July 15, 2020
Queenslanders with vision loss will be eligible for disability parking permits for the first time after the State Government passed major legislative reforms this week.
The new laws will also lead to fines for drivers who illegally use disability parking spaces rising from $266 to $533.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the reforms would come into effect on August 31.
“This is a common sense change that will make life easier for thousands of Queenslanders,” Mr Bailey said.
The existing parking scheme only provides parking concessions to people who are either unable to walk and always rely on a wheelchair, or who have a severe restriction in their ability to walk.
“Disability advocacy groups like Guide Dogs and Braille House, and a significant grass roots movement told us of the unique challenges Queenslanders with vision loss faced, and we took action. This is their win,” Minister Bailey said.
“These parking concessions make it possible for permit holders to go about their daily business by providing access to conveniently located bays at shopping centres, hospitals, medical centres, train stations and entertainment venues.”
The expanded criteria for the parking permit scheme would define vision impairment consistently with the Federal Government’s Social Security Guide.
Guide Dogs Queensland CEO Michael Kightley said the move to include Queenslanders with vision loss in the disability parking permit scheme was very welcome.
“This legislative change has been at the top of our advocacy agenda for some time and we are very thankful to the Palaszczuk Government for their support,” Mr Kightley said.
“During our campaign, many Queenslanders were surprised to learn that vehicles transporting people who were blind or had significant sight loss were unable to use the disability parking bays provided at the entrance to their local shopping centre or outside their doctor’s office.
“The consequence of this was 92 per cent of surveyed clients felt unsafe when moving through car parks and 58 per cent avoided going out altogether due to having to navigate these busy traffic environments.
“These common-sense changes passed today will have a huge effect on improving people’s confidence by providing access to the parking nearest building entrances.”