Legislation currently in force across Australia's states and territories.
Victoria is governed by the Equal Opportunity Act 1995. This Act is semi-restrictive in that is uses the term "guide dog", however it defines a guide dog as "a dog that is trained to assist a person who has a visual, hearing or mobility impairment". That means that assistance dogs such as Medical Alert / Response Dogs, Psychiatric Assistance Dogs or Autism Dogs are not included in the Act. The act is also not very broad because the only mention of "guide dogs" relates to refusing to allow guide dogs in accommodation; nothing about places of businesses, etc..
Section 52 of the Act states the following:
52 Discrimination by refusing to allow guide dogs
- A person must not refuse to provide accommodation to a person with a visual, hearing or mobility impairment because that person has a guide dog.
- A person must not require, as a term of providing accommodation to a person with a visual, hearing or mobility impairment who has a guide dog:
- that the dog be kept elsewhere;
- that the person pay an extra charge because of the dog.
- This section does not affect the liability of the person with the guide dog for any damage caused by the dog.
New South Wales
The Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland takes complaints regarding discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (QLD). Section 85, which states:
- A person must not discriminate by doing any of the following:
- refusing to rent accommodation to another person because the other person has an impairment and relies on a guide, hearing or assistance dog;
- requesting or requiring the other person to pay an extra charge because the dog lives at the accomodation.
- This section does not affect the liability of the person with the dog for any damage caused by the dog.
The Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 is a more recent legislation that offers handlers greater protections (including financial penalties for acts of discrimination) for approved dogs. This legislation presents many hoops and not all handlers are covered under it like the federal law or the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.
The Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Act is rather restrictive as it still uses the term "guide dog", but defines this as "a dog that is trained to provide assistance to a person who has a visual, hearing or mobility impairment". Section 21 of the Act states:
ANTI-DESCRIMINATION ACT - SECT 21
Discrimination by refusing to allow guide dog, &c.
- For the purposes of this Act, a person discriminates on the ground of impairment against a person with a visual, hearing or mobility impairment if the person treats the person with the impairment less favourably because the person has a guide dog.
- Subsection (1) applies notwithstanding that it is the practice of the person to treat less favourably other persons who have dogs.
- Nothing in this section shall limit the operation of section 20 in relation to discrimination on the ground of impairment.
- This section does not affect the liability of a person with a guide dog for any damage caused by the guide dog.
Taxis and other Commercial Passenger Vehicles
For the Commercial Passenger Vehicle industry in the NT, Section 10 of the Northern Territory Taxi Regulations apply to those with an Assistance Dog. Theres also other legislation that applies, stating basically the same thing, depending on the type of CPV in question, such as Private Hire, Limousine, Mini Bus, Courtesy Vehicle or Passenger Bus. These regulations can be found on the NT Department of Transport website.
Guide and Hearing Dogs Act 1967 refers only to guide or hearing dogs.
Australian Capital Territory