2020 Premises standards review: webinar

We held a webinar about the 2020 review of the Disability (Access to Premises – Building) Standards 2010. Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Ben Gauntlett, introduced the review.
Accessible waiting area in a public building.

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This video is a recording of a live stream on 30 March 2021. The recording is presented in full, and includes references to interactive components that are no longer available for participation.

Mel Butcher

Good afternoon and take you for taking the time to join us today for the webinar. These are known as the Premises Standards. To begin today's webinar, I'd like to extend my acknowledgement of country. Where I am, in Queensland, I acknowledge that this is the land of the Kabi Kabi people and I pay my respects to Elders past and present and also welcome and acknowledge first Nations and Torres Strait Islander people who are joining us for today's webinar. My name is Melanie Butcher. The social deck is supporting the Department of's, energy and resources in the consultation process for the Premises Standards. I'd also like to introduce our two Auslan interpreters were here today. Please also note that we do have live captioning. This should appear on your screen.

However, if you cannot see it, please go to the CC button on your screen. To start us off today, I will hand over to Julia Freeman who is the director of industry science energy and resources to provide an introduction to the review.

Julia Freeman

Thanks Mel and to everyone who was attending today. My name is Julia Freeman. My team is responsible for conducting a review of Premises Standards. Before introduced the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Ben Gauntlett to talk about the Premises Standards, first wanted to let you know about the department's role in the review of standards. The Premises Standards must be reviewed every five years to make sure that they are but for purpose and for achieving their objective. The review provides an opportunity to identify any changes to improve them and those things that just not -- that are just not working well.

Once the consultation process has been concluded, the Department will prepare (inaudible) for government by mid-2021 which will contain recommendations and findings from our consultations and the proposed work plan for implementing those recommendations. In terms of the premises review so far, the second review of the Premises Standards commenced in September 2020 and incorporated a two-stage consultation process to collect information from a broad range of stakeholders.

In terms of the first phase of consultation, this was held late last year and this phase was a discovery phase. It focused on understanding stakeholders experience with Premises Standards and it closed on 30 November.

During the discovery phase, 86% of the people who responded were people with disability or were an advocate for people with a disability. The key things that emerged were issues relating to compliance, consistency and clarity of requirements, building access and (inaudible). Changing provisions, communication and environmental sensitivities. Things from the discovery phase involved the terms of reference for the review, and the current consultation from the departments (inaudible) site.

The second phase of consultation commenced in mid February and will run for a period of eight weeks including -- concluding on 16 April. We are keen to hear from everyone. From those living with disability (inaudible).

Without further ado, I would like to introduce Dr Ben Gauntlett. I'm delighted to be able to have him leave the webinar. He commenced his role in May 2019. He has the experience of someone living with a disability and accessing care in Australia and overseas. The first -- before commencing as disability Commissioner, he worked in Western Australia and Victoria with broad ranging experience. Ben has also toured Australia and the United Kingdom. He holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Western Australia and was awarded the (unknown term) scholarship for Western Australia in 2003. He also has a doctor of philosophy from the University of Oxford where he studied (inaudible). Thank you and now over to you Ben.

Dr Ben Gauntlett

Thank you very much for that kind introduction. Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, good disability policy benefits all Australians now and in the future. And in the sense that when we discussed the bill to a predesigned environment, this is especially true.

I wish to acknowledge and pay my deep respect to the traditional owners of the land upon which I sit today, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and acknowledge their continuing connection to this country. I also acknowledge all other Aboriginal in Torres Strait Islander people and communities who are here tonight.

It is always nice to be asked to talk about disability policy and I would like to congratulate the Department of science, energy and resources on getting to the second stage of the review of the Premises Standards in what is a difficult policy environment. One of the best aspects of the disability it's combination Commissioner is the opportunity to meet people and to research and contribute to the development of disability rights and policy in Australia.

One of the more challenging aspects is trying to balance the need for constructive criticism with an effort to allow people time to learn the importance of certain issues. The disability Royal commission presents an issue to not only acknowledge past wrongdoing and eradicated but to articulate the clear benefits of policies combined with the convention of rights of Persons with disability. But while the role is ongoing and there are associated issues with the NASA -- National disability strategy, there are several important policy issues to consider that affect all Australians but in particular Australians with disability.

One critical issue is the advocacy of our legal system. Managing access ability of housing is a critical human rights issue. But so too is broader accessibility in the community and access to premises. 4.4 million Australians live with a disability and 2.65 million Australians are carers. Disability is often unseen and can occur unexpectedly. It is deeply personal.

The disability standards are a legislative instrument (inaudible). The other standard transport standards. (Inaudible) Premises Standards apply to new buildings, certain types of renovations on existing public buildings, common areas of public buildings and importantly, not people's houses. The national construction code facilitates the operation to Premises Standards by explaining how new buildings may be or should be constructed.

