disability toilet and disability access to the hotel with appropriate signage within six months of the agreement. The owner of the Hotel agreed to assist the lessee with some of the costs associated with the installation of a disability toilet and disability access.

Access to cinema

A woman who uses a wheelchair alleged that as she waited in line to enter a cinema a staff member approached her and advised that she could not see the film as the cinema was not wheelchair accessible. The complainant and her husband replied that they intended to see the film and already had tickets. On entering the building they noted that there were 6-7 steps leading to the cinema. The complainant's husband asked staff for assistance in carrying her up the stairs seated in her wheelchair. They declined to assist for occupational health and safety reasons. The complainant's husband pulled the wheelchair up the stairs unaided and down again at the end of the film. The complainant alleged discrimination in access to premises and the provision of goods and services.

The respondent cinema acknowledged that the incident had not been handled well. The respondent advised that it operated a 2 cinema complex in an old building and plans had already been submitted to Council to upgrade the facility to include 4 cinemas, all with wheelchair access. To settle the complaint the respondent agreed to provide a written apology, five hundred dollars compensation and to complete the building works as soon as practicable. The estimated date of completion is 31 December 2003.

Access to toilet facility in shopping centre

A woman who has a mobility disability, visited a shopping centre in a large town. When she tried to use the wheelchair accessible toilet she found that it was locked. She sought assistance in a nearby shoe shop and was told to contact Centre management on another floor. The person was vague about the exact location. Eventually the complainant located a security officer who unlocked the toilet for her. At this stage she was too distressed to continue shopping with her friend.

The respondent confirmed that the accessible toilet was kept locked at all times and that local people are provided with a key on payment of a $5.00 refundable deposit. The respondent advised that the local disability access committee had approved the decision to keep the toilet locked because this was seen as a way to keep drug users out of the facility and to keep the facility clean. The respondent advised that the adjacent female toilet also had an accessible toilet but acknowledged that there was no signage.

To settle the complaint the respondent agreed to place signs on the doors of the male and female toilets indicating that they each had an accessible toilet cubicle. The respondent also agreed to place a sign on the unisex accessible toilet advising how to obtain a key and to install an intercom system to enable a person in a wheelchair to summon a security person quickly.

Access to public toilet

A man with a vision impairment entered an accessible toilet in a shopping centre with his carer. His carer was present to check the premises for "sharps". The complainant alleged that a security guard banged loudly on the door and demanded that he leave as the toilet as intended for wheelchair users only. The complainant opened the door and tried to show the security guard his "blind pension" card but claims the guard was not interested. It is alleged the security guard called for back up and insisted that the two men leave the toilet.

The complainant and his carer went to the centre manager's office to complain but he claims the manager made offensive comments to him such as "I learned to go to the toilet on my own when I was three years old".

The respondent confirmed that the toilet may be used by any person with a disability, not only people who use wheelchairs. The respondent alleged that the two men had been seen acting suspiciously before entering the toilet and it was suspected that they were drug users. The complaint was resolved by the respondent agreeing to pay two thousand dollars compensation and to review its staff training on disability issues.

Access to premises with guide dog

A man who is blind and uses a guide dog complained that when he and his wife entered a café to purchase some food the proprietor told them that they had to leave the café. He stated that he later returned to the café and presented his guide dog owners pass and politely explained its contents but that the proprietor simply repeated that no dogs were allowed in the café and that it was a council regulation.

The cafe agreed to pay the complainant $1000 and provide a written apology.

Hospital visit with assistance animal

A man who is HIV positive and suffers from depression and anxiety complained that when he went to visit a friend in hospital he was refused access because he was accompanied by a disability assistance animal registered as an assistance animal under state animal registration legislation. The complainant noted he had been able to access other hospitals in the same state without any difficulties.

The Hospital responded that clinical areas were restricted and visitors with or without animals were permitted only where the patient could not communicate or was in a critical condition, neither of which had applied in this case. However, the hospital agreed to update its policy on guide dogs to include assistance animals and to make the policy available on its website. The complaint was resolved on this basis.

Restaurant access with assistance animal

A woman who uses a wheelchair and uses an assistance dog complained that when she attended a restaurant she was asked to leave the dog outside and queried why she required the use of an assistance animal. The respondent denied less favourable treatment and indicated that the complainant had misinterpreted the discussion which occurred. At a conciliation conference the matter was resolved with an apology from the restaurant manager, an inter-store memorandum for distribution to all stores nationally advising staff about assistance animals, and a voucher for the complaint and her guests to attend the restaurant again.

