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Parking reforms to benefit more Queenslanders with vision disabilities

Blind man is led by his guide dog, crossing the road in Melbourne.
Photo: Shutterstock

Queenslanders with vision disabilities will be eligible for disability parking permits for the very first time after the Palaszczuk Government this week passed major legislative reforms.

The new laws will also see some of the toughest fines introduced for drivers who illegally use disability parking spaces, increasing from $266 to $533.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the reforms were scheduled to come into effect on August 31, 2020.

“This is a common sense change that will make life easier for thousands of Queenslanders,” Mr Bailey said.

“COVID-19 hit global economies, and our community hasn’t been immune, but because of Queensland’s strong health response to-date we’re now able to implement these reforms.

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 to 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.

“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.”

Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors Coralee O’Rourke said the expanded criteria for the parking permit scheme would define vision disability consistently with the Federal Government’s Social Security Guide.

“These are practical reforms that have come from an independent assessment of the current system our government started last year,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“It will ensure people with vision disabilities and their carers are supported with safer and more convenient access in car parks across the state.”

Mr Bailey said the expanded scheme would be introduced alongside tougher penalties for people illegally using disability parking spaces.

“Drivers who illegally park in disability spaces should expect to be harshly penalised. It’s arrogant and selfish behaviour that the community doesn’t support,” Mr Bailey said.

“I’ve already written to local councils, major retailers, car park operators and shopping centre groups calling on them to adopt our tougher approach and to work with us to increase enforcement.

“I urge motorists not to park in a disability parking bay unless they are a permit holder or dropping off or picking up a permit holder.

“If everyone obeys these rules, parking bays will be available to permit holders when they need them.”

“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.

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