LACK OF UN­DER­STAND­ING ON GUIDE DOGS IN PUBLIC PLACES

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

I am writ­ing re­gard­ing the con­cern­ing lack of un­der­stand­ing of Guide Dog leg­is­la­tion by busi­ness op­er­a­tors and their em­ploy­ees.

I am a Guide Dog user. My wife and I de­cided to take a short break in Port Dou­glas. On Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon we en­tered the Star of Siam restau­rant on Macrossan Street in or­der to re­serve a ta­ble for later in the evening.

I was in­formed that I would be re­quired to sit out­side with my Guide Dog. I at­tempted to ex­plain that the law pro­hibits re­fusal of ser­vice or im­pos­ing con­di­tions, such as re­fus­ing en­try to the main body of the premises.

The staff mem­ber tele­phoned the man­ager who also re­fused en­try then another staff mem­ber be­came in­volved.

I handed over an in­for­ma­tion card sum­maris­ing the law but to no avail, the staff were in­sis­tent that we could not sit at a ta­ble in the body of the restau­rant. We did not re­turn in the evening.

We chose another restau­rant in the evening but to my dis­may we were greeted with a sim­i­lar “no dogs in­side” even af­ter I ex­plained the law.

This is­sue was re­solved by another staff mem­ber who clearly knew the law and we ate in­side as we re­quested.

All busi­ness own­ers and staff need to be aware of their le­gal obli­ga­tions, par­tic­u­larly in a tourist des­ti­na­tion.

Guide Dog users rights are pro­tected un­der the Com­mon­wealth Dis­abil­ity Dis­crim­i­na­tion Act, the Qld Anti Dis­crim­i­na­tion Act and the Qld Guide Hear­ing and As­sis­tance Dogs Act. Un­der the lat­ter Act a busi­ness can be fined $55,000.

Geff Skin­ner, Ather­ton

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