The State Government today announced the expansion of the ACROD Parking Program eligibility criteria. The review and recommendations highlighted the significant barriers for people whose ability to safely navigate a carpark is significantly restricted by a disability or medical condition.
The ACROD Parking Program enables people with disability and their carers to park in designated bays that are larger in dimension and close to building and complex entrances. This program supports people to access the community.
Eligibility criteria for the 40-year-old program are being expanded following a review led by the Department of Communities in collaboration with people with disability, and National Disability Services (NDS), which administers the program.
The expanded eligibility criteria will now include those who are legally blind and people assisted by a guide dog. The review of the ACROD program announced in 2020 included consultation with people with disability, as well as more than 530 community organisations and government stakeholders State-wide.
The review found that people who were legally blind often experienced barriers when accessing the community, with the issue of safely navigating carparks consistently raised by individuals and support people.
The review also highlighted the need for more ACROD parking bays and recommended that strategies be developed to address this issue. The next phase of the ACROD Parking Program review will investigate options to increase the number of available ACROD parking bays in Western Australia and to minimise bay misuse.
More than 90,000 people currently hold a permit for designated ACROD bays, which help connect people to the community and enable increased independence.
As stated by Disability Services Minister Don Punch:
“An estimated 411,500 Western Australians live with disability, including more than 90,000 who hold ACROD parking permits, and in recent years there has been concern that the ACROD eligibility criteria left out a number of people needing assistance navigating carparks.
“In response, the McGowan Government commissioned a review that took the views of more than 530 stakeholders into account and highlighted concerns around safety in navigating carparks and the availability of designated parking bays.
“I am pleased to announce we are able to expand the eligibility criteria so that more people have better access to their community.
“The State Government will also look at increasing the number of parking bays by establishing a Ministerial Roundtable with industry stakeholders and intensive consultation with local government authorities.”