As was previously articulated, the premises standards came into effect in 2011. They have previously been in review in 2016. The key thing to arise from that review focused upon improving connections between the Premises Standards, the national construction code and the transport standards, and inadequate understanding of another black standard. Lack of coordinated approach in improving -- and improving audit -- governance.

In 2021, following the discovery process, there are several things in the new consultation. Six in fact. The reviewer also considered other issues like the disability Royal commission, the aged care Royal commission findings. As with most reviews, there is an effort to give people examples of issues raised.

In terms of the themes that have been raised for the present review, in the nature of what is being asked, one is how do we make the standards clearer and more consistent?

In respect to this, you might consider, when dealing with the national construction code and the other disability standards, there is a similarity and approaches in terms of tech, terminology or procedural issues and relevant defences. In terms of the second thing that has been raised, it is access and moving around buildings.

Issues relating to that could involve the effectiveness of access within buildings, including accessibility of parting. We used best practice approaches rather than deeming to satisfy provisions.

Communication and (inaudible) is another thing that is being raised for the purposes of this review. And in that, the issue of luminescence, wayfinding in Braille is very important. As we know, in Australia, not every disability is a visibile disability and many people have sensory disabilities which should be taken into consideration.

The fourth team that has been raised is the change in bathroom facilities in the building. Design, suitability of sanitary facilities and also the relevance and use of (inaudible) facilities is something that is relevant to all Australians and we will hear from changing places later because this is a very important human rights issue.

The fifth issue is compliance and complaints. That is, to what extent (inaudible) in terms of being easy to understand but also to complaints in relation to those standards.

(Inaudible) and how was it that disability Premises Standards can be used to deal with some of those issues or is there another and better way? Ladies and gentlemen, there are a lot of issues to get through today. Thank you very much for joining us. In particular, I would like to thank the social deck for hosting today's programme. What we're hoping to do is keep it as interactive as possible and to answer the questions and also to then start of a broader debate about how the premises standards can be made good for Australians now and in the future. I will handover to Mel now. Thank you very much.

Mel Butcher

Thank you so much. We are also going to be joined by some other panellists through the webinar. They are Amanda Lawrie-Jones from Accessible Action. Michael Simpson, president of Blind Citizens Australia and Vision Australia. Geoff Trappett. In Rhenish Ellery -- Rena Cherie.

What is different in this webinar to some others that you might have attended is that it isn't just a one- way webinar but a consultation event where you will be able to give your input as we go through the session. This means we are here to provide you with the context about the review and the standards but we also want to hear from you as part of today's session.

Your contributions today will be directly included in the analysis and reporting as part of the review process. The way we will capture your views is using an online engagement tool. This tool has been mentioned and it is called Mentimeter. You should have links to this in your reminder email. To contribute to today's session, there are some instant -- instructions to give you about Mentimeter. You need to open a browser on any device and go to Menti.com.

We do recommend that you use a separate device or a new tab on your browser if your accessing through your browser. The need to put in the following code. 14010929. I'll repeat that code.


You can follow along as we go and press Next to move to the next question. If you want to go back to the previous question, you can use the back button on your browser to do that. The first two questions to ask you to put in your state or territory and your interest in the Premises Standards. And then we will get into asking you the interactive questions that I'm going to go through.

Menti is an interactive tool to see what other people are thinking about with response to the questions which makes it more like a workshop. At times, responses to the questions we are asking will display on the presentation screen.

If you're not able to see or read the screen and therefore the responses in the presentation, please do note that speakers during the webinar will also be summarising and reflecting the feedback that is coming through. Through Mentimeter afterwards. Because this tool is designed for interactive workshops, there is a limit to how many words are characters you can provide in your response.

If you need to say more than the space provided, you can press submit and then continue to answer the same question and you can submit as many times as you like. We do want to note that online surveys that are available on the premises standards website have similar questions to the ones today and will also allow you to show more specific detail.

If at any stage, we experience any technical difficulties that require us to pause between speakers, please be patient as we move between screens. If your feed is disrupted, you might want to close the link and reopen it. If you are experiencing any of your own technical difficulties today, you can text the following number. It is 0491617118. And we will try to help. Please keep in mind that technical difficulties can be (inaudible) so we will only be able to offer troubleshooting support.

It's also very important that you are mindful to care for yourself and others. Please don't share any individual names or names of organisations or entities as part of your responses. You can also leave or take a break at any time, of course. The Menti.com questions will remain open until 12 PM tomorrow. She can come back and enter them later.

The webinar will run in six main sessions which cover themes in the consultation paper and which Dr Ben Gauntlett talked about before. Those themes are making the standards clearer and more consistent. Communication when finding. Bathroom facilities. Compliance and complaints and environmental sensitivities.

