Access for Guide Dogs
In accordance with Victorian State Laws, a person who is blind or vision impaired accompanied by a Guide Dog is permitted to:
- Travel on any form of public transport including taxis, buses, trams and trains (Guide Dogs are trained to sit quietly at their handler's feet and will not disturb or lick the driver)
- Enter any public place
- Visit any theatre
- Eat in any restaurant
- shop in any store (including supermarkets and food stores)
It is generally discriminatory and unlawful for anyone to:
Attempt to deny these rights to a blind or vision impaired person solely because he or she is accompanied by a Guide Dog or to treat a person with a vision impairment less favourably because of the fact they possess or are accompanied by a Guide Dog
The laws also apply to people training Guide Dogs and Guide Dog puppies.
The relevant Laws
The rights of Guide Dog users are covered under Section 7 of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 and Section 9(1) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 - both of which override the Health Act which prohibits dogs from entering food premises. Compliance with these laws will ensure that owners/managers of public facilities will avoid prosecution and/or embarrassment resulting from refusal of Guide Dog access.
A Guide Dog is a key to independence - for Guide dog users
Most Victorians are generous in providing open access to public places for people with vision impairment people accompanied by their Guide Dogs.
Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates the important role a Guide Dog plays, or aren't fully aware of their legal obligations.
This has led to some Guide Dog users being unnecessarily inconvenienced, embarrassed and hurt by refusal of access to restaurants or food outlets. Others have been left stranded in potentially dangerous situations because a taxi or bus driver didn't understand the law.
We thank you for making Guide Dog users welcome and informing other of the accessibility of Guide Dog users.
Guide Dogs are quiet, well behaved, non-aggressive and completely clean at all times.
"When someone denies you access on the basis that you are accompanied by a Guide Dog, they strip you of the very independence that wonderful animal brings. It is an immense inconvenience, but more than that - it makes you feel like a second class citizen." - Joan, Guide Dog User.
For further information and supplies of 'Guide Dogs Welcome' window stickers and brochures, contact us on (03) 9854 4444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complaints - Taxi Access
Guide Dogs are welcome in all Victorian taxis and hire vehicles. If you experience poor taxi or hire vehicle services contact the Taxi Services Commission on 1800 638 802 or visit www.taxi.vic.gov.au to lodge a formal complaint. Your complaint can be taken over the phone or in person if you have difficulty completing a form.
Complaints - Other
If you have been denied access to a public area or transport and were unable to resolve the issue with the proprietor/VTD, please contact our Public Education Officer on 03 9854 4464.