Obvius Access

  Disability Access Consultants with a Balanced Approach

 

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The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

 

The Australian Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) came into effect in March 1993.The DDA prohibits unfair and unfavourable treatment against people with a Disability or their associates in a range of areas including education, employment, transport, accommodation, premises and footpaths used by the public.

The definition of "Disability" is broadly defined. The broad definition is meant to ensure that everyone with disability is protected. Disabilities included in the DDA are:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Psychiatric
  • Neurological
  • Cognitive or Sensory (hearing or vision impairment)
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Physical Disfigurement and
  • The Presence in the body of Disease Causing Organisms

The DDA covers a Disability that people:

  • Have now
  • Had in the past (e.g. A Past mental illness)
  • May have in the future (e.g. A Family history of Disability which a person may develop)
  • Are believed to have (e.g. If people think someone has Aids)

The DDA also covers people with a Disability who may be discriminated against because:

  • They are accompanied by a trained animal, such as a Guide or Hearing dog.
  • They use equipment or an aid, such as a wheelchair or a hearing aid, or
  • They are accompanied by an assistant, interpreter or reader.

The DDA also protects people who have some form of personal connection with a person with a Disability like friends, relatives, co-workers and carers if they are discriminated against because of that connection or relationship. For example, it is unlawful Discrimination if:

  • A parent is refused a job because the employer assumes he or she will need time off work to care for a child with a Disability. 
  • People are refused access to a restaurant or cafe because they are with a friend who has a Disability. 
  • A worker is hassled about working with a Disability. 

The DDA covers people with a Disability who wish to utilise premises including all building, outdoor spaces, car parking areas, pathways and facilities open to the public. Equitable, dignified access must be provided. They should expect to enter and make use of places used by people without a Disability. For example:

  • Places used by the public should be accessible at the entrance and inside. 
  • Facilities in these places should also be accessible (wheelchair-accessible toilets, lift buttons within reach, tactile and audible lift signals for people with vision impairments) 
  • Rather than being confined to a segregated space or the worst seats, all areas within places uses by the public should be accessible to people with a Disability. 
  • Information available to users of the Premises. 

The DDA requires that appropriate changes be made to provide access. A complaint can be made under the DDA if appropriate access is not provided.

The DDA takes precedence over State Legislation, Standards and Guidelines in relation to Disability Access.

John Bedwell Obvius Access 1st November 2012  

 

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