LACK OF UNDERSTANDING ON GUIDE DOGS IN PUBLIC PLACES
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