Disability Access Standards reforms set to improve access to public buildings in Australia

The Australian Government today announced its response to the Review of the Premises Standards, setting out reforms to be made to the Standards to improve their effectiveness and clarity, as well as new measures to assist with their application and evaluation by government and industry.

 The Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 Review Report coverpageProposed improvements to the Disability Access to Premises Standards will help to ensure people with disabilities have better access to public buildings.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Senator Arthur Sinodinos said the Review process, conducted last year in consultation with the Attorney-General George Brandis, showed that the Standards had led to improvements in disability access.

“Since these Standards were introduced in 2011 we’ve seen improvements in providing people with disability with dignified, equitable, cost effective and reasonably achievable access to public buildings,” Senator Sinodinos said.

“However, the Government acknowledges the need for improved clarity of the Standards themselves, as well as greater awareness of the education and training materials available to ensure they are being applied effectively.

The Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy, said engagement with industry would be important to promote the improved standards.

“Through the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF), we will encourage the building and construction industry to utilise the Australian Human Rights Commission’s detailed guidelines on the application of the Premises Standards, as well as promoting the Australian Building Codes Board’s comprehensive, free training material for the industry,” Mr Laundy said.

Put into effect on 1 May 2011, the Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 is a legislative instrument made under section 31 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). The legislation requires that every five years the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, in consultation with the Attorney-General, must review the effectiveness of the Premises Standards in achieving their objectives and identify any amendments.

This first review has shown that the Premises Standards have had a positive impact and are a sound basis for further action.

“I’m confident that these proposed actions in response to the review will improve the provision of equitable and dignified access to public premises for people with disability,” Senator Sinodinos said.

The Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 Review Report and the Australian Government response is available at https://industry.gov.au/PremisesStandardsReview

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