Footpath access restored

A man who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair complained that the footpath adjacent to his home had been blocked for a number of months by barricades due to a neighbour's plans to demolish a garage adjacent to the footpath. No alternative path around the barriers had been provided and he had been unable to get to the shops and the nearest bus stop.

When the Commission contacted the local Council about the matter the Council immediately contacted the owner of the garage to have the barriers removed. The work was completed and the barriers removed within a few days and the complainant was satisfied with this outcome.

2002

Parking spaces

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that her local council had not provided adequate disabled parking spaces in a car park at the beach near her home or near the local hospital. The council advised the Commission that it had installed two disabled parking spaces at the car park near the beach and that the current disabled parking spaces near the hospital had been widened to 3.2 metres and were now in accord with Australia Standards.The complainant advised the Commission that she was satisfied with the outcome.

Access to restaurant with guide dog

A woman who is blind and uses a guide dog complained that when she went to a restaurant she and her son were informed by the proprietor that she would not be permitted to sit in the indoor section. She stated that the reasons given by the proprietor were that the other patrons of the café might be offended, that her guide dog might cause damage for which the proprietor would be liable and that the proprietor had the right to refuse service to anyone.

After several phone discussions with the complainant and the respondent, the matter was resolved on the basis of a letter of apology being signed by the proprietor of the café. In that letter the proprietor agreed to continue to make his staff aware of the Disability Discrimination Act and apologised for any distress caused.

Public convenience improved

A farmer who uses a wheelchair complained that when he traveled to the nearest town for provisions, the "accessible" public toilet was not in fact accessible, due to the positioning of the door and the placement of the washbasin inside the door. The matter was resolved when the council had the interior fittings realigned and upgraded and arranged for installation of a new outward-opening door.

Stadium access

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that there was insufficient accessible seating at a recently constructed major sports venue. The complaint was settled when the venue agreed to develop a policy for seating complying with the most recent Building Code of Australia edition; ensure at least 1 in 200 seats are wheelchair accessible seating; and give priority to people with disabilities in booking these seats until a week before events.

One small step, one giant leap

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that access to her local shop was prevented by a single step at the entrance. The store agreed that the current practice of serving people with disabilities on the pavement outside was not adequate. The complaint was settled with the store commencing building of a ramp.

Caravan park facilities

A woman with a mobility impairment complained that a caravan park did not have accessible toilet facilities. The complaint was settled when the park advised that accessible facilities were being constructed.

2001

Prompt steps taken

A man with a vision impairment complained that he could not safely use steps on a pedestrian walkway in a major city, because he could not see the outline of the steps. The matter was settled when within four weeks after being contacted by the Commission the responsible authority marked the edge of each step with a contrasting line.

Getting customers through the door

Two groups of people who are blind or use wheelchairs complained that the local shopping centre had inadequate access. The respondent investigated the issues and an agreement was negotiated to improve entrances, signage, install a new lift and modify existing lift, improve car park and lighting, improve access to stairs and install tactile indicators, and relocate and improve toilets.

Smoke free access

A man who is strongly allergic to cigarette smoke complained of having to pass by smoking people congregating around the entrance to his building on his way to and from his workplace which caused him physical discomfort. The respondent employer stated that, not being the property owner, it had no control over persons smoking around the entrance to the building. However it did arrange for access through an alternative entrance to avoid smoke.

Hats off

A woman who is being treated with chemotherapy for cancer and has lost her hair complained that a club would not allow her to enter with her hat on. The complaint was settled with an apology and an agreement to review club policy requiring removal of hats inside.

Checkout access

A man who uses a wheelchair as a result of polio complained that at a retail store the accessible checkout was only open at limited times. The complaint was settled when the store changed its management practices and also agreed to install an accessible counter section and queuing ticket dispenser in a new delicatessen section.

Making inaccessibility a museum piece

A man who has a mobility impairment resulting from childhood polio complained that a new museum building had a step in the path from the disability parking spaces, and heavy manual glass entrance doors. This meant he could not enter the building unless another member of the public came along and held the doors open. The respondent agreed, as a short term measure, to re-site the disability parking to a position adjacent to a lift and accessible entrance on the lower level of the building. As a longer term solution the respondent agreed to find funds to alter the mechanism of the main entry doors and replace them with automatic sliding doors.

