Disability parking overhaul

While disability parking spaces have long been a fixture of shopping centres across Australia, it wasn’t until 2008 when the Australian Disability Parking Scheme (ADPS) was first introduced to provide a minimum standard for parking accessibility. 

Since it’s the introduction, legislation around disability parking spots has long been under review across Australia, including amendments to Queensland’s rules and regulations in 2020 which expanded the Disability Parking Permit Scheme (DPPS) to include Queenslanders with permanent and temporary vision loss. 

CPL’s State Client Consultative Committee member Nigel Webb said the expanded criteria would hopefully ease some of the discomfort felt in uncomfortable car park situations by Queenslanders with a hidden disability. 

“The best thing you can do is to have a valid disability parking permit attached in the correct position,” Mr Webb said. 

How to apply for a disability parking permit 

Use the Queensland government’s online service which allows you to apply for, reapply for or replace a disability parking permit for your own use or as an agent / parent / carer for an applicant. 

To use this service for individuals you will need:

- the applicant's name and date of birth, and

- the applicant's Queensland driver licence or customer reference number, or

- the applicant's disability parking permit number

- you may be required to provide supporting documentation with your application. 

Applicants will generally receive notification of their approval or refusal within 28 days. Though this may vary on a case-by-case basis. 

Click here to apply or for more information.   

“Applicants are now far more diverse in their need.”

A Transport and Mains Road (TMR) spokesperson said they were in full support of the expanded DPPS eligibility criteria which had already resulted in in a surge of applications.

“There have been about 370 applications received from legally blind Queenslanders since implementation,” the TMR spokesperson said.

“In 2020 (to date to 13 October), more than 44,267 applications for a disability parking permit, (including renewals, temporary permits and new applications) were made.”

Fast facts:

- In 2019, TMR recorded 59,403 applications for disability parking permits.

- In 2020 (to date to 13 October), TMR has received 44,267 applications for a disability parking permits.

- As of 30 September 2020, more than 200,200 permits have been issued to individuals, and 9700 organisation permits issued to just under 1000 organisations.

- In 2020, the fine for illegally parking in a disabled spot increased to $533, up from $266. 

- As of 2020, the fine for illegally parking in a disabled spot across New South Wales increased to $581 and a demerit point penalty. 

- QPS issued infringement notices to 660 people for parking in disabled spots in 2019.

- In the first six months of 2020, QPS issued infringement notices to 318 drivers.

The 2020 legislation update also introduced some of Australia’s harshest parking penalties with those found illegally parking in a disabled spot across Queensland to face an on the spot fine of $533, up from $266. 

The doubling of fines comes in response to the Queensland Police Service (QPS) having issued infringement notices to 660 people for parking in disabled spots in 2019 and 318 to drivers in first six months of 2020. 

Though high, these fines only indicate a small portion of offences with local councils also able to carry across the increase.

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the expanded eligibility and increased fines were a common-sense change intended to make life easier for thousands of Queenslanders with a disability.

“Drivers who illegally park in disability spaces should expect to be harshly penalised. It’s arrogant and selfish behaviour that the community doesn’t support,” Mr Bailey said.

“I’ve already written to local councils, major retailers, car park operators and shopping centre groups calling on them to adopt our tougher approach and to work with us to increase enforcement.

“If everyone obeys these rules, parking bays will be available to permit holders when they need them.”

How to apply for a disability parking in New South Wales 

Visit the Transport for New South Wales website and follow the below steps to apply for a permit. 

1. Check your eligibility. 

2. Download, print and fill out the Mobility Parking Scheme application form. You can also get a copy of this form from any service centre.

3. Get the medical certificate section of the form completed by your doctor, to confirm you are eligible.

4. Submit your completed application form with proof of your identity either:

- online on the Service NSW website

- in person at any service centre

- If your application is approved, your new permit will be posted to you within 10 business days. You can't park in disabled spaces or access parking concessions until you have your permit.

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A picture of an accessible car park logo. The logo is of a blue square with a white silhouette of a person in a wheelchair. The background is of a car park.