There will be one or two questions for you to think about under each of the topics. During the session, you might like to refer to the consultation paper or to the summary consultation paper. These have been sent to you with your reminder emails and links to today's webinar.

Now, as outlined in the consultation paper, the Premises Standards make sure that people with disability can access buildings as well as facilities and services within and around buildings in a dignified and equitable way.

They help builders, building managers to meet these standards and follow the law. To start off, we would like to ask you to 1st tell us what you think are the important issues that the Premises Standards need to make sure that there are dressing in regards to access to buildings for people with disability? After you answer these questions, Ben will reflect on some of the issues that you have mentioned. Our first question for you, which you will find in Menti.com, is; from your point of view, what are three important issues that people with disability face in accessing public buildings? I will repeat that. What are three important issues people with disability face in accessing public buildings? Remember the pass code is 14010929.

You will have a couple of minutes to provide the centre then we will come back to Dr Ben Gauntlett.

Thank you very much for your responses to that question. I'd like to hand over to Dr Ben Gauntlett to reflect on some of those responses coming through.

Dr Ben Gauntlett

Thank you very much, Mel. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the responses were quite diverse. The critical issues that were spoken about, the first one I think was legacy or historical buildings and how they are dealt with by the Premises Standards. In particular, how those legacy particular items can be dealt with in the context of small businesses or small to medium enterprises and how they should be able to make the relevant questions.

Information can open the availability of information to individuals with disability. There was a broad theme running about the practicality of the standards in the present world in which we live. And I think one of the most important aspects of the role going to have to deal with in terms of a good disability policy is interactions between laws and technology and the use of technology for sick -- things such as wayfinding. Another thing important to pick up is that disability is not just about mobility. It is about lighting, it is about access to bathroom facilities, it is about wayfinding et cetera and understanding that when we build premises or renovate premises, we have to take into account the understanding that disability is broader than just people in wheelchairs. It has a far greater reach than that that we need to understand. I will hand that you.

Mel Butcher

Thank you very much, Ben. Our first theme for today is about consistency and clarity of the standards, as we mentioned before. As I outlined in the consultation paper, the discovery stage of this review highlighted the importance of consistency across all disability standards and the other regulatory (inaudible) that the standards interact with. For example, under the discrimination act, there are disability standards of education 2005, and the disability standards for accessible public transport 2002, the transport standards.

Many responses emphasise the importance of complete alignment between the Premises Standards and the national construction code. Some say that there can be conclusion -- confusion and misalignment between the present standards and the (inaudible) construction code.

Others also said that there was a more holistic approach to disability design across different types of barriers. One comment suggested having all requirements in one place, using the same terminology and consistently addressing issues with other areas as a necessary improvement for the standards that would benefit all stakeholders.

With this in mind, we have the following questions for you about improving consistency and clarity in the Premises Standards. These questions are:

Question two – how would you rate your understanding of the laws or requirements for ensuring that people with disability can access public buildings?

Just note that this question is a rating of how well you think your understanding is. If you have any trouble using the rating scale, you can skip this question. Question three is how can we make the Premises Standards easier to understand and can you provide some examples? Question four is you have ideas for how the Premises Standards could work better with other laws and be applied more consistently across Australia. This might include how they can be more consistent with laws under the disability nation act, the disability standards, or building laws such as the National construction code. You have about five minutes to answer these questions before we come back to hear again from Dr Ben Gauntlett. Thank you.

Thank you very much for your responses to that question – to those questions. Before handover to Dr Ben Gauntlett to reflect on some of the responses that came through, just want to explain, and the rating question, for anyone who might not be able to see the result of that one, so question two was how well do you understand the laws and requirements for ensuring that people with disability can access public buildings?

So the majority of people said somewhere between well and very well. But I'm going to read out the numbers. So, three people said that they were unsure, three people said that not at all well, 11 people said slightly well, 16 respondents said somewhat well and 19 respondents said fairly well in 17 said very well.

Now I will hand over to and God led to speak about some of those responses.

Dr Ben Gauntlett

Given the earlier (inaudible), that doesn't apply to everyone but there are certainly some areas where

there could be improvement. I think technical drawings were deemed to be appropriate explanations. I thought and interesting suggestion was to include bad examples as to what not to do. Maybe not so much bad examples but comparing good and bad in some of the materials that are provided and guidelines. In terms of question four, that was given the ideas about how the premises standards could work better and be applied more consistently across Australia, there are some comments with relation to the Australia standards which are obviously very pertinent. To remove it from a complaint process was raised and the public goes to a wider issue. But I think an important issue is how the Premises Standards ultimately (inaudible) legislation but state legislation and I thought it very pertinent that a national approach is required. I will hand you back to Mel and you can keep going with the rest of the questions.