Hospital access: going up

A man who is blind complained that at his local hospital the lifts did not have tactile buttons and there was no signage near the lifts indicating what floor the lift is on. The matter was settled through conciliation when the hospital agreed to replace the lift button sets with accessible buttons. The hospital also agreed to install tactile signs near the lifts indicating floor level to enable blind and vision impaired people to negotiate their way through the hospital. (2002)

In another case, a man with a physical disability and vision impairment complained of access difficulties at the hospital complex where he attends an outpatient clinic. The hospital agreed to address access issues including height of lift buttons, visibility and height of signage, door widths and lack of ramp or lift access to some areas, and placement of furniture so as not to impede access.

A better view

A man who has quadriplegia and uses a wheelchair complained that the wheelchair accessible seating in a recently constructed tennis centre and aquatic centre had poor lines of sight, as railings at eye height obscured the view. The complaint was settled with alteration of the main balustrades to 800mm, with thin steel cables (which do not block the view) installed above for safety.

Accessible unisex toilets at pool

A mother complained on behalf of her son about the lack of an accessible unisex toilet at the local swimming pool. The son has a physical disability and requires regular catheterisation. Having to use the female toilets (in the presence of girls from his school class) for this purpose when accompanied by a female carer was extremely embarrassing for him. The local council initially raised budgetary constraints by reference to a possible unjustifiable hardship defence but after a conciliation conference agreed to construct a dedicated unisex accessible toilet.

It's not accessible if its blocked

A daughter complained on behalf of her father who uses a wheelchair that when the family attended a restaurant the "accessible" toilet was in fact inaccessible because tables and chairs had been stacked against it. The complaint was settled when the restaurant apologised, stating that the furniture had been moved for cleaning and the failure to move it back was a rare oversight.

… or if you can't get to it

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that inaccessible features of function rooms operated by a local council had resulted in discrimination and humiliation when he attended a wedding there. Although he had been advised the rooms were accessible and had a lift, the lift was a goods lift which was too narrow and did not operate easily even though staff attempted to assist. As a result he was unable to reach the toilet (which was on a different floor) in time, had to leave to change clothes and missed the wedding. The complaint was settled with an agreement to install a lift complying with standards for passenger use, as well as disability awareness training and payment of compensation for the experience.

2000

The pub with no barriers

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that there were access barriers at her local hotel, in particular in the car park, entrance and toilets. The hotel agreed to improve the car park, entrance and toilets to make them accessible, and also agreed to have disability awareness training conducted for staff.

In another case, a man with a physical disability complained that the only hotel in his town was not accessible to him because of a lack of ramp access and accessible toilets. The hotel agreed to provide access.

Accessibility of shopping centre redevelopment

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained in 1999 that redevelopment proposals for a shopping centre failed to provide adequate access for persons in wheelchairs, including that there was no provision in the plans for a lift to the area being redeveloped. At a conciliation meeting in February 2000 broad agreement was reached by the parties on access issues and the steps to remedy those issues. The agreement included the inclusion of and completion of a lift to the new area by the end of 2000. The complaint was withdrawn once the actions agreed to at the conciliation conference were carried out.

Beach access restored

A man whose wife uses a wheelchair for mobility complained that changes to the path to his neighbouring beach had removed access to the beach for his wife, who had previously been able to reach and enter the water with his assistance to enable her to swim. Changes to the steps had now made them too steep to roll a wheelchair down step by step. In conciliation it was agreed that while it was not reasonably possible to provide fully independent wheelchair access to the water in the location concerned, the level of assisted accessibility which had previously existed could be restored by making the steps less steep. The parties also agreed that the path leading to the step would be cleared and improved so that a wheelchair could be wheeled along it.

That's a guide dog, mate .

Two friends complained that they had been required to leave a bar because one of them was accompanied by a guide dog. The complaint was settled with an apology, compensation of $3000 in total plus payment for expenses and a donation to charity.

Access by degrees

A university student with a physical disability complained that much of the campus was inaccessible to him due to a lack of lifts, ramps and handrails. The matter was settled with an agreement by the university to address access issues through implementation of an action plan.

Failure to ensure access conditions fulfilled

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that her local council, which had approved construction of a motel with disability access, had failed to note on final inspection that a number of features of the accessible suite were not in fact accessible to people who use wheelchairs and that a disabled parking space was lacking. The matter was settled when the council advised that rectification of the motel access features had been arranged, and that staff had increased their vigilance on access issues.

