Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Widespread support for upcoming national disability parking scheme

A national parking scheme for people with disability is a step closer following the release of a summary of consultations on the proposed scheme which endorses the Rudd Government’s plan for the national scheme.

A new national disability parking permit design will be rolled out by July 2010, and discussions with the States and Territories and disability and medical groups are continuing to determine the final eligibility and concessions of the national scheme.

The final scheme will be agreed on this year and will deliver a more consistent system for the estimated 900,000 disability parking permit holders across Australia.

The majority of submissions to the review said there was a need for consistent eligibility criteria across Australia, and that a national scheme would make it less confusing for people with disability who travelled interstate.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, said the consultations backed better enforcement of penalties against those who break disability parking rules by the States.

“It is clear that people with disability rely on disability parking schemes and want to see them better enforced,” Mr Shorten said.

“The consultations also endorse the commitment of disability ministers to create a scheme where no existing permit-holder will be worse off.

“Any uniform concessions that are imposed will be minimum standards, with the States who have more generous concessions for permit holders able to maintain them.

“Doctors will still recommend who is eligible for a disability permit.”

Mr Shorten said the current system was confusing and stressful, with over 100 different types of parking permits and differing eligibility criteria depending on where you go in Australia.”

“Disability parking schemes give independence and dignity to many Australians with limited mobility,” Mr Shorten said.

“We want to make sure we get this national scheme right, which is why we have taken the time to consult widely with the public and key organisations.

For a copy of the consultation report go to Summary report – National consultations about the harmonisation of disability parking permit schemes in Australia initiative