The Commissioner for Equal Opportunity has launched a new tool to support people living with disability report difficulties accessing public venues and businesses.

The Disability Access Reporting Tool (DART) is an online form that triggers an email directly to owners/operators, informing them about access issues experienced by the user and reminding them of their obligations under discrimination law.

“People living with disability should not be prevented from visiting public places or venues or impeded because they don’t have a safe and appropriate way to enter the premises or use the facilities available,” Commissioner Jodeen Carney said.

“While most venues are aware of disability access requirements, in some cases they may not be meeting everyone’s needs or they may not be aware of a specific issue that is preventing access.

“This tool helps people living with disability get in touch with venues where they have experienced difficulty, to provide venues and businesses with the information they need to make any necessary changes.

“It is also designed to assist venues by alerting them to a problem they may not have known they had.”

The online form is easy to complete, allowing users to check a box to define the access problem they experienced and provide more detail. They need to provide information about the venue, as well as a date the issue occurred. Information can be provided anonymously.

A notification email is then sent to the venue recommending the owner/operator considers the matters raised and their responsibilities under equal opportunity legislation.

The Office of the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity (OCEO) does not validate the concerns raised and takes no further action unless a formal complaint is made.

The online form was developed in collaboration with students from Flinders University and JFA Purple Orange. View more information on disability access rights.

Well-known Adelaide chef Alana Brabin has welcomed the DART initiative, and hopes that it will alert more business owners and managers to issues they can readily address.

“Venue owners and managers aren’t always aware of the simple steps they can take to make their premises more accessible for people with disability, and they may not even be aware there is a problem,” she said.

“Increasing the spacing between tables or removing furniture from doorways can make a significant difference. It’s not always that simple, but this resource will help owners and managers be more informed which I think they will appreciate and benefit from.”

Alana has worked as head chef at Lyndoch Hill in the Barossa Valley, Sparkke at the Whitmore, is part of catering business, Big Bad Wolf.

Legal Services Commission CEO Gabrielle Canny welcomed the initiative saying the Commission’s Disability Information and Legal Assistance unit (DILA) believes the program is likely to not only assist people with disability but business owners as well.

“Accessibility challenges for people with disability occur too frequently. One in five people have a disability and so it’s good business to ensure unimpeded access,” she said.

“Too many people with disability are too often denied access to premises and services. We hope this initiative will eliminate unlawful restrictions that unfairly restrict people’s access.”

Learn more about DART.