Did you catch us on the news last Wednesday April 24 discussing access rights for Guide Dog handlers and their Guide Dogs?
On International Guide Dog Day (April 24) we held a nation-wide campaign alongside the other Australian Guide Dog schools to raise awareness around public access.
In the lead up to International Guide Dog Day we conducted a survey that showed 1 in 2 Guide Dog handlers are still being refused access to businesses and transport services when accompanied by their Guide Dogs.
We welcomed media on site to discuss the issue and spread the word across the state with the aim of educating business owners and their employees about the legislation.
Our Chief Executive Officer Michael Kightley said public education and greater accountability by service providers to educate their staff is key to making a positive change.
“We understand that most of these refusals are the result of a lack of awareness so we are hopeful that by raising this issue on International Guide Dog Day, business owners will communicate with their staff about the legislation.” Mr Kightley said.
For our General Manager for Client Engagement, Jayson Hanrahan, his own experience over the past 24 years as a Guide Dog handler gives him personal insight into the issue.
“It’s never polite I’ll be honest. It is quite confrontational. But I guess the main thing is you just feel less of a person, that you don’t have the rights that every other person has.” Jayson said.
No one should ever have to face this discrimination when they have the right to access these public places just like everyone else.
We are hopeful that the awareness raised this International Guide Dog Day will help to lower the number of access refusals that Guide Dog handlers receive.
If you or someone you know have been refused access because of your Guide Dog please contact us on 1800 810 122.