Accommodation of disability in footwear requirements

A man whose disability causes his feet to swell complained that he had been excluded from an inn because he was wearing open sandals although he had explained his disability to staff. The complaint was settled when the inn management apologised and provided $1000 compensation.

Licensed club access for person with speech impediment

A woman with a speech impediment complained that because her disability made her appear intoxicated, she had been refused service in a club even when she produced a doctor's letter explaining the situation. The complaint was settled when the club agreed to apologise and arranged for provision and acceptance of a card authenticating the woman's disability.

Access to art gallery extension

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that an extension to the regional art gallery was not accessible. The matter was settled when the local government body responsible advised that it had allocated funds in the 2000/01 budget to install a lift and that no public exhibitions would be mounted in the new area pending installation.

Ramp access provided

A man who uses crutches as a result of polio complained that his club did not provide ramp access. The complaint was settled when the club agreed to install two ramps complying with relevant Australian Standards.

Cafe access

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that renovation of a cafe had been approved and implemented without removing the access barrier presented by a front step. The matter was resolved when the cafe agreed to provide a portable ramp and install a sign advising that this was available.

Footpath accessibility improved

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that the placement of a new bus shelter and the condition of the adjoining footpath made access for him unsafe. The complaint was settled when the respondent local government authority agreed to resurface the path.

Disability parking for club

A fitness club agreed to have its car park re-lined to include a wider disability parking space after the lessor of the premises had confirmed it had no objection to this being done.

1999

Supermarket access improved

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that a Sydney city supermarket was not accessible to him. The entry was through turnstiles which he could not use and an alternative entrance gate was locked and unattended. When he succeeded in entering after some delay he was unable to use the checkouts to pay for his purchases and leave as the checkout lane were too narrow. The matter was settled when the supermarket agreed to

  • install automatic doors in place of the turnstile entrance
  • widen one of six checkout lanes to accommodate customers using wheelchairs
  • install signs indicating accessible entrance and checkout (1999).

1998

Independent access to court house

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that recent upgrades to a capital city Magistrates Court, although costing over $30 million, had failed to provide for independent access for people with disabilities. In particular he complained that

  • the entrance had three steps with a platform lift at the side which was not independently operable, the person being required to push a button to summon security officers
  • even once assistance came and the lift was operating it took a further 40 seconds to raise the person 700 mm
  • as well as delays this arrangement involved a lack of dignity and a need to rely on a device subject to mechanical failure and reported to be failing regularly. 

The complaint alleged that although the courts administration had received consultant advice on disability access this had not included any consultation with representatives of people with a disability.  The complaint was settled on the basis that the respondent would

  • explore alternative ramp proposals and consult with the complainant on these, with access to the ramp commencing as near as possible to the main front entrance
  • submit preferred ramp proposal for development approval and complete within 6 months of approval
  • install handrail and contrast strips on steps within four months subject to development approval
  • improve internal and external signage indicating disability access features
  • fit appropriate door locks on disabled toilets within the building
  • remedy a side entrance ramp to comply with Australia Standard AS1428-1 within two months
  • consult with people with disabilities and explore options to install tactile indicators to top and bottom of steps to main entrance
  • notify the Department responsible for public works of concerns regarding compliance of the recently completed renovation works with the DDA and seek assurances that future capital works of this nature would not lead to similar problems .

Racecourse access improved

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that he was discriminated against by lack of disability parking and adequate wheelchair access between the betting facilities and viewing area at a regional racecourse. The matter was settled with an agreement to

  • designate a disabled parking space or spaces for trotting events, with appropriate signage and advice to staff of the location of the space or spaces, within one month
  • investigate means of providing appropriate wheelchair access between the betting area and a suitable viewing area, within 12 months, and in the interim to provide staff assistance on request
  • investigate other means of improving disability access including through staff training.

Hospital access upgraded

A woman who uses a motorised scooter for mobility because of a disability complained that she was being discriminated against in that her local district hospital did not provide for independent acces for people using wheelchairs or scooters. The complaint was settled when in response to the complaint the hospital advised that it would install (and in fact had completed installation of) an automatic door opening device, call button and sensor device to allow a person using a wheelchair or scooter to enter independently and safely.

