In celebration of International Guide Dogs Day Queensland has just unveiled a set of laws that will change the governance of helper pooches when they’re out and about.
The new Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Amendment Act 2015 says Coralee O’Rourke, Qld minister for disability services, will make it it simpler for those with disabilities and their helpful hounds to get around.
“The new law will benefit people with disability by enabling them to increase their access and participation in the community,” O’Rourke said.
“For example, children with autism can be supported by an alternative handler, usually a parent, to control their assistance dog in public places and on public transport.
“It will also protect people who rely on certified guide, hearing or assistance dogs from being segregated from other patrons, separated from their dog or being charged extra.
“Individual operators of public places or vehicles can now be fined up to $12,000 and corporations can be fined up to $59,000, for denying public access to certified dogs and their handlers.
“We’re committed to improving the lives of people with disability and we expect that the introduction of this legislation will do just that.”
Three training bus stops have also been opened at Guide Dogs Queensland’s training centre in Bald Hills, Brisbane, to coincide with the new laws. Stirling Hinchliffe, Qld transport minister, said the mock bus stops will help guide dogs and those with vision impairments train.
Guide Dogs Queensland provides a vital service to the community and we are very pleased to assist with the ongoing training the association provides,” said Hinchliffe.
“I would like to acknowledge and thank Pryde Fabrication for building the stops and generously donating $10,000 to the project.
“The Queensland Government contributed $11,012 to the initiative which will give blind and vision impaired people added confidence to use public transport with their guide dogs.”
Dan English, Guide Dogs Queensland CEO was equally pleased to see the updates to guide dog laws.
“It’s really great to see that this year’s International Guide Dogs Day will mark the realisation of many years hard work between Guide Dogs and the government on legislation and subsequent amendments to provide a law that meets the needs of today’s guide dog handlers,” Mr English said.
“For Guide Dogs Queensland, these amendments are all about slashing red tape and lengthy administrative processes so our dogs can start changing lives for the better as soon as possible.”