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Access & Advocacy

Access and Advocacy

Man with cane travelling up an up escalator


People with impaired vision are encouraged to facilitate access improvements in their neighborhoods, by working with local councils, government authorities and shopkeepers.

Environmental Design

Good environmental design benefits the community as a whole, not just those with impaired vision. It uses natural features and materials without modifying the environment unnecessarily. Consistency of design assists people with vision impairment in being independent and empowers them as they make their way through their world.

Specific guidelines for access in the built environment can be found in the 1428 suite of Australian Standards.

1428.1 Part 1: General requirements for access — New building work
1428.2 Part 2: Enhanced and additional requirements — Buildings and facilities
1428.3 Part 3: Requirements for children and adolescents with physical disabilities
1428.4 Part 4: Tactile indicators

These standards can be purchased from SAI Global.

Hazards and Obstructions

People with vision impairment often encounter hazards and obstacles as they travel through the environment. Simple design solutions to minimise hazards will benefit the entire community.

What is the difference between obstacles and hazards?

Obstructions or obstacles are things that prevent or hinder movement and cause inconvenience. These might include planters, A-frame signs, outdoor dining areas, cafe seating. Hazards are things that can obstruct movement but also generate issues of safety. These may include overhead obstacles and pedestal objects.


  • Uneven footpaths due to tree roots (tripping hazard)
  • Overhanging signs, trees and foliage (overhead hazard)
  • Pedestal objects such as telephone booths (head height hazard)
  • Poorly designed stairs and escalators where there is no protection underneath (head height hazard)
  • Skateboards / Bicycles


  • Planter boxes
  • Poles
  • A-frame signs and other advertising boards
  • Outdoor dining areas / café seating
  • Shop displays
  • Street furniture
  • Prams and pushers
  • People standing in the middle of the footpath

Guide Dogs

A Guide Dog is a vital means of independent travel for many people living with impaired vision. As a mobility aid, a Guide Dog is permitted by law to accompany their users in all public places – shops, hotels, motels, pubs and clubs, restaurants and places of worship, as well as taxis, buses and trains. These rights are covered by the following legislation:

  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth)
  • Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (New South Wales)
  • Companion Animals Act 1998 (New South Wales)
  • Passenger Transport Act 1990 (New South Wales)
  • Rail Safety Act 1993 (New South Wales)
  • Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT)
  • Domestic Animals Act 2000 (ACT)
  • Need other States’ legislation

Useful Links

Man with cane getting on train