Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Newman Government’s shortcuts hurt disability parking

People with disability in Queensland have been dealt another blow following changes by the Newman Government to disability parking permits.

The Queensland Government will stop producing the high quality and fraud proof polypropylene disability parking permit for a cheaper and sub-standard permit.

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas said she was deeply disappointed by the actions of the Queensland Government.

“This decision by the Newman Government is short sighted and will have serious effects for disability parking permit holders,” Senator McLucas said.

“One of the reasons we insisted on the polypropylene permits was to reduce permit fraud that we knew was rife. And the Queensland Government is reopening the door for fraud and abuse.”

In 2010, all state and territory governments agreed to have nationally consistent disability parking permits and therefore moved to the Australian Disability Parking Scheme.

The Australian Disability Parking Scheme enables people with disability the opportunity to travel around their community and interstate without the confusion and stress that varying disability parking arrangements across the country may cause.

“Having a national scheme is about removing barriers and making it easier for people with disability to participate in our society.”

As part of the transition to the national scheme, the Federal Government distributed more than 35,000 new permits to Queenslanders and provided two specialist printing machines to the Queensland Government at a total cost of $200,000.

The Queensland Government is now intending to dispose of these two printers and print disability parking permits on cardboard, not the high quality fraud proof polypropylene – as a so called cost saving measure.

“People with disability are some of the most marginalised in our society. Fraud proof parking permits provide a measure of certainty that the right people have access to disability parking”.

“The last thing we want is for dodgy permits to find their way into cars of people who do not have a right to have them,” Senator McLucas said.

“A national permit means a more consistent system which gives people with disability greater independence and dignity when travelling. Now we have the Queensland Government taking a backward step from this national scheme.

“Once again we see the Newman Government pushing people with disability to one side, like their decision to cap the disability taxi subsidy and halting projects to make public transport accessible.”

“Today I am asking the Newman Government to come clean on its intentions with disability parking,” Senator McLucas said.