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DDA Complaint against Murrays Coaches
The Complaint under
Wheelchair user Julia Haraksin filed a Disability
Discrimination complaint against Murrays Coaches before the Federal Court in Sydney. Ms Haraksin has brittle bone
disease. She tried unsuccessfully to book a seat on one of its coaches from Sydney to Canberra to attend a work
conference. The bus company told her none of its coaches could take her because she uses a
Ms Haraksin claims Murrays
contravened theFederal DisabilityDiscrimination
Act and theDiscrimination Standards for Accessible Public
What Ms Haraksin is seeking from the
The complainant Ms Haraksin is not seeking
financial compensation from Murrays. Instead, Ms Haraksin is seeking a Federal Court Order directing Bus Company to
Comply with National Disability Standards for Public Transport that require Transport providers to ensure at least
25 per cent of their vehicles areWheelchair-Accessible
What Ms Haraksin said
"(I want) people to realise that
legislation is important and that it needs to be respected ... and that people with disabilities have equal access
to things, people in the general community do not realise that everyday, people with Disabilities still face quite
a bit of Discrimination"
PIAC Lawyer Chris Ronalds SC, representing Ms Haraksin
"She asked for an Accessible Bus and was
told there were none. One has to make a booking to get on this service. The booking was denied because the service
that is needed can't be provided"
Counsel for Murray's Coaches, Arthur Moses SC
Arthur Moses SC,
argued the cost of retrofitting would be prohibitive and a subsequent increase in passenger costs would not be in
the public interest.
Murrays is defending the action, saying the Discrimination was not unlawful.
is relying on a defence of "unjustifiable hardship", saying
it would cost a total of $23 million to convert all of its 154 coaches.
Murrays said in a statement six of its 15 vehicles used for the Canberra to Sydney route have now
been made Wheelchair Accessible.
hearing before Justice Nicholas is continuing.
By John Bedwell Sydney
Consultant for Obvius Access Consultants 1st January 2013