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Guide Dogs Can Legally Go Anywhere

16 February, 2012

Guide dogs are legally allowed to accompany their owners into all public venuesGuide Dogs NSW/ACT is reminding hospitality venues and other public outlets that it is illegal for them to refuse entry to a person with a guide dog.

This follows Sue-Ellen Lovett and her guide dog Prada recently being refused entry to three hospitality venues in southern NSW. Sue-Ellen, who is a dual Australian Paralympian from Dubbo, has had guide dogs for the past 32 years, with Prada being her fifth.

Guide Dogs provides free information and staff training about the legal access rights of people who use guide dogs to hospitality businesses and other industry groups across NSW and the ACT.

"Refusing a guide dog user entry to a restaurant, cafe or other public venue is illegal under the Federal Disability Discrimination Act," said Dr Graeme White, CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

"It is disappointing to hear of yet another incident where someone with a guide dog has been stopped from going about their day because the public has been unaware of this law.

"Guide dogs in harness are working, and helping people who are blind or have impaired vision to get around safely and independently."

The southern NSW incident confirms research conducted by Guide Dogs that reveals low public awareness that guide dogs are legally allowed in hospitality venues.

A recent Roy Morgan study commissioned by Guide Dogs found that around one in four people surveyed are not aware that guide dogs are allowed in restaurants, cafes, hotels and clubs.

In a separate survey in 2010, Guide Dogs found that one in three people who use a guide dog were refused entry to a restaurant in the previous year.

Guide Dog users are allowed into restaurants under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Section 9), NSW Companion Animal Act 1998 (Sections 14 & 59) and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Chapter 3, Section 24 (1) b).

Free "Guide Dogs Welcome Here" information kits are available by clicking here or calling Guide Dogs NSW/ACT on 02 9412 9300.

The kit includes a window sticker and an information sheet about access rights and easy ways to assist a patron with vision impairment.

ENDS

Media: Contact Sally Edgar, 0413 753 241, media@guidedogs.com.au


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