Court provides parking

A man who has a disability making it difficult for him to walk long distances complained that he had been discriminated against when he was summonsed to appear at a court house which did not have any disability parking near to its entrance. Investigations indicated that although there was some on site parking provided it was unsuitable for disability parking due to the slope of the site and difficulties in access to the building. The matter was settled when the respondent advised that the local council had approved a proposal to provide two street parking spaces nearby for people with disabilities.

Restaurant access achieved despite heritage and planning concerns

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that a recently renovated restaurant did not have adequate access.  The restaurant owner noted that the building had heritage listing, and that extensive local government planning processes just completed had given approval for the renovated premises without compliance with the disability access requirements of the Building Code, on the basis that modifications to the front entrance to render it accessible would be inconsistent  with heritage requirements, and that in any event there was not sufficient space to achieve equal access, given narrow doorways and the fact that installation of side door ramp access would take up car parking space so as to breach local government requirements in that respect. After a conciliation conference the matter was settled when the restaurant agreed to seek approval for modifications to provide side door ramped access and provision of a disability car parking space.

Shopping centre access improved

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that she was being discriminated against in that part of a major Sydney suburban shopping centre was not sufficiently accessible to her, although she accepted that it may have met relevant Building Code requirements when originally built. Access involved either use of a goods lift or a circuitous route involving a long and uncovered ramp and crossings with safety concerns. The matter was settled with an agreement to create additional disability car parking spaces near ramps, install signs to improve crossing safety, and seek approval to cover the ramps against the weather.

Footpath access maintained

A man complained that alterations approved by his local council to a number of residential blocks, involving excavation of land above street level to permit vehicle access, would have the effect of making the public footpath accessible only by a large number of stairs, and that this would discriminate against his mother who used a wheelchair. The matter was settled when Council advised that conditions had been imposed to maintain access during construction works and to provide ramp access to the footpath from the street.

Independent access to cinema

A man who uses a motorised wheelchair because of quadriplegia complained that a cinema complex completed in 1996 in a major Sydney suburban shopping centre did not provide for independent access. The entrance as built had five steps, to which a platform lift had been added, but this could not be used independently, required a key from a staff member, and had involved at least a five minute delay whenever the complainant had visited the cinemas concerned. The matter was settled when the centre management agreed to submit within 40 days a building application for a ramp to provide independent access and complying with Australian Standard 1428.1 and to construct it as soon as practicable after approval.

Cafe access - ramp restored

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that a local council had discriminated against her by permitting a cafe development which was inaccessible. She also complained against the cafe. The premises had previously had ramp access when used as a motor registry but the renovations for the cafe had included a step at the entrance. The matter was settled when the council advised that it had in fact required access in accordance with Building Code of Australia specifications as conditions on the development application although these had not been complied with, and that it had issued a notice requiring the premises to be brought into compliance including ramp access. Ramp access was restored as required soon after.

Access to city building

A number of people with physical disabilities requiring them to use wheelchairs complained that a six storey commercial building in Sydney was not accessible to them because of entrance steps. The matter was settled when the building owners agreed to install a ramped entrance at a cost of approximately $2000.

Access to government service building

A man who uses a wheelchair complained in November 1996 that a local Commonwealth Government service provision office in the ACT was inaccessible to him due to a step and a heavy door. The matter was settled when the respondent implemented ramp access and advised that it would install automatic doors.

Access to government service building

A woman with a physical disability complained that she was unable to use a local Commonwealth Government service provision office due to steps at the entrance and inside the premises and heavy front doors. The respondent advised that ramp access was being arranged and that heritage authority approval was being sought for this due to the heritage nature of the building concerned. They did not regard it as possible to replace the existing doors because of their heritage significance but proposed to modify them to ensure easier access. Ramp access was provided but the complaint remained open regarding the issue of door access. The matter was settled when heritage approval for automatic doors was in fact obtained after it was finally asked for.

1997

Smoke free shopping centre accommodates asthmatics

A man with asthma and other disabilities complained that he was unable to use a Brisbane suburban shopping centre because smoking was permitted throughout. On receiving the complaint together with a copy of the Commission's decision in Francey and Meeuwissen v. Hilton Hotels of Australia, the shopping centre advised that the centre would be non-smoking forthwith.

Smoke removal systems for bar

A man with a condition causing his airways to react to smoke complained that he was unable to use the bar at his local bowling club safely due to failure to use and maintain smoke removal fans which had been installed. The matter was settled when in response to the making of the complaint the club advised that the fans would be used and kept operational and non-smoking area rules would be enforced.

