Access and public toilets
Access to public toilets
How to obtain an MLAK key to open up Accessible Toilets, information about the National Public Toilet Map and read how you can get involved in SCIA's NSW Accessible Toilets Project. Read more...
Access at work
The Employment Assistance Fund (Job Access) is a fund which people with disability can use to improve their access environment at work.
Read about access issues to think about when building or modifying a home.
Accessing public transport
Accessible public transport is available in Sydney. Accessible buses run on most routes, and many train stations and ferry wharves are wheelchair accessible. For timetables and other public transport information visit the Transport Infoline or phone 131 500. To view the location of stations and wharves download our Google Earth overlay. For other cities and States visit the website of the relevant Transport authority in your State.
Accessible travel accommodation
Read about how to find accessible travel accommodation.
Access and travel guides
Visiting Sydney or the Grand Canyon and want to know what is accessible. See these guides for suggestions on places to visit.
Accessing entertainment venues and tourist spots
Most major entertainment venues and tourist spots have good levels of access. For a venue to be classified as accessible for everyone it must have elements such as level entry, level paths and ramps and a wheelchair accessible toilet and facilities. The same things apply to indoor venues such as restaurants, theatres, museums and stadiums, and outdoors in parks and markets. Before you go it would be a good idea to check websites or call venues to ask for specific details.
However there might be fewer needs to consider when planning your trip out. The starting point is to think about where you want to go and not to limit yourself to only the accessible places that are listed in a guidebook.
For many people the prime consideration is whether there is a wheelchair accessible toilet, either with the space to transfer onto it or with the privacy to self catheterise or use other equipment. The particular place you’d like to go might not have one, but there could be one nearby in a hotel, café, library, public toilet block etc.
Transport to and from the venue will also need to be considered. Unless you have your own vehicle the options are accessible taxis or public transport. In Sydney call 8332 0200 to book a wheelchair accessible taxi and for information about accessible buses, trains and ferries call 131 500 or go to www.131500.info.
Accessing heritage buildings
The Disability Discrimination Act requires equal access for people with disabilities to all buildings used by the general public—this includes heritage buildings. Every opportunity must be taken to provide equal access. When conducting major renovations councils will require access provisions to be made unless “unjustifiable hardship” can be demonstrated. Further information can be obtained from the publication Improving Access to Heritage Buildings by Eric Martin.
Can't get access to a venue? Advice on how to resolve the problem
Firstly, identify who is responsible for the facility and negotiate with them. If a renovation is being or has recently been carried out to a shop or other public building and access is not provided, approach the local council or access committee to determine if access provisions were included in the Development Application. This includes lift access to the second story of a building if an essential service (ie a doctor’s surgery) is located on that floor.
Any access provisions need to comply with AS1428.1–4, (the Australian Standards for Access), Section D3, E3.6 and F2.4 of the Building Code of Australia 2010 and the Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010. Additional access provisions may also be required for compliance with the local Council Development Control Plans (DCPs).
Your local council access committee can provide advice about what actions you might take or on what modifications might need to be made.
If you are not satisfied, you can lodge a complaint with HREOC, their complaints infoline is 1300 656 419.
Further advice, including locating an accredited access consultant, can be obtained from the Association of Consultants in Access, Australia.
Most of the local councils in NSW and around Australia have Access Committees. These committees look at issues involving access in the local community. Specifically Access Committees are interested in:
- Advising and recommending about access to Council facilities and services.
- Being a forum for issues relating to people with disabilities to be discussed.
- Advising on policy, strategies and programs of Council relating to access and other issues that concern people living with a disability,
- Allowing community members equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of life in the local area.
Access Committees are there to help improve access in the community so if you come across an access problem in your local community contact the committee or better still get onto the committee as a community representative to influence positive outcomes in regard to increasing access and equity for all of the community.
For all consultancy needs we recommend that you visit the official website of the Association of Consultants in Access, Australia and follow the links to search for an accredited Access Consultant. You should always ensure that the Access Consultant you use is an accredited member of this association.
Courses to become an access consultant
People working as access consultants generally have occupational therapy, architecture, building or engineering qualifications; or in some cases have used their own experiences as a person with a disability. Their professional ability has been developed by further study of the relevant legislation, codes and standards.
The Independent Living Centre of New South Wales offers a Professional Certificate in Accessible Buildings in association with the Master Builders Association of NSW and the Building Designers Association of NSW.
The Institute of Access Training Australia provides professional development and training in ‘Access for All’. This is aimed at people with responsibilities for ensuring equitable access is provided, to all services, facilities, communications, events, information, employment and the built environment, for people with disabilities and a range of access challenges.
Further reading and information
Click here for a list of publications and resources in our SCI Resources Library about Access - publications, articles, reports, papers and more.
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