The Hon Robert McClelland MP
Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Senator the Hon Kim Carr
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services
The Hon Bill Shorten MP
2 December 2008
BETTER ACCESS TO PREMISES FOR PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY
On the eve of International Day of Persons with a Disability, the Rudd Government today tabled draft Disability Standards for Access to Premises.
The Standards will help provide better access to new and upgraded public buildings for people with a disability by making it clearer what is required to avoid discrimination. The requirements of the Standards will be mirrored in the Building Code of Australia. This will greatly reduce complexity by aligning building law and discrimination law.
“The Rudd Government’s view is that access to public and commercial buildings for all members of our society is critical for achieving social inclusion,” Mr McClelland said.
“These initiatives will have a positive impact on the daily lives of people with a disability – providing better access to premises such as shops, government offices and hotels. It will make their rights clearer and more certain.”
Minister for Innovation Senator Kim Carr said, “Harmonising the access requirements and the Building Code of Australia will not only provide people with a disability with greater access to public buildings but it will provide certainty for the building industry.”
The Premises Standards were requested by the building and disability sectors back in 2001. Regrettably, the former Government failed to deliver. In contrast, the Rudd Government has made these a priority, tabling the draft Standards after only 12 months.
“Access to premises has been put in the too hard basket for too long,” Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services Bill Shorten said.
“This is a significant step forward in giving people with disability the opportunity to fully participate in public life.”
This work is part of the Rudd Government’s long term agenda to achieve better outcomes for people with disability and their families.
The Government intends referring the draft Standards to the House of Representatives Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for a final public consultation, which will report in the first half of 2009.
The Standards and documents can be accessed at: www.ag.gov.au/premisesstandards.
Adam Sims (Mr McClelland’s Office) 0419 480 224
Catriona Jackson (Senator Carr’s Office) 0417 142 238
Alison Currie (Mr Shorten’s Office) 0413 776 644