Disability Access QWN

Question

17th June 2011

DISABILITY ACCESS

 
The Hon. JAN BARHAM: I direct my question to the Minister for Finance and Services, representing the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure. The Disability (Access to Premises—Buildings) Standards and accompanying changes to the Building Code of Australia commenced on 1 May 2011, giving greater emphasis to universal design principles. To support these reforms, an Access Advisory Committee has been established to assess applications for exemptions from the standards, based on unjustifiable hardship. Will the Minister advise whether any Commonwealth or New South Wales disability advocacy organisations have representation on that committee? If not, why not? Will the Minister advise how many applications for exemptions from the standards have been sought from the Access Advisory Committee and whether the exemption process will be mandatory?

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I thank the Hon. Jan Barham for her very interesting question. I will be interested to obtain an answer from the Minister and provide it as soon as possible. 

Answer

2nd August 2011

DISABILITY ACCESS

On 17 June 2011 the Hon. Jan Barham asked the Minister for Finance and Services, representing the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, a question without notice regarding disability access. The Minister for Planning and Infrastructure provided the following response:

• The Access Advisory Committee under the NSW Building Professionals Board has been established in accordance with the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Building Codes Board.

• Experts in a range of fields were sought to assist in the Committee’s functions, including the fields of disability access, building code compliance, quantity surveying and heritage conservation.

• These experts have associations with a range of professional bodies including the NSW Network of Access Consultants, the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, and the Heritage Council.

• Whilst the Committee contains significant expertise in disability access matters it does not comprise persons advocating positions on behalf of disability organisations as the task of the Committee is to provide assessments against the technical standards contained in the Disability Standards and the Building Code of Australia.

• As at 21 June 2011 no applications have been received for consideration by the Committee.

• Initially, referral of matters involving unjustifiable hardship will be voluntary. Should proposed changes be made to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, referral of all matters involving unjustifiable hardship to the Committee will be mandatory.