THE Bathurst Regional Access Committee (BRAC) is planning to lobby to change a law to ensure equitable access to multi-tenanted buildings, not only in Bathurst, but across the country.
The law they have an issue with is section 4.3 of the Disability (Access to Premises - Building) Standards.
This section refers to lessees, and says that if the lessee of a new part of a building submits an application for approval for the building work, the building certifier, building developer and building manager do not have to ensure that the affected part of the building complies with the standards.
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BRAC interim chairperson Bob Triming said the committee has run into issues with this particular section when trying to address concerns it has with a new business coming to William Street.
He said the business is required to build an accessible toilet as part of the development application (DA), but is not required to provide equitable access into the premises.
If the business is fitted out as proposed, it would be inaccessible for many people with disabilities or mobility issues.
Mr Triming said he has come across similar issues with a number of buildings in Bathurst, which is why he wants the access committee to lobby for change.
"I've been carrying on about this for years upon years. In my initial stages, my issue was with council because they wouldn't tell the applicants that they had to put in a disability toilet, but they may get a complaint under the Disability Discrimination Act, but my understanding is they now do that," he said.
"My beef is not with council on this issue, it's with building owners and the not adhering to the Disability Discrimination Act."
In an effort to change the standards, Mr Triming said that he intends to write to various members of parliament and get in touch with media outlets to raise awareness about the issue.
If the standards are changed, it would make a big difference in the lives of people in the community and visitors to town who have disabilities.
"It would make a hell of a lot of difference," Mr Triming said.
"I think there is 26 NDIS businesses in town and they all have multiple clients. There's a heck of a lot of people it affects and it also affects that $8 billion disability tourism dollar in Australia."
He encouraged business owners and developers to get in touch with BRAC to discuss their plans, so the committee can help them identify any access issues.
He said it's not just about equitable access, but also ensuring that businesses can reach more potential customers.
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