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ARA Exemptions

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This web page is a guide to the applications for exemptions made by the
Australasian Railways Association
in relation to the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport

 

 

 

 

         

 

Abbreviations:

 

 

 

DDA

Disability Discrimination Act

 

 

 

DSAPT

Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport - also often called the Transport Standards

 

 

 

ARA

Australasian Railways Association

 

 

 

AHRC

Australian Human Rights Commission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What this is all about:

 

 

 

 

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was enacted in 1992. In short, the DDA is an Australian federal law that makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of disability. But the law itself doesn't contain much detail on what discrimination is when it comes to such things as public transport, education, employment and access to buildings. That's what the Standards are for.

 

In 2002, the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT or Tranpsort Standards) came into being. This is a fairly big document that contains lots of details about what accessible public transport should be.

 

Three years later, in 2005, the Australasian Railways Association (ARA), on behalf of its members, applied to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) for a range of temporary exemptions from the DSAPT. In 2007, the AHRC granted many of those exemptions (some with conditions attached) and declined to grant others.

 

Part 33A of the DSAPT allows for temporary exemptions. The reasoning is that where older conveyances and infrastructure are in use, it may take some time for these to be updated to comply with the accessibility standards.

Temporary exemptions are just that - temporary. They can be granted for periods up to a maximum of 5 years. Most of the temporary exemptions granted to the ARA were for 3 years.

 

The exemptions were extended in September 2010, and again in February 2012 with an expiry date of 31 December 2013.

 

Prior to 31 December 2013, the ARA made a new application to the AHRC for temporary exemptions from the DSAPT. This application asks for more exemptions and a longer exemption period. The ARA is also asking for it to be allowed to adopt its own Code of Practice instead of being bound by the DSAPT.

 

The AHRC responded by granting a 6 month extension of the standing exemptions (to 30 June 2014) to give it time to consider the ARA's apparently quite complex application. By 30 June 2014, no decision had been made and the standing exemptions were extended a further 6 months (to 31 December 2014).

 

Still, the AHRC was not satisfied with ARA's application. Apparently the complexity of the application has been such that the AHRC has required more and more information from the ARA, while at the same time negotiating for the application to be simplified. While all this has been going on, the AHRC has granted to the ARA another extension to the standing exemptions for a further 9 months (to 30 September 2015).

 

At this date of writing (25 January 2015), the ARA's new "primary application" is not yet available to the public, so we can only imagine what it contains. It is likely to be complex and we will need to work through it methodically. If the primary application does indeed ask for the ARA and its members to be bound by their own Code of Practice, rather than the DSAPT, then we will need to consider very carefully about whether we think this is appropriate. We need to think about whether this would be good or bad for the rightsof people with disabilities who use public transport.

 

During this current 9 month extension, the AHRC intends to hold public consultations and will call for submissions. As soon as information comes to hand, this web page will be updated accordingly.

 

 

 

 

 

Links and documents

 

 

 

 

Disability Discrimination Act

 

 

 

 

A Brief Guide to the Disability Discrimination Act

 

 

 

 

Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002

 

PDF

 

 

Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Guidelines 2004 (No.3)

 

PDF

 

         

 

AHRC DDA exemptions web page

 

 

 

2007

AHRC Decision on ARA application for temporary exemption 20 Jan 2007

DOC

PDF

 

2007

AHRC Decision on ARA application for temporary exemption 5 Nov 2007 - direct assistance - boarding ramps

DOC

PDF

 

2007

AHRC Decision on ARA application for temporary exemption 5 Nov 2007 - carriage of mobility aids

DOC

PDF

 

2010

AHRC Decision on ARA application for temporary exemption 7 Sep 2010

 

 

 

2012

AHRC Decision on ARA application for temporary exemption 31 Jan 2012 - expired 31 December 2013

 

 

 

2013

AHRC Decision on ARA application for temporary exemption 19 Dec 2013 - expired 30 June 2014

DOC

PDF

 

2014

AHRC Decision on ARA application for temporary exemption 26 June 2014 - expired 31 December 2014

DOC

PDF

 

 

AHRC Decision on ARA application for temporary exemption 26 June 2014 - expires 30 September 2015

 

PDF

 

 

 

 

 

 

2005

ARA proposed revised DSAPT - 2005

DOC

 

 

2011

Rail Industry Code of Practice - proposed 2011 version

DOC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page created: 25 Jan 2015

 

 

Last Updated: 25 Jan 2015