Access Consulting

Access Consulting

All organisations have a responsibility under the DDA to provide equitable and dignified access to goods and services and to premises. Premises are broadly defined and may include all areas within buildings, recreational parks and infrastructure buildings such as transport terminals, stations and the like.

The Disability Discrimination Act, 1992 (DDA) is Commonwealth legislation that provides uniform protection against unfair and unfavourable treatment for people with a disability in Australia. It also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person who is an ‘associate’ (such as a friend, carer or family member). Disability is also broadly defined and includes all of the following types of disabilities:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Psychiatric
  • Neurological

  • Cognitive or sensory (a hearing or vision impairment)
  • Learning difficulties
  • Physical disfigurement
  • The presence in the body of disease causing organisms

This broad definition means that everyone with a disability is protected. The Act supports the principle that people with a disability have the same fundamental rights as the rest of the community.

Provisions apply to a wide range of life activities, including the following:

  • Access to premises
  • Education
  • Provision of goods and services
  • Employment
  • The administration of Commonwealth laws and programs

When a person with a disability wants to utilise premises including all buildings, outdoor spaces, car parking areas, pathways and facilities, then equitable and dignified access shall be provided.

The DDA requires that appropriate changes be made to provide access. A complaint can be made to the Human Rights Commission in accordance with the provisions of the DDA if appropriate access is not provided.

A range of access challenges includes the following:
  • People who use wheelchairs face difficulties with abrupt changes in levels (e.g. steps and steep slopes or gradients) and limited access under basins, benches and tables. They also need an increased circulation area, particularly at doorways and changes in directions.
  • People who experience difficulty walking may have stiff hips, balance problems or uncoordinated movements which require attention to stairs and handrails, seating in waiting areas, slip-resistant floor finishes and ramps with a gentle slope or gradient.
  • People with manipulatory difficulties (finger or hand control) require appropriately selected handles, switches, buttons and taps to enable usage.
  • People with sensory disabilities, which affect either their hearing or vision, require clear, easy-to-understand signage and tactile indicators. This requires attention to a variety of factors including colour, contrast, print size, levels of illumination and the provision of appropriate communication systems in public areas.
  • People with intellectual disabilities may have difficulty finding their way in new environments. Therefore, direct access routes and clear directional signage with graphics are important.
As a wide range of physical issues impact on the provision of access for people with disabilities, responsive design, incorporating a continuous accessible path of travel, needs to be equitable and inclusive of the needs of all of the community. Access should cater for both pedestrians and users of wheelchairs and other mobility aids. In addition, consideration must be given to the needs of users who may require assistance from others as well as assistance animals.

AcroCert can help with all facets of accessibility, from audits of existing buildings and services to design input and then right through to inspection and sign-off on completed projects, including expert advice and witness services.

Contact AcroCert today to speak with our highly trained and professional staff to ensure your access requirements and obligations are fully complied with.

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