People with disabilities may find life harder under O'Farrell
The NSW Labor Opposition today slammed the O'Farrell Government for failing to inform key disability advocacy groups about possible changes to disability parking permits – which will make life even harder for people with 'hidden' disabilities, such as multiple sclerosis.
The Shadow Minister for Roads, Robert Furolo and Shadow Minister for Ageing and Disability, Barbara Perry are calling on the government to extend the review's consultation period – which closes today – so all stakeholders can have their say.
"The O'Farrell Government wants to make people with neuromuscular disorders, cerebral palsy and amputees have their physical condition reviewed each time their disabled parking pass expires," Shadow Roads Minister, Robert Furolo said today.
"There is no problem with reviewing the disability parking scheme to ensure people aren’t taking advantage of the passes, but forcing people with serious disabilities to prove they are still disabled every five years is disgraceful.
"This completely ignores the seriousness of conditions such as cerebral palsy and the challenges people with conditions like multiple sclerosis go through each and every day.
"To make matters worse, the government failed to even inform disability groups, including MS NSW and Huntington's NSW, about the review so they could advocate on behalf of their clients.
"Given the significant changes proposed, the O'Farrell Government should extend the consultation period for at least another month to ensure disability groups can have their say."
Ms Perry said there were a number of concerning proposals in the O'Farrell Government's discussion paper.
"The O'Farrell Government is proposing dropping medical assessments in favour of physical assessments for disabled parking permits," she said.
"This means amputees and people with 'hidden' disabilities such as multiple sclerosis could lose their ability to access disabled parking permits.
"People with permanent disabilities, including amputees and people with cerebral palsy, shouldn't have to go through the indignity of proving their disability every five years.
"I'm also concerned that plans to introduce a log book system for disability transport groups that use permits on behalf of their clients would have major cost and administrative implications for carers."
Karen Henry, who has multiple sclerosis and only became aware of the proposals after consultations took place, had to alert many organisations to the review.
"Being able to access disability parking is absolutely vital for people with multiple sclerosis," Ms Henry said.
"There are already enough barriers that stop us from doing what many people take for granted, and I'm worried that if some of these proposals go ahead, we will become further isolated.
"Many people with multiple sclerosis totally rely on disabled parking to access work and study opportunities, medical appointments and day to day activities such as grocery shopping."
Link to the review discussion paper:
Tags: Barbara Perry, Barry O'Farrell, Disabilities, government, MS, NSW, Robert Furolo