Transport for People with Disability

Access to public transport is critical for people with disability in order for them to participate fully in community life and the economy. The National Disability Strategy (NDS) seeks to guide public policy across governments to ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians.

Supporting the NDS, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA) prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of disability, both to the person with a disability as well as family members, carers and friends.

The DDA also allows disability standards to be formulated in a range of areas, including public transport. These standards spell out in detail rights and obligations under the DDA, providing greater certainty about the Act's requirements. For more information on the DDA refer to the Attorney-General's Department.

Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002, as amended

The Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards) as amended, are formulated by the Attorney-General under subsection 31 (1) of the DDA.The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development has responsibility for providing public transport policy advice on the Transport Standards.

Part 34 of the Transport Standards requires the Minister, in consultation with the Attorney-General, to review the efficiency and effectiveness of these Standards within 5 years after they take effect; and carry out a subsequent review every 5 years after the initial review.

The Review must consider whether discrimination has been removed as far as possible, according to the requirements for compliance set out in Schedule 1; and any necessary amendments to these Standards.

Since the initial release of the Transport Standards there have been two reviews—the 2007 Review and the 2012 Review. Following the release of the second review report and Australian Government response the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities has been progressing the implementation of review recommendations in collaboration with state and territory governments, public transport representative bodies and the disability sector. Of these the major focus has been on the modernisation of the Transport Standard and development of The Whole Journey Guide.

Current developments

The Third Review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards)

As required by Part 34 of the Transport Standards, the third five-year review of the Transport Standards will be undertaken by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities in consultation with the Attorney-General's Department, the National Accessible Public Transport Advisory Committee and the Aviation Access Forum. Once complete the department will provide a final written report for consideration by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, in consultation with the Attorney-General.

Release—The Whole Journey: A guide for thinking beyond compliance to create accessible public transport journeys

The Whole Journey: A guide for thinking beyond compliance to create accessible public transport journeys was released by The Hon. Darren Chester MP, Minster for Infrastructure and Transport on 1 December 2017.

The guide responds to Recommendation 4 of the Second Review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002. This key review recommendation sought to develop guidance for a whole-of-journey approach to improve public transport accessibility, creating complete, seamless journeys for public transport users—journeys from A to B and to C to D and back again.

The guide provides guidance on how transport planners and providers, architects, engineers, builders, certifiers and all levels of government can work together with people with disability to achieve this goal. In developing the Whole Journey Guide, the Australian Government's intention was to promote thinking beyond compliance. This includes facilitating best practices based on innovation and continuous improvement, human-centred design, understanding, consultation and collaboration.

Further details can be found at The Whole Journey Guide.

Modernisation of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002

The Australian Government recognised that 13 years after inception some parts of the Transport Standards may not be meeting the current and future needs of people with disability or provide sufficient flexibility or guidance to providers and operators in their efforts to fulfil their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act.

The department is working with the National Accessible Public Transport Advisory Committee (NAPTAC) to modernise the Transport Standards. The current work program is addressing the first tranche of issues, which will inform the release of a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on modernisation proposals in the second half of 2018. This will inform future amendments to the Standards.

Work on a second tranche of issues will begin in 2018 with a view undertaking a Regulation Impact Statement process in 2019–20. Wide-spread community consultation will, as a matter of course, be undertaken with respect to both tranche processes.

Further information

For further information on the Transport Standards, please contact the department via the Secretariat mailbox at: DisabilitiesTransportAccessSecretariat@infrastructure.gov.au

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Last Updated: 31 August, 2018