Film shown in physically inaccessible cinema

A woman with a mobility disability requiring her to use an electric wheelchair complained that she was unable to see the film of her choice at a cinema complex because it was shown in a cinema accessible only by stairs, although she had been advised that it would be shown in the accessible cinema in the complex. The manager and staff had offered to carry her down the stairs but she had declined this offer on the basis that this would be unsafe for herself and those assisting her, could damage her chair and would be humiliating for her. The complaint was settled after a conciliation conference when the cinema agreed to

  • investigate options for making the largest cinema in the complex accessible
  • consult with members of the disability community over another proposed cinema development
  • implement staff training on disability issues
  • review its advertising regarding accessibility of films.

Government service access

A complaint by a disability community activist group alleged that its members had been discriminated against in access to local offices of a Commonwealth government business enterprise, in that one lacked signage indicating wheelchair access through the rear door and the other required a ramp to be accessible. The complaint was conciliated when the respondent advised that signage and ramp were being installed.

1996

Physical access to cinema development

A woman with a mobility impairment complained of a proposed act of discrimination in that a building application for a proposed cinema complex failed to provide for adequate disability access, in particular regarding ticket counter heights and that there would be no lift access, although the prior development application had so provided, and access would be solely by 2 metre stairs.

The matter was settled when the respondent advised that a lift would be installed which had automatic doors and controls designed to be independently operable by a person with a disability and that counter heights would comply with Building Code of Australia requirements which had been set taking into account requirements of staff as well as customers.

Physical access to motor registry

A woman with a disability complained that a motor registry office was inaccessible because of a step and a heavy swinging door at the entrance, despite representations since 1989. The matter was settled with the respondent raising the footpath to provide level access and installing automatic doors.

Physical access to hospital facilities

A woman who uses a wheelchair complained that she had been discriminated against in that she was unable to locate an accessible toilet while visiting a major public hospital. The complaint was settled on the basis that the hospital was incorporating access upgrades to Building Code of Australia standards in its major refurbishment program and had also incorporated specialist advice from occupational therapists in its facilities planning processes.

1995

Guide dog access to hospital

A man who is blind complained that he had been discriminated against by a public hospital refusing him access because he was accompanied by his guide dog when he went to visit a family member. The matter was settled when the hospital apologised, agreed to pay an amount of compensation for the incident which had occurred, and clarified its policy that guide dogs were permitted subject to a discretion to restrict access for the dog in the interests of patient care in which case secure supervision was to be provided for the dog and staff assistance provided instead for the person while separated from the dog.

Guide dog access to takeaway food shop

A man who is blind complained that he had been refused access to a take away food shop because he was accompanied by his guide dog. The complaint was settled when the proprietor of the shop explained that he had not been aware that guide dogs had a different position under health regulations from other dogs, apologised and agreed to provide a small amount of financial compensation.

Gymnasium access worked out

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that he had been discriminated against in that a commercial development under construction in his small town included a first floor gymnasium without any provision for access other than by stairs. The matter was settled when the respondent agreed to install a "Stair-Mate" device to enable people with mobility impairments to gain access to the gym, and to obtain training on disability issues.

Smoke free areas to accommodate asthmatics at Australian Football matches

A man who is asthmatic and an AFL member complained that he was being discriminated against by inadequate provision of non-smoking areas at AFL matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Waverley Park, since his illness required him to avoid cigarette smoke. The matter was not pursued after the AFL reviewed arrangements and advised that

  • 20% of seating for members at the two venues had been designated non-smoking
  • certain food outlets and toilet facilities had likewise been designated non-smoking
  • match day attendants had been instructed to police these restrictions.

1994

Club access provided

A man who uses a wheelchair complained that his local RSL club which had opened in 1993 lacked wheelchair access to many of its areas and facilities including a tavern, bar, games room and outside tables, as well as kerbing design at the entrance which placed wheelchair users at risk of tipping over. The local council concerned had advised that they regarded all then applicable planning requirements as met. The matter was settled when the club responded quickly to the complaint by commencing works to rectify the kerbing and provide tavern and games room access. Access to the other bar complained of was not proceeded with due to difficulties of addressing restricted  circulation space and fixed furniture. A 60mm step from bistro to outside tables was not removed as this was required under the Building Code to prevent water entry to inside areas.