Drivers who illegally park in specially-marked disability parking bays at shopping centres and other locations will be targeted in a special campaign this Christmas.
At the Centro Mandurah Shopping Centre today, Disability Services Minister Margaret Quirk launched the No Permit-No Parking campaign aimed at protecting accessible car parking bays for people with disabilities.
“Christmas is a hectic time for all of us, with parking at shopping centres and other venues at a premium,” Ms Quirk said.
“People with disabilities bear the brunt of the pressure on available parking during the ‘Christmas rush’ and it is only fair that their entitlement to accessible parking bays should be respected.
“People who do not have an ACROD parking permit are breaking the law if they park in the specially-marked bays and if they do so, they run the risk of a hefty fine.”
Ms Quirk said about 48,000 Western Australians held parking permits issued by ACROD, the National Industry Association for Disability Services, which entitled them to use accessible parking bays in shopping centres, public car parks and other areas in the community.
People with limited mobility, particularly those using wheelchairs or frames and crutches, needed accessible parking bays because they were wider.
“The Disability Services Commission and ACROD frequently receive complaints from ACROD parking permit holders that accessible parking bays are being used inappropriately.
“If they cannot park in an accessible parking bay because it has been taken by someone who has no right to it, they are unable to do their shopping or attend to their business: it is not on,” the Minister said.
“Providing accessible parking bays is not granting some sort of special favour, it is a mandatory requirement at all public facilities and a basic right of people with disabilities.”
The commission is writing to all local government authorities and shopping centre managers, encouraging them to patrol parking for transgressors, and if necessary, to issue fines.
“Ads are being placed in newspapers throughout Western Australia to raise public awareness of this very important issue,” Ms Quirk said.
The Minister also urged all members of the public to be vigilant and to help ensure that designated disability parking bays were available to the people who needed them.
She said shopping centres were also expected to back the campaign, with many responsible managers dedicating patrols to ensure that disability parking was reserved for the correct users. Fines of up to $1,000 applied.
Minister's office: 9213 7000