Join our Facebook group – “Against the Proposed Narrowing of Accessible Parking Permit Eligibility“!
**Please spread this post far and wide**
Following on from Lauredhel’s powerful CALL TO ACTIVISM, here is a form letter that I developed (with input from Lauredhel, Wildly Parenthetical and my RL friend J), which can be used by anyone wishing to protest the ways in which this new scheme discriminates against many people with disabilities.
This letter can be modified as you wish, to suit your own circumstances and to include any additional ideas that you might have:
Dear [Name OR Sir/Madam],
I am writing to express my concern regarding the scheme proposed in the discussion paper, “Harmonisation of Disability Parking Permit Schemes in Australia*”. The proposed scheme excludes a large proportion of people with disabilities who are adversely affected by regular parking. It does not make sufficient provisions for individuals who require a walking stick, or who use shopping trolleys or prams as alternative assistive devices. It also excludes individuals with disabilities who, although they are able to walk short distances without assistance, are negatively impacted by the requirement that they use distant or inaccessible parking. Consequently, it significantly reduces the number of Australians with disabilities eligible for a Disability Parking Permit, including many of those for whom access to accessible parking is a necessity for living everyday life.
Under current schemes, persons capable of walking only short distances without pain or other incapacitation can use disability parking spaces to access workplaces, educational institutions, healthcare services, shopping centres, and public facilities such as libraries and parks independently. Under the new proposal, these individuals will lose their independence, and be forced to rely on the assistance of others, contributing to their social and political isolation. People likely to be adversely affected include (but are not limited to) those who suffer from illnesses such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, those in the early stages of degenerative diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, those with severe mental illnesses, and those who experience high levels of pain from past injuries etc.
In addition to having a profound negative impact on the independence of many Australians living with disability, this scheme also reinforces the harmful and narrow notion that disability must be visible—via the use of various medical mobility aids—before it is considered legitimate. If implemented, this scheme will particularly adversely affect those Australians who live with ‘invisible’ disabilities, who already suffer significant discrimination within the community.
This level of discrimination against people with disabilities is unacceptable in a nation dedicated to giving all of its citizens a “fair go”. People with disabilities are important contributors to the nation, and thus it is imperative that you expand the eligibility criteria for Disability Parking Permits before this scheme is implemented, for the sake of all Australians—but especially those who live with invisible disabilities.
More details below the fold.
Emails can be sent to:
OR snail-mail to:
Australian Disability Parking Scheme submissions (East Wing)
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610
Deadline for submissions is 5pm AEST Friday 31 July 2009.
Wildly Parenthetical has posted about current State and Territory criteria for disability parking permits here, and Lauredhel has posted ableist invocations of “parking permit abuse” here.