Mel Butcher

Thanks very much, but for those reflections. Now, we're going to move to session 2. This is around accessing and moving around buildings. This covers issues about the entries, exits and movements within a building. The premises standards prescribed several provisions related to entries, exits and movements within public buildings and spaces. Responses from the discovery stage suggest that access and egress provisions could be improved. For example, building entrances was cited as one of the main barriers in terms of access. Some responses called for review on the current requirements for accessible car parking provisions and public buildings.

When considering accessible parking provisions, some suggested that building owners and management could look at permit holders rather than set ratios within their local areas. Some of the issues about accessing and moving around the building were particularly important for bigger buildings. Before we ask you some questions about this area, I'd like to introduce you to Amanda Lawrie-Jones. And as an access and inclusion consultant operating her own business. Amanda develops and implements disability action plans and disability employment action plans. She is also the president of (unknown term) and is a member of the Victorian disability adviser Council. Amanda will reflect on some of her own experiences and things that could be considered about accessing and moving on buildings for people with disability.

And now, over to you Amanda.

Amanda Lawrie-Jones

Thanks, I appreciate the intro over there. My name is Amanda and my disability is interchangeable, which is kind of an interesting concept so I double amputee so I do have prosthesis and over them often. I'm sometimes a wheelchair user and I'm also sometimes using a walker, so a walking frame.

How I manoeuvre around the building is quite different on different occasions. So I have some different examples are the number one thing that builders mentioned before around accessing entrances to buildings.

I thought around this is separate is not equal. People with disability always have separate entrance, a separate process, and a separate policy. There's been a few occasions where I've gone into a building and the access has been via through the kitchen or a door through the side or having a different way to get into the building than other people. I don't feel that is good enough. Inclusion starts with how you get through that front door.

The other point is in the collaboration spaces and sort of things that are sort of built inside a building and making sure that they are inclusive and welcoming for everybody. People with disability, we love to plan ahead, we like to know where we are going and what were doing. So, I thought around this potentially something like an access rating. We've got energy ratings for buildings in regards to environmental issues.

Thinking about something like that might be an idea or concept. The other point is inside the buildings where we are thinking about not just around the physical aspect but thinking around lighting, and for me it is the heating. I overheat quite quickly and I can have an impact on whether I use my prosthesis, my wheelchair, walker. That is something internally as well. I think that is about it from me, Mel.

Mel Butcher

Thank you so much, Amanda. That was a fantastic entry into those questions and we will come back to you a little bit later as well. Now, we will go to these questions about accessing and moving around buildings. You will have about five minutes to answer these questions again, before we come back.

Question five is what are the barriers to improving accessibility to premises?

Question six is what could be improved in the Premises Standards to make accessing and moving around buildings easier for people with disability. Please include any specific ideas that you might have to overcome barriers to making improvements. Remember pass code for Menti.com is 14010929. Thank you. Thanks again for your responses to those questions. I am going to hand over to Dr Gauntlett again and then to a mentor to make some comments on the responses coming through. Dr Gauntlett?

Dr Ben Gauntlett

I committed the proverbial sin of 2021 and 2020, not having my microphone on. Question five, what are the barriers to improving excess ability to premises? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the issue of cost and age of the building has been raised. Also there is an issue in lack of understanding the importance of appropriate access and the benefits of appropriate access. There has also been some comments about the interaction between state and federal law. In terms of the improvements to the premises standards, there has been some comments in relation to acknowledging, collectivity, in relation to signage and law reform, to make that law reform better.

But I think one of the key aspects is reporting. So reporting went we do and don't have complaint is another critical issue. I will have back to you now, Mel.

Mel Butcher

Thanks, Ben. I am going to hand over to Amanda see if she has some comments on those advances?

Amanda Lawrie-Jones

I agree with most of those and not surprisingly, in regards to cost. The other comment I saw pop-up was in regards to further Coke design and that is something that is highly important. Getting people with disability involved in the process and having some knowledgeable groups and connecting to some of the disability organisations and reaching out in regards to feedback, might be a good idea in the future.

Mel Butcher

Thank you very much, Amanda and to Dr Gauntlett as well for those comments on the responses coming through. We are going to move on to the next section now and this is about communication and wayfinding. This covers things such as signage and the way people know how to access or move around a building to get what they need to go. A consistent point raised in the discovery stage with the lack of consistency and compliance with signage and the lack of braille in appropriate locations.

Luminance, contrast between building elements is the difference between the amount of light reflected or the is reflected from a darker building element compared to the light reflected from a second, lighter building element. Examples include building finishes that lead to glare and lack of features to help people navigate in and around buildings.

