Anti-Discrimination NSW

​Disability parking presents challenges

Conciliation: Disability discrimination in service provision

Published: ​16 November 2016

If you have a disability that reduces your mobility, you usually want to park as close as possible to your destination. But it’s not always easy, as one complainant found.


A man with a disability that reduced his mobility made a complaint against his local council, which he claimed was not providing adequate parking for people with a disability in the town centre. 

He said that there was no disability parking in the main street and no signage on the main street to the carpark behind the main street where there was disability parking. This carpark wasn’t close enough to important facilities such as the post office, medical centre and supermarket. In addition, access to the council building itself was not adequate.

The council responded that it wasn’t possible to provide disability parking in the main street because the street wasn’t wide enough and people wouldn’t be able to get out of their cars safely. They provided accessible parking in all their car parks which was compliant with the standards applicable at the time of construction.

However, the council said they had surveyed the off-street car park and identified minor changes which could improve access from the car park to the main shopping area. They would also install additional signs to the off-street car park in the main street.

At conciliation, the council representative explained that access to the council premises was also compliant when it was built, but was now out of date. However it wasn’t financially possible to change this unless there was a major building upgrade.

The council said they were committed to increased awareness of access issues and had an advisory committee which made recommendations on appropriate action and assisted with prioritisation. The issues in the man’s complaint would be raised with this committee.

The complainant explained that the signs identifying the disabled spots in the carpark were hard to see and the requirement for tail-in parking made it difficult for some drivers with a disability to get out of their cars. The council agreed that they would improve the signs and change the rule for those spots so that cars could be parked either way. The complainant accepted this and the complaint was settled.​

What are my rights to goods and services?

  • In general, you have the right to apply for and get goods or services in the same way as people who don't have a disability.
  • Anything that you need to get into to access a service (for example a building or transport) must be accessible to you, unless it would cause the owner 'unjustifiable hardship' to make it accessible.
  • There may be less expensive changes that could improve accessibility without causing unjustifiable hardship. If this is the case, the changes should be made. At the very least, service providers should have plans for how they are going to make their service accessible in the future.

More information on Disability discrimination

​​​Back to November 2016 - Equal Time Newsletter​​​​​​​

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