Queenslanders who are blind or have low vision are now eligible for disability parking permits after changes to legislation in the state.
The Transport Legislation (Disability Parking and Other Matters) Amendment Bill passed through Queensland Parliament this week, meaning people who are legally blind are now eligible for the permits and the use of disability parking spaces.
The bill came about after continued lobbying from Vision Australia, alongside other blindness and low vision organisations and wider community.
Vision Australia General Manager Karen Knight, a Queensland resident who is blind, said the change is long overdue for the state’s blind and low vision community.
“Navigating public spaces such as car parks can be a challenge for people who are blind or have low vision and that can impact their ability to carry out essential activities such as shopping, attending appointments, accessing public transport and much more,” Karen said.
“Not only will this change help people who are blind or have low vision be more active, it also benefits their families, carers and support workers. Being able to use disability parking spaces means reduces some of the pressure these people can feel when supporting those who are blind or have low vision in public,” she said.
Caption: Karen Knight at Queensland Parliament House for the passing of the Transport Legislation (Disability Parking and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.
The change means Queensland joins Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia as jurisdictions where people who are blind are eligible for disability parking permits.
Karen said Vision Australia would like that to become consistent across all states and territories.
“The challenges faced by people who are blind or have low vision in car parks, parking stations and on streets are challenges that are faced across of all Australia.
“No matter where somebody who is blind or have low vision lives, they deserve the right to be able to safely navigate public spaces and carry out day to day activities like anybody else.”
Karen said Vision Australia is committed to advocating for measures that will increase access and safety in public spaces for people who are blind or have low vision and pointed to the organisation’s success in having Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS) made mandatory for electric and hybrid vehicles in Australia.
“Public access and safety are issues that are extremely important to the blind and low vision community and ones that Vision Australia is committed to championing.
“The change to parking permit eligibility and AVAS requirements show that our advocacy efforts are working and that governments are willing to listen to our concerns and act on them.”
More information about applying for disability parking permits is available online from the Queensland Government.