Access to Premises announced at last! 13/04/2010
Monday, 15 March 2010
Building access standards an investment in the future
Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, said today’s launch by the federal government of proposed new standards for access to public buildings for people with a disability was a significant step towards making our buildings safer and more accessible for everyone.
“Ensuring better access has to be seen as an investment in the future,” said Commissioner Innes. “As our population ages, every Australian will benefit from these improvements.”
The Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards clarify how designers, developers, managers and building certifiers can meet their responsibilities under discrimination law to ensure buildings are accessible to people with a disability.
“The launch of these Premises Standards mean that we are close to finalising what will be far-reaching improvements in building design and construction throughout Australia,” said Commissioner Innes. “We are also closer to the goal of making building law and discrimination law say the same thing when it comes to access.”
Once standards are approved by Parliament, Commissioner Innes expects work to proceed on making changes to building laws to ensure they reflect the new standards. It is expected that the standards will come into force in May 2011, a timeframe that gives industry and regulators time to understand the changes fully and prepare themselves to apply them rigorously.
“If we look at the thousands of buildings without adequate access for people with a disability, which have been constructed or renovated since work started on developing these standards in 2001, the importance of finalising the Premises Standards becomes very clear,” Mr. Innes said.
Commissioner Innes said the tabling of the standards was an exciting development that would also make an important contribution to the government’s social inclusion agenda. He congratulated all those who had participated in their development, in particular the federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, and the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, for their commitment to their finalisation.
Background information available at:
Media contact: Shyamla Eswaran 02 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529