Another area of focus was accessibility of technology. This was raised as both an opportunity and also a barrier for people living with disability. For example, the increasing use of touch screens can help or prevent accessibility, depend on how they are used. Before we ask you some questions about this area, I would like to introduce you to Michael Simpson. Michael is blind and was previously the president of Blind citizens Australia MAC and previous general manager of Vision Australia. He spent many years hearing from people about many of the issues raised in accessing public building since basis. Open to you, Michael, for some comments.

Michael Simpson

Good afternoon everyone. As mentioned, I am blind and I am totally blind and have been for 47 years, so I have had some practice finding my way in and around a range of buildings. I wanted to start by talking about blindness in itself, because often, like other disabilities, people have preconceptions about what blindness might actually be.

I mentioned I am totally blind, so I don't even have any light perception. For people who are often referred to as blind, and sometimes the term legal lightness or legally blind is used, often those people can have light perception through to total blindness, like myself.

There are also people refer to as having low vision. And generally, this doesn't refer to people whose vision can be corrected by the use of glasses, but where the impact of low vision can affect their daily life. That can include access to premises.

Amanda mentioned that for her and other people with disability, access can... Access issues can start at the front door. That is also true for people who are blind and have low vision. And finding your way to the front door, and getting in the front door, can often be quite difficult. Depending on whether the door is manually operated, automatically operated, or whether it is a revolving door. They can be very tricky when you are trying to use a long cane or even a dog guide.

Sometimes, even finding the front door can be very difficult for people who are blind or have significant vision impairment. Let me use three airports as examples. Sydney airport, the same as Melbourne airport, is quite good because you can in fact get dropped by vehicle almost at the entrance, at the doorway.

Adelaide airport, you can't get anywhere near the main doors in a vehicle. You have to be dropped off elsewhere and actually get somebody to come from the terminal to get you and take you to the terminal. Brisbane airport has multiple lanes, depending on whether you are in a private vehicle, a bus, a taxi, and that depicts which lane you have to go through, and therefore, how many other lanes you might physically have to cross once you are out of the vehicle, before you find the front door. Those sorts of things can be real issues for people who are blind and have low vision.

Once you are inside the building, aspects of lighting, colour contrast and even glare can be of real concern to people with low vision. With the use of glass and lighting, glare can be a real problem for some particular eye conditions, and others where glare can be of concern.

Colour contrast, it needs to be a significant contrast, so that the person with low vision can actually out what they need to, whether it is on signage or directions, because of the colour contrast.

Lighting is another aspect, and it can impact on signage as well. Signage is of real concern, because this picks up braille for totally blind people as well. My wife was telling me recently, of a sign she saw that was a no smoking sign, and it was high up on the wall and sometimes that is where you find those sorts of signs, but interestingly, it has braille on it as well. So even if you are at the wall and reaching up, you wouldn't have been able to feel the no smoking in braille.

This is where the intersection between the national construction code, building standards, access to premises standards, and other Australian standards, the intersection between them can be really important. There are standards around signage. The lift standard, for example, tactile ground surface indicators, and all of these need to be in concert, so people who are blind or have low vision, can find their way into and around buildings successfully.

It can be something as simple as finding your way, even to a reception or check in at an airport. Often when you go into a building, the floorcovering is consistent right through. In large, open areas, having consistent floorcovering might make it easier for cleaning and fitting out, but for people who are blind, finding your way from the front door to a check in or a reception desk, can be extremely difficult.

Sometimes a simple solution, such as having carpet in the main area and a vinyl strip or tiled strip from the door to the reception, or vice versa, tiles everywhere else in a cupboard strip, can be an effective way of finding your way. All of these things can impact on people who are blind or have low vision. Back to you, Mel.

Mel Butcher

Thanks so much, Michael. A fantastic introduction to these questions. These questions, you have a few minutes to answer before we come back to Dr Gauntlett and Michael to reflect, as we have done previously. The questions are, question seven, how could the premises standards help to improve communication, navigation around buildings? For example, what could be done in terms of how science and better lighting and colour contrast to people to navigate buildings? And question eight is, what ideas do you have two communication and wayfinding better in buildings? For example, are there more technologies that should be incorporated? Remember that the questions can be answered in Menti.com using the code 1401 0929. You have a few minutes to answer these questions. Thank you.

(Break while answering questions)

Mel Butcher

Thank you very much for your responses to those questions. I am going to hand over to Dr Gauntlett

to reflect first on some of the responses coming through.

Dr Ben Gauntlett

Thanks very much, Mel. In terms of how good the premises standards help to improve communication navigation around buildings, technology was an important issue. Going above and beyond what was in the standard and understanding that design was more important than that. Guidance as to how to achieve that design that is better, was also mentioned. And the need for some consistency in certain areas of buildings was also raised. In terms of question eight, what ideas do you have to make communications and wayfinding better in buildings? Awareness campaigns, technology, understandability of information were all raised. Some comments were unsure, not sure if that will create much traction going forward, but one of the critical issues is the combination of technology, education and hopefully an understanding of information upfront about why you would use certain options or why they are important.

