What are the proposed changes to the Queensland Disability Parking Permit Scheme for people with vision impairments and what would they mean for me and my patients?

Proposed changes to the Queensland Disability Parking Permit Scheme

The history

Eligibility to obtain a Disability Parking Permit in Queensland is exclusively focused on a person’s ability to walk.  For this reason, people with intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive and sensory impairments alone do not meet the criteria.

The Transport Legislation (Disability Parking Permit Scheme) Amendment Bill 2019 recognises that this discriminates against those with a visual (sensory) impairment who are travelling as a passenger in a vehicle and that it is far safer and more convenient for a visually impaired person to have access to a disability parking space, typically near entrances to buildings.

Throughout Australia, currently only NSW, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT include vision-impairment in the Disability Parking Permit criteria.

The proposed changes

The amendments proposed by the new Bill would expand the Queensland Disability Parking Permit criteria to those with a “total loss of vision, permanent severe visual impairment or a temporary severe visual impairment that must be of at least 6 months’ duration, as certified by a doctor”.

The amendments, if approved, would also allow for suspension or cancellation of a Disability Parking Permit for a person who no longer has total loss of vision or severe visual impairment.

How might this change my practice?

If the Bill is approved and the Scheme is changed, GPs and other doctors should be aware that they may be asked to certify Disability Parking Permit applications for people with total loss of vision, permanent severe visual impairment or a temporary severe visual impairment which, in the doctor’s opinion, must be of at least 6 months’ duration.

For all other health professionals, you would be able to suggest to your patients with vision impairments that they may be eligible for a Disability Parking Permit and to consult their doctor.

For now, you don’t need to take any action.

We’ll update you if and when the proposed changes are approved by the Queensland Parliament.

Further information on the Bill and proposed changes is available here: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/TabledPapers/2019/5619T1842.pdf

Note: Any information provided in this article is general only and is not legal advice.  If you need any advice from our specialist health business lawyers on this or other topics, feel free to get in contact here.