Contributed by Anthea Skinner
In the past, there have been more than one hundred different types of Disability Parking Permit across the nation. Under the new Australian Disability Parking Scheme, being introduced by the Federal Government, there is now a single permit with increased security features to reduce fraudulent misuse, and to make it easier for permit holders to travel interstate.
The new Australian Disability Parking Scheme will ensure clear, consistent policies across the nation. These changes will reduce the chances that people who are not eligible for a Disability Parking Permit are using spaces for people with legitimate mobility challenges.
Although the Australian Disability Parking Scheme provides minimum national standards for disability parking concessions, permits are still issued by individual states and territories. This allows states to more closely meet the needs of their populations, however it also means that there are still slightly different eligibility criteria in each state and territory. Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about the changes to individual parking permits.
Who is Eligible for a Disability Parking Permit?
- People who have an impairment that affects their mobility are eligible for a Disability Parking Permit.
- Permits can be held by individuals or by organisations that work with people with disability.
- Exact criteria for eligible impairments differs from state to state, so it’s important to check your state or territory government website before you apply.
- For example, people living in the ACT who hold a Centrelink pension card endorsed as “blind” can receive a permit without having to consult a doctor.
- In contrast, blind people living in Queensland are not eligible for a permit unless they also have an impairment that directly affects their mobility.
- Disability Parking Permits can only be used when the owner of the permit is using the vehicle.
- The permit must be clearly displayed with the permit number and expiry date visible.
I have a Permit from the Old Scheme – What Should I Do?
If you already have a permit issued under the old scheme, don’t worry, your permit is still valid. In most cases you can continue using your permit until it expires. When you renew your permit you will automatically be sent an Australian Disability Parking Scheme permit. If your current permit doesn’t expire for a long time, you may be sent a new permit and asked to destroy your old one. People living in Queensland who currently have a red permit may choose to stay with this system when they are due for renewal.
Where Can I Park?
Permit holders are eligible to park in reserved spaces displaying the International Symbol of Access. These reserved spaces are larger than average to allow extra room to negotiate wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Accessible parking is also usually located close to the entrances of shopping centres and other facilities to minimise walking distances. People with a Disability Parking Permit are also eligible for concessions or increased time in most public parking spaces where a sign or meter shows specific time limits. Parking is not permitted in restricted locations including clearways, taxi and bus zones, no parking or no stopping areas, and authorised resident areas.
Can I take my Permit with me when I Travel Interstate?
If you have a Disability Parking Permit from your home state you can use it anywhere in Australia. However, you need to be aware that road laws change from state to state so it is important to check parking laws in the state or territory that you are visiting. If you are planning to move interstate permanently you must re-apply for a permit in your new state.
What are the rules in my State or Territory?
Eventually application processes will be standardised across the nation, however at the moment eligibility criteria differ slightly in different states. Here’s a quick guide to the rules in your state or territory:
Australian Capital Territory
There are three types of individual permits available in the ACT: temporary permits (3, 6 or 12 months), long term permits (can be renewed every three years) and permanent permits.
To be eligible for a permit in ACT you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- unable to walk due to a temporary or permanent impairment
- physical condition adversely affected by walking 100m
- use a mobility aid
There is no fee to apply for a permit but applications must be delivered in person to Access Canberra offices.
New South Wales
New South Wales has two types of individual parking permits. Blue permits are issued to people with permanent disability and can be renewed every five years. Red cards are for people with temporary impairments and can be renewed every six months for a total of one year.
Eligibility criteria in NSW are the same as in ACT. Permit holders in NSW need to lodge their applications in person at a Service NSW office to have a photo taken for a NSW Parking Scheme Permit. This must be displayed in the clear sleeve of your Australian Disability Parking Scheme Permit. Applicants under the age of 16 are not required to have their photo taken. Other applicants can apply to receive a photo exemption if they provide a medical certificate stating that they have a facial disfigurement or that their impairment restricts their ability to attend a Service NSW office in person. There is a fee payable for new permits and renewals. Permanent permits cost $41 while temporary ones are $14. Concession card holders do not have to pay these fees.
Disability Parking Permits in the Northern Territory can be renewed every three years and are available to anyone with a disability that affects their mobility. Permit holders can park in any time-restricted spot in the Darwin Municipality for twice the allotted time and can park for free in metered spots. There is a $10 fee for new applications, renewals are free.
New applicants in Queensland will receive a blue Australian Disability Parking Scheme permit, however people who already hold a red Queensland permit are able to continue in that scheme upon renewal. Red permits can be used for any off-street parking showing the International Symbol of Access, however they cannot be used for on-street parking. Blue permits can also be used for increased time in on-street parking.
To be eligible for a permit in Queensland you must be either unable to walk, or your ability to walk must be severely restricted. People with intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive or sensory impairments alone are not eligible unless they also have a mobility impairment that impacts on their ability to walk. There is a fee of $16.45 for new applications.
To be eligible for a permit in South Australia you must have a permanent or temporary impairment that severely restricts your speed of movement and your ability to use public transport. There is a fee of $10 for one year permits and $20 for five year permits.
In Tasmania disability parking permits, taxi subsidy schemes and vehicle registering and licensing concessions are all run through the Transport Access Scheme (TAS). This means that you only need to complete a single form to access all of these services. To be eligible for a permit you must have a life-long, permanent and severe disability that affects mobility. People with temporary impairments are not eligible. Permits are free, however if you lose yours there will be an $11 replacement fee.
Victoria has two types of parking permits. Blue permits are available for people with a significant mobility impairment that requires complex mobility aids or makes it difficult to access average sized parking bays. People whose health may be endangered by walking or who require the assistant of a carer to ensure the safety of themselves or others are also eligible. Blue permits allow people to park in bays showing the International Symbol of Access and allows parking for double the time indicated on signs or meters.
Green permits are for people who are ambulatory, but who require continuous breaks while walking. Green permit holders are not allowed to park in bays displaying the International Symbol of Access, but they are allowed to park for double the time indicated on signs or meters. Parking permits in Victoria are free.
Parking permits in Western Australia are available to anyone who is unable to walk or whose ability to walk is severely restricted by a temporary or permanent disability. Parking permits in Western Australia are free.
Keeping up with the Roll Out
As the Australian Disability Parking Scheme continues to be rolled out there will be increasing levels of standardisation across the country. There is no reason to be concerned about the changes, which are designed to make the system easier and fairer for everyone. You can continue to use you existing permits in exactly the same way as you always have. If you want more information or to download an application form visit your state or territory government website.
Blue Badge Insurance’s Top Tips for Applying for your First Permit
- Go to your state or territory government website to check if you are eligible for a Disability Parking Permit.
- Download an application form from the website.
- Ask your doctor to complete the form. A GP or specialist can do this for you.
- Post your application to the address on the form. People in NSW or ACT may have to submit their forms in person.
- If approved, you will receive your new permit in the mail.