I should just say I learned a lot from what Michael said before and what Amanda said about consulting with people with lived experience and trying to co-design solutions. I will hand back to you now.

Mel Butcher

I very strongly agree. I would like to hand over to Michael and see if you had any reflections on those responses coming through?

Michael Simpson

Thank you both for your comments as well. I certainly reiterate. There were a lot of common themes coming through the responses from both questions seven and eight. They included better education and awareness of the kinds of things that do improve communications and wayfinding for people with disability and in particular, blindness and low vision. Comments around consistency of standards and the intersection between standards. And quite a strong theme seems to be around the use of technologies. There are a number of technologies, including there were comments around new apps for devices that can assist people to move in and around buildings. Technology seems to be quite an important one.

As long as things are built in an accessible way from the ground up, rather than having to be retrofitted, it certainly improves access outcomes, not only for people who are blind and have low vision, but for all people with disability. Thank you.

Mel Butcher

Thank you, Michael and to Dr Gauntlett. I am going to be wanted session 4. This is about facilities in buildings. These cover things like adult changing facilities, accessible bathrooms, and other things that make sure people that disability can use public buildings and premises. A key theme that emerged from the discovery phase, was sedentary provisions, such as adult accessible change facilities and public toilets. Accessible adult change facilities,AACF sanitary facilities with additional facilities with those with greater needs. This was a significant outcome of the first standard review. Apparently the code mandates adult change facilities in certain classes of public buildings, including major shopping centres, sports venues, pull, museums, theatres, and airport terminals. A consistent point raised in feedback so far has been the lack of coverage for these facilities in buildings generally. And especially at transport hubs, shopping malls and other public buildings. There were also issues raised about the locations of ambulance and disabled toilets. We are excited today to be able to share a video and brief reflection about a program making a real difference in this area called Changing Places I will introduce Rina Sherry a little later, after the video. Rina is part of the Changing Places project team to tell you more about this. We will go to the video now.

(Video plays)


Rachel is our daughter. She is 16 years old and has cerebral palsy and needs to use a wheelchair.

She goes to school in the Waverley and loves going to school. She has got two very good best friends and we have just had, club and Chelsea, and we have just had school holidays and spent time with Chloe and Chelsea. We have been to the movies and did a cooking day.


One of the challenges of Rachel being a bit older is actually going to the toilet. Prior, when she was younger, we could lift her to the toilet.


I have noticed how difficult and challenging it is for mum and dad. That is really affected us, because we can't do certain things anymore.


Lifting her is hard for Rachel and quite hard for us. We have always got the constant threat of hurting ourselves. So one of the things is always, am I going to hurt my back?


Because we can't access a toilet easily, we have to time it, not give her too much to drink before we go, and then wait till we get home before she can go to the toilet again. The alternative might be, putting an incontinence pad on.


Having changes places mac has really opened up our options. It means we can be a normal family, go to the zoo, for example, where we are today, and know that if there is a need we need to go to the toilet, we can in a dignified and safe manner.


A Changing Places facility is different to wheelchair accessible, because it has a ceiling voice, which means we can get Rachel into his sling and if we need, there is a changing table that which goes up and down. If we need to change in some way. Or we could lower her straight onto the toilet using the hoist. It is a bigger space, so you can have more than one carer in there, which we need with carer MAC Rachel. You can have the carer stand on both sides of the toilet to hold the person stopped


The advantages and feature of the toilet allows carers to go either side of the toilet and it works perfectly with the hoist and the mechanism of the hoist coming from the ceiling straight onto the toilet. It just makes that whole process very clean and safe for the person using it.


A lot of the people who would use the toilet wouldn't have much upperbody strength, so you are able to stand there with her easily, rather than leaning over her from the front which is what accessible tolerance alike.


The disabled toilet at the moment isn't really fully catering to the needs, and by simply having a hoist, in those areas, it makes a world of difference.


It was such a relief that we could come, and didn't matter how long we were here. We could take her to the toilet whenever we needed, as long as we bring our own sling. We can come back anytime knowing we can easily go to the toilet.


It would make her quality of life even better and ours even better, because we get to see the enjoyment through her eyes.

Mel Butcher

Now I would like to introduce Rina Sherry who is from Changing Places, to tell you a little more about Changing Places.

Rina Sherry

thank you so much, Mel. Fantastic for so far, I am learning a lot. As you can see, that was a great video with Rachel and her family that really explains, for those of you not familiar with changes places mac toilets. Before I start talking, I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to Elders past, and present today. I will give a quick overview of the changing places, -- Changing Places and some feedback on our research findings. I would also like to start or preface my comments I saying that really it is a basic human right to be able to access a clean, safe and private place to go to the toilet. Changing Places started in the UK in 2006. It was introduced in Australia in 2011 by Marinda Council in Victoria. They contacted the UK Consortium to seek permission to use the Changing Places name and logo. The name is an international brand.

