Scarcity of parking spaces is always a major problem in most towns and cities, but when you’re disabled, it gets even harder if not almost impossible to find an accessible car space whenever you need it. However, obtaining a disabled parking permit can actually alleviate this struggle.
There are reserved parking facilities for disabled people spread out in cities and towns throughout Australia. If you have a disabled parking permit, these parking bays can be a life saver.
They are slightly wider compared to regular parking space and are located near most premises. So, they provide extra room and shorter distances affording easy access to public amenities or any commercial premise that provides disabled parking facility.
But even much better is that with this permit you can as well make special arrangements to get a disabled parking space outside your own home.
Disability Parking Permit under the new Australia Parking Scheme
An Australian Disability Parking Permit is issued to either an individual or driver with a temporary or permanent disability, or to an organisation that offers transport services to people with disability.
The permits are administered by the local councils within the State or Territory where you reside. However, all the permits adhere to the state-wide parking scheme, the Australian Disability Parking Scheme (ADPS), which is an initiative introduced by the Federal Government along with the States and Territories to facilitate a single nationally recognised Disable Parking Permit.
Basically, the ADPS defines both the eligibility criteria and the minimum standards for disability parking concessions which are employed by the States and Territories in order to facilitate easier interstate travelling for permit holders and reduce fraudulent misuse of the permits.
Types of Permits and Legibility
In this current scheme, you can apply and hold only one disabled parking permit. But the permits come in two categories. We have category one permit or rather the Australian Disability Parking Permit which is blue and category two permit which is green.
There are also red permits but these ones are no longer issued unless you already had it and you wish to reapply for another once it expires.
The decision to grant a specific permit type to an individual or any permit for that matter is based on the assessment carried out by a medical practitioner.
To be eligible for a blue disability parking permit, you must meet either of the following conditions:
- You are not able to walk and require a wheelchair, walking frame, crutches or any other mobility aid.
- Your ability to walk is critically affected due to a permanent medical condition or physical disability or as a result of a temporary disability or medical condition that is to go for 6 months or more as confirmed by a medical practitioner.
- If you are permanently blind.
For the green disability parking permit, that is, a temporary disable parking permit, you are eligible if your medical practitioner certifies that your ambulatory disability or illness though not permanent is significant or severe and will not likely get better within six months.
In the case of cognitive, sensory, psychiatric or intellectual impairment without a mobility impairment that severely restricts the ability to walk, an applicant is considered not to meet the eligibility criteria for any of the above permits.
However, each state and territory has a slightly different eligibility criteria although they all include the minimum national disability parking concessions established by the ADPS.
In other words, the ADPS is flexible enough to allow States and Territories to tailor their eligibility criteria and parking concessions so as to address more closely the needs of their local permit holders.
Here is a quick overview of some of the criteria applied in various States and Territories.
The ACT offers three different types of individual permits, that is, permanent permits, long term permits (renewable after every three years) and temporary permits (issued for 3, 6 or 12 months period). Permit application is free of charge and must be handed in person to offices of Access Canberra. The eligibility criteria is similar to the one described above.
Two types of permits are available in the New South Wales, the blue permits issued to individuals with permanent disabilities (renewable every five years) and red permits issued to those with temporary disability (renewable after six months for a maximum of one year)
The eligibility criteria is similar to that of Australian Capital Territory and applications must be delivered in person at Service NSW office. However, there is a fee attached which is $41 for permanent permits and $14 for temporary permits. You are exempt from these fees if you have a concession card.
In the Northern Territory, permits are issued for both people with permanent disability (renewable after three years) and temporary disability (valid for a 6 month period). The eligibility criteria is similar to the one specified above. There is a $10 first time fee paid in person at City of Darwin, Civic Centre offices or via post with cheque or using credit card and the completed application enclosed. All permit renewals are free.
Queensland offers two disability parking permits, an Australian blue permit for permanent disability valid for 5 years and 6 to 12 months temporary permit for individuals with temporary disability. Red permits are not issued to new applicants but in case you already have it, you can reapply for new one after it expires.
Eligibility criteria remains the same as in all the other territories. You can lodge your application in person or by post at the Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre. A non-refundable fee of $16.45 must be paid for a new application.
Like in Queensland, the South Australia territory avails two permits, a permanent blue Australian permit which is valid for 5 years and a temporary permit valid for up to 1 year where the impairment is not permanent.
The application form is submitted personally at any Service SA Customer Service Centre. For permanent disable parking permit, the fee is $20 while for the temporary permit the fee is $10.
Unlike the other Territories, in Tasmania you can only apply for a disability parking permit if you have permanent disability that severely restricts your mobility. You are not eligible for a permit if you have a temporary impairment.
You will have to complete a Transport Access Scheme application form and submit to any Service Tasmania shops or online. There is no fee applied unless you lose the permit where you will have to part with $11 replacement fee.
Victoria offers both blue permits for those with severe mobility impairment and green permits for those with temporary disability. The former is valid for up to 5 years while the latter goes to a maximum of six months. Eligibility criteria is still the same as all other territories but there are no any payments required for permit applications.
Western Australia equally issues disability parking permits to people with permanent medical condition or disability that drastically limits their mobility as well as those with temporary medical condition or disability. Completed application forms can be send via post, fax or email to Acrod Parking Program with zero fees.
All these Territories aside from Tasmania have similar eligibility criteria with only a slight difference in the application procedure. However, like it is mentioned earlier, except for the national standards for disability parking concessions, local parking rules and concessions might be a bit different in each Territory or State.
Basic Steps for Applying Your First Disable Parking Permit
- Visit the website of your State or Territory government to check the specific conditions that render your situation legible for a Disability Parking Permit.
- Download the application form available on the website
- Fill in the applicant’s part as specified in the form
- Visit your doctor or occupational therapist and ask him/her to complete the part they are required to fill.
- Deliver your application in person if stated in the form or submit it through post or email address if provided on the form.
- Wait for your application to be processed of which it can take 4 weeks or more depending on the direction of your State or Territory.
- When your application is approved, you will receive your permit via the mail or be notified to fetch it in the respective offices.
All in all, whether it’s temporary disability or permanent disability, the Australian Disability Parking Scheme is increasing levels of standardisation across the nations. As these changes continue taking place, the process of applying and using a disabled parking permit will become fairer and easier for everyone.
So, if you have a medical condition or disability that is restricting your mobility, you don’t have to struggle for regular parking space anymore. Take the necessary steps to acquire the disability parking permit and start utilizing the handicap parking facilities spread all over the country.
And don't forget to have a look at our range of manual wheelchairs and powered wheelchairs so you can get the best equipment!