Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

Golf cart fee may discriminate

Conciliation - Age and disability discrimination in registered clubs

The complainant is a member of a golf club and has a disability which means he is unable to walk around the golf course and has to use a cart.  When the club increased the annual fee for use of its carts, he made a complaint of age and disability discrimination to the Board. He said it was unfair for the club to impose the same fee on members who had no option but to use the carts.

After being contacted by the Board, the club agreed to a reduced fee of 50% per year for any member who could provide medical evidence that they are unable to walk the golf course, which resolved the complaint.

A similar complaint was previously heard in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Conroy v Nelson Bay Golf Club [2015] 24). The Tribunal dismissed that case on legal grounds, but it noted that the club in question should 'give consideration to the adverse impact of the cart fee on those persons who suffer from a disability'.

The Tribunal went on to recommend that the club consider waiving the fee for people who can demonstrate that they are unable to complete the course on foot. It suggested that the club could be found to have discriminated in the future if it did not follow these recommendations, and the complaint was put in a different way from the one the Tribunal was hearing.

Given the Tribunal's recommendation, it is important for golf clubs to carefully consider the imposition of fees for use of private golf carts on members who are unable to walk the golf course because of a disability.

More information on disability discrimination

Back to Equal Time Newsletter April 2018

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