With that, the council led to the introduction of Changing Places in Australia and they produce the first information kit with Changing Places designs in 2013. That was a really important moment, because it was a design showing people what you needed to build two build Changing Places which is why standards are so critical.

The first toilet built to the standards was in 2014 at Ringwood Lake in Victoria. Since then, it is still early days, but we have made good progress. There are now 169 Changing Places facilities across Australia. The majority are in Victoria, with 83. Western Australia, 34. New South Wales 24, Queensland, 15. South Australia and Tasmania, each have 10. ACT has one but there are none as yet in the Northern Territory.

In 2020, the updated Changing Places design specifications were released. This document contains four design layouts to assist building owners to build to the Changing Places standard, and includes a number of case studies with Changing Places users and families explain what a difference it has made to their lives. It includes importantly, costings, how much does it cost to build? Looking up at the comments earlier about the cost. Changing Places, the major cost is equipment and it comes in at under $25,000. We're not talking significant cost, if you are building a brand-new building.

In terms of information, the locations are listed on the Changing Places website and also on the national public toilet map which is a website and an app, so people can look to see whether toilets are where they are going. As mentioned, in 2019, Australia became the first country in the world to include Changing Places in its national construction code. This is a really big move and as mentioned by Mel, not accessible change facilities, as they are called, they are based on the Changing Places design, a mandated-stadiums, public pools, art galleries, museums, airports and shopping centres. Notably the NCC does not mandate other locations. Such as public transport, schools, university, tourist destinations, or hospital. I make the observation, I was speaking to Libby's place at variety Australia a couple of weeks ago. They encourage accessible playgrounds and there is no standard to mandate that Changing Places toilets are built.

A quick overview of our research before we go into the poll. We did some internal research in 2019 and surveyed users and key stakeholders and the overall finding was that Changing Places make a real difference. People reported more freedom and dignity. More choice about where they could go out to in the community. And importantly, enable people to stay out for longer. They didn't have to return home to go to the toilet. Changing Places was safer and reduced lifting injuries and respondents wanted to see more Changing Places in more locations, particularly shopping centres, city centres, visitor and tourist attractions, hospitals, leisure centres, bulls, parks and gardens, translations, pools and playgrounds. That is a quick overview. There is a lot to tell in the story of Changing Places and many of you have been involved in the journey. I will hand back to Mel for the poll.

Mel Butcher

Thank you so much for that background and that was really useful. We are going to go to our questions now. Question nine in question 10, we will have a short time to answer these, as many people have skipped ahead and are answering them already. Rina has already talked about quite a lot of the responses that are coming through. Reflecting similar themes. The questions are, question nine, should there be more adult accessible change facilities and public buildings? And if so, which types of buildings, so schools, universities, hospitals, major tourist attractions? In question 10, do you have ideas for how the premises standards could better ensure people can access dignified toilets and change his lilies in buildings? We will go to those questions now for just a short time before we come back to Dr Gauntlett.

(Break to answer questions)

Mel Butcher

Thank you very much for your responses to those questions. I'll hand back over to Dr Gauntlett for a quick summary on some of the things coming through.

Dr Ben Gauntlett

Thanks very much, I think the short answer is, should there be more adult accessible Allah changed facilities, the answer is yes. But what types of buildings, there has been some feedback which says whether the building is multigenerational or the people who use the building will be a critical issue. And also new buildings, and Ephesus on that. In terms of how to change the premises standards in terms of making people identified in toilets, there is the access to things like that are accessible at I changed facilities, but also the need to co-design solutions. I might hand back to you, Mel.

Mel Butcher

Thanks, Ben. We will shortly be speaking a little more about compliance with the premises standards, and this was raised as another key theme an issue about how the premises standards work. First I would like to introduce Geoff Trappett. He is the founder and principal consultant at Inclusion Moves. His work focuses on inclusion and adversity management consulting with a particular focus on transport and the built environment. Geoff is also currently chairperson of national inclusive transport advocacy network a member of the transport modernisation task force, set up by the Department of infrastructure, transport, regional development and communication.

Geoff Trappett

I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which I sit on today. Legislative instruments like access to premises is crucial in enacting the rights of people with disability to an inclusive environment. We must ensure that we get those technical specifications right. However we must also ensure that we build legislation in a way that that complaints can be monitored effectively. The complaints and complaint mechanism is how we ensure legislation has teeth. It is how we make it more than motherhood statements to sit on a designed bookshelf. We need to ensure the legislation is written type enough to ensure we both in the disabled community and the building industry, are clear on its expectations, but also freely enough to not stifle innovation.

