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Australian Accessible Parking Scheme

Thursday 25 June 2009

P Accessible

The Feministe blog has a post written by Cara Kulwicki that is critical of a proposed Australian Accessibility Parking Scheme:

Australian Accessible Parking Scheme Would Exclude Many People with Disabilities

This is for all of you Australians out there, because the few minutes of your time it will take to help are desperately needed.

The Australian government is currently working on new regulations for disabled parking.  The idea is supposedly to harmonize all the different regulations across the nation and to cut down on abuse.  You can read the discussion paper outlining the full proposal here (pdf).  Here are the basic requirements to get a permit under the proposed scheme:

Permanent permit

Under the proposed scheme, you would be eligible for a permanent permit if:

* Criteria 1: You are unable to walk and always require the use of a manual wheelchair or powered mobility device, or

* Criteria 2: Your ability to walk is permanently and severely restricted and you sometimes require the use of a mobility or medical aid. This does not include a walking stick [cane], shopping trolley or pram, or

* Criteria 3: You do not use a mobility or medical aid but your ability to walk is permanently restricted by a significant medical condition or disability, which sometimes requires the physical assistance of another person and limits your access to the community.

Cara then goes on:

What’s the problem?  Lauredhel, who would be directly impacted by these new regulations if they were to go into effect, lays it out:

Who does this exclude? Everyone who walks, with or without a cane, and who does not require the physical assistance of another person.

Every single independent person with an invisible disability.

What could this mean for me? Right now, I have a parking permit because my walking distance is severely limited, so I need proximity parking. Unless I buy a scooter - something that I’m thinking about, but haven’t yet (I’m not eligible for government assistance) - I’ll become much, much more dependent.

[. . .]

These rules will disable me, and many thousands of Australians like me.

These rules will create physical dependence.

Invisible disabilities — such as fibromyalgia, to name only one of many — are, it apparently bears reminding, still disabilities.  And people with invisible disabilities deserve and need access to the world just as much as the rest of us.  These new requirements create a false hierarchy of disability and say that disabilities that we can’t plainly see don’t “count.”  And if they go into effect, they will have a severe negative impact thousands of lives, and leave many Australians unable to leave their homes on their own.

So those of you in Australia need to click through to read Lauredhel’s full post, and write in NOW.  Details on where to send your completed forms below:

You can email your completed submission to or post it to:

Australian Disability Parking Scheme submissions (East Wing)
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610

Submissions must be received by 5pm AEST Friday 31 July 2009.

And everyone reading this, whether inside Australia or not, needs to pass this information along in every way they can and make sure that as many forms as possible get sent in. Because this is wrong, and it can’t be allowed to happen.

You can read the full article here. It also includes many comments from concerned readers.

The link to a blog post by Lauredhel mentioned in the article above calls attention to a Facebook Group called against the Proposed Narrowing of Accessible Parking Permit Eligibility set up to oppose the Scheme.



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