Accessibility is broad term and includes physical access and access to study material.
Students with reduced mobility who may have difficulty accessing a building or room, or travelling around campus in expected timeframes, can discuss their access needs with a Disability Services Officer who can determine if timetabling adjustments can be made to provide appropriate access or more time to move between classes. Assistance travelling between buildings may also be reviewed, and whether a locker is required to store items that cannot be carried around constantly.
Some students may need an adjustment to their workspaces, for instance, to accommodate a wheelchair or to provide a safer environment in which to study. A Disability Services Officer can review your needs and make recommendations to your Faculty for necessary modifications.
Access to study material
Sometimes the learning environment is not accessible ie brief lecture slides are provided but are not detailed and no recordings have been made, lecturer does not speak up and cannot be heard well, or discussion in class is rapid and cannot be followed. A Disability Services Officer can review your lecture support needs, amplification/hearing loop needs, and need for more direct classroom support.
Access to study material may also require review of alternative formatting of material, and sign language interpreting.
Assistance animals on campus
Accredited Assistance Animals have access-all-areas to the University campus.
Students who require the assistance of an accredited Assistance Animal when on campus will need to have evidence of the animal's identification as an Assistance Animal. It is unlawful for a person to discriminate against another person because they are accompanied by an assistance animal, however, the University is allowed to require that a person provide documented evidence that their animal is an Assistance Animal, and to determine whether it would pose a threat to the health and safety of University staff, students and affiliates.
Staff may find it satisfactory that an animal is an assistance animal if one or more of the following is visible on the animal:
1. An assistance badge or permit (visible on its collar, lead, harness, vest);
2. An assistance dog harness;
3. A coat or vest identifying them as an assistance animal.
If the above items are not visible on the assistance animal, the University may lawfully require a person to provide evidence that the animal is an accredited assistance animal. The following items would qualify as evidence of an accredited assistance animal:
1. An assistance animal accreditation (eg permit, identity card, pass) issued by a state or territory assistance animal training provider;
2. A state/territory government issued transport pass or permit; or
3. Other evidence that shows the animal has been trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability and to meet the standards of hygiene and behaviour acceptable for a public place.
Where evidence is required, a staff member must follow the following procedures:
1. A staff member should ask the person who is accompanied by the animal whether their animal is an assistance animal. If the person does not use this description the meaning should be explained.
2. Even if the person has no form of documentation evidence, they may still be able to demonstrate that the animal if trained and responds to their commands. The person in control of an assistance animal should be able to demonstrate that they can keep the animal under control, or that another person who is also present can keep the animal under control on their behalf.
3. A staff member should be respectful in seeking evidence. For example, it would be acceptable to ask “Would you tell me how the animal is trained to assist you?” However, it would not be appropriate to ask for details of the person’s disability.
4. It would also be appropriate to inform the person that it is their responsibility to ensure that the animal meets appropriate standards of hygiene and behaviour while at the University.
It is lawful to refuse access to University grounds and buildings to a person who is accompanied by an animal if:
- no evidence is provided by the person seeking entry with the animal, when requested, which shows that it is an assistance animal or is trained to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour acceptable in a public space;
- the animal is suspected of having an infectious disease; or
- the animal shows signs of endangering people’s health, or the health of other animals.
There is no standard system of accreditation for assistance animals which applies throughout Australia. No specific animal training organisations have been prescribed for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act (1992). However, there are a number of assistance animal training organisations which use a variety of identification methods and materials.
The following types of documents and materials constitute acceptable evidence that an animal is an assistance animal.
Animal training organisations:
- Guide Dogs Australia (harness/medallion)
- Assistance Animals Australia (blue jacket)
- Lions Club Hearing Dogs (orange lead/collar/coat)
- Righteous Pups Australia (green coat)
State/territory certification or accrediation of assistance animals:
- Queensland: certification under Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009
- South Australia: accreditation as a disability dog, guide dog or hearing dog under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995
State/territory public transport access passes:
- Victoria: Assistance Animal Pass
- New South Wales: Assistance Animal Permit