Crucially, without clear, consistent community accepted co-design and measurable compliance criteria, an effective and efficient ways the disabled community to provide feedback and question through a strong complaints process, we won't know whether we have achieved our goal of a more inclusive and accessible community. After all, you only measure what you care about and ultimately achieve what you measure.

Mel Butcher

Thanks so much, Geoff. Early great comments there and a great lead into the section on compliance. Responses from the discovery stage raised compliance issues related to the premises standards, for example, several responses hollow differences between the national construction code in the premises standards in particular. They suggested this has caused a lot of confusion among people with disability and building professionals, I like.

Our questions to you are about complaint, about the complaint system and compliance are, question 11. If you have ever made or received a complaint relating to access to a building, what happened? Please tell us about the response and wasn't adequate? Question 12 is, what might prevent you from making a complaint or being able to address a complaint? For example, is it difficult to find information about how to make a complaint? And question 13 is, what factors do you think affect builders compliance with the standards? For example, are the law is unclear or would making changes to a building caused unjustifiable hardship? You will have a couple of minutes to answer these questions, as I have said, many people have already answered them. We will go to those now.

(Break to answer questions)

Mel Butcher

Thank you very much for your responses to those questions. I will hand back to Geoff Trappett to make some reflections on the comments coming through.

Geoff Trappett

Probably the biggest trend I saw coming through on compliance but defining complaints and what makes up compliance or satisfies a provision is something a lot of people are finding troubling. For me that probably will come back to was the solution codesigned with the disabled community in the first place? If it is codesigned, then whether it is compliant or not, should be a lot simpler question to answer. On the issue of complaints, the main trend I saw coming through was the sheer number of players and jurisdictional elements that are at play in this space causes confusion and added tanks for disabled people when it comes to making and resolving a complaint. An education piece on who has a part to play and where would be crucial moving forward.

Mel Butcher

Thanks so much for your comments, Geoff. Really valuable. We are going to move to the next session now, which is around environmental sensitivities. Several responses in the discovery stage talked about the health impacts of exposure to chemical, biological or physical agents in public buildings. It is possible the building design cannot address the issues raised under the environmental sensitivities themes, but it is important to consider the views if there are issues the standards could help to address. Our final question is around the environmental sensitivities. And that question is, how could the premises standards address environmental sensitivities? Again, we're just going to show some of the responses for quite a short time and you will be able to answer these as we have mentioned before, afterwards as well. We will be coming back to summarise. Thank you.

(Break to answer questions)

Mel Butcher

Thanks again for your responses to that final formal question. Around environmental sensitivities. I'm going to hand over to Dr Gauntlett to summarise briefly those comments that were coming through.

Dr Ben Gauntlett

Thank you, Mel. In terms of the comments, to have separate compliance is one issue and another is to understand the role with people with disabilities plate. Insulation and also maybe behavioural adaptations. I think on this point it is dependent on, some changes will have to be made outside of the standard and some will have to be made in relation to the issues pertaining to the built environment.

Mel Butcher

Thank you. I wanted to hand over to say thank you to you, but also if you had any final comments on the webinar today, as we are just about to wrap up.

Dr Ben Gauntlett

Thank you to the team and all our speakers, Michael Simpson, Amanda Lawrie-Jones, Geoff Trappett, good disability policy benefits all Australians in relation to the premises standards, it leaves a lasting legacy for generations. Some of the important things we heard today was it is the practical operation of law is that matter. Another important thing is the importance of co-design and disability is diverse and we need a policy is that benefit all Australians from the legislative instruments that are created. They need to be simple to understand unable to be applied easily to the benefit for the entire community. I will have back to you now, Mel.

Mel Butcher

Thank you so much Dr Gauntlett. From us, thank you again for attending today's webinar. We will make the webinar video and transcript available on the Department's website consultation hub. There is one final question you will note in Menti which provides you with an opportunity to share anything else you would like to about the heavy premises standards work or what needs to be improved. As a reminder, if you have joined the webinar part way through it will have and use the Mentimeter tool today, this will stay open until midday tomorrow, so you can answer these questions @menti.com in the pass code is 1401 0929. A reminder that all of this other information is also on the consultation hub which can be accessed from the Department website, which is industry.gov.au. I want to thank all of you for your participation and taking the time today and to our speakers. It has been a wonderful event and have a lovely afternoon. Thank you.

Have your say

To have your say in the review of the Premises Standards, visit our Consultation hub 

You can access the Consultation paper, take the online survey, upload a submission, or send your feedback.

Contact us

  • Email PremisesStandards@industry.gov.au
  • Phone 02 6213 7674
  • Write to us at Premises Standards Review Team, Industry Growth Division, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, GPO Box 2013, CANBERRA ACT 2601