The Federal Court today ruled on wheelchair user Julia Haraksin’s
three-year battle to have bus company Murrays Australia comply with national
Justice Nicholas found Murrays Australia had directly discriminated against Ms Haraksin (pictured) when the bus company refused to accept a booking from her because none of its
buses were wheelchair accessible.
Justice Nicholas also said Murrays Australia had breached the Disability Standards.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre
(PIAC) represented Ms Haraksin in her action against Murrays Australia.
puts all public transport operators in Australia on notice,’ said PIAC Principal Solicitor, Alexis Goodstone.
operators cannot afford to ignore the Disability Standards. They have a legal
obligation to comply, and people with disability who are sick of being treated
like second class citizens will hold them to account,’ Ms Goodstone said.
PIAC has been advocating for accessible
public transport for people with disability for several years, acting in cases
against Virgin Airlines, the NSW Department of Transport and two large taxi
companies, and most recently, RailCorp.
v Murrays Australia, PIAC claimed Murrays breached national Disability
Standards for Accessible Public Transport when it refused Ms Haraksin’s
booking in 2009.
The Disability Standards came into
effect in 2002. They require all new public transport vehicles to be wheelchair
accessible and required 25% of transport operator’s existing fleet to be
accessible by 2007.
‘This decision reinforces a very
basic principle: everyone has a right to equal access to public transport,’ Ms
Goodstone said. ‘People with disability should not have to go to
court in order to catch a bus.’
CONTACT: PIAC Senior
Media & Communications Adviser, Dominic O’Grady: 0478 739 280
For more information about PIAC, visit www.piac.asn.au