Return to the Brisbane Access and Inclusion page.
Table of contents
- Lord Mayor's introduction
- Executive summary
- Our shared vision for Brisbane
- A profile of people who benefit from better access and inclusion in Brisbane
- Council's history of access and inclusion initiatives
- Reflection on Council's changing approach to access and inclusion
- How this plan was developed
- Implementation, monitoring and reporting
- An innovative local government role
In the Australian system of government, there are clear roles and responsibilities for each level of government in relation to access and inclusion. The Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan 2012-2017 articulates an innovative local government role for Council, in the context of Australian and Queensland government responsibilities.
Australian Government role and responsibilities
The Australian Government has primary responsibility for establishing a national policy framework for access and inclusion that includes:
- international relations, including obligations as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- administration of Commonwealth laws including the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
- Disability Standards that specify rights and responsibilities of service providers under DDA
- Australian Standards providing various design specifications
- Building Code of Australia
- Australian Human Rights Commission
- National Disability Strategy 2010-2020
The National Disability Strategy guides policy and program development by all levels of government and actions by the whole community. The goal is to enable people with a disability to realise their aspirations, maximise their independence and participate in their communities. 
Of the 25 national policy directions adopted by the Council of Australian Governments in the National Disability Strategy, there are seven in which local government has a significant role.
- increased participation of people with a disability, their families and carers in the social, cultural, religious, recreational and sporting life of the community
- improved accessibility of the built and natural environment through planning and regulatory systems, maximising the participation and inclusion of every member of the community
- improved provision of accessible and well designed housing with choice for people with a disability about where they live
- a public, private and community transport system that is accessible for the whole community
- communication and information systems that are accessible, reliable and responsive to the needs of people with disability, their families and carers
- remove societal barriers preventing people with disability from participating as equal citizens
- increase access to employment opportunities as a key to improving economic security and personal wellbeing for people with a disability, their families and carers
As well as its role in establishing a national policy framework, the Australian Government also has primary responsibility for funding or delivery of:
- income support through Centrelink
- university education
- health and aged care services
Queensland Government role and responsibilities
The Queensland Government has primary responsibility for provision of many public services including:
- hospitals and health services
- community services including the disability service system
- Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission
- school and TAFE education
- TransLink integrated public transport system for South East Queensland
- main roads
- setting parameters for planning, approving plans and reviewing development decisions
- major venues, festivals and facilities
In 2011, the Queensland Government released Absolutely everybody: enabling Queenslanders with a disability, a 10 year action plan identifying 10 priorities for improving quality of life and opportunities for Queenslanders with a disability. The plan identifies the need to work closely with local governments and other partners ‘to bring Absolutely everybody to life in ways that are real and relevant across Queensland's diverse communities' . In particular, it identifies an important role for local governments in achieving several strategies.
- maximise the participation of people with a disability in all aspects of community life
- develop approaches to increase the provision of universal design in public and private housing in both new builds and modifications to existing stock
- provide public information, including safely information during emergency situations, in a range of accessible formats, modes and technologies that are appropriate to the diverse communication needs of people with a disability
- increase the range and availability of accessible public transport
- increase the availability of accessible mainstream and assistive technologies in public places and services such as libraries and local government services and agencies
- increase recruitment, retention and career opportunities for people with a disability in the public sector
- facilitate social enterprises as a means of raising employment and enterprise opportunities in the private and community sectors for people with a disability 
Council's obligations to prevent discrimination
Council is legally bound to prevent disability discrimination in service provision and to ensure goods and services are delivered in an efficient and cost-effective manner that meets the needs of all customers. Council's obligations are enshrined in a number of legal instruments including:
- Disability Discrimination Act (1992) (Commonwealth)
- Anti-Discrimination Act (1991) (Queensland)
- Disability Services Act (2006) (Queensland)
- City of Brisbane Act (2010)
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) specifies obligations of public service providers including local government. DDA aims to promote the principle that people with a disability have the same fundamental rights as the rest of the community. It prohibits discrimination in many areas of public life including:
- service provision
- public access to premises
- employment policy and practice
- internal and external communication
- local laws 
DDA encourages public service providers to develop Disability Action Plans to enable an integrated and staged approach to DDA compliance. Disability Action Plans do not assume an immediate removal of all access barriers as this is generally not feasible nor practicable, but provide a blueprint for a coordinated process of improving access and inclusion over time. The Australian Human Rights Commission recommends that these plans be lodged publicly with the Commission to demonstrate an organisation's commitment to its DDA obligations.
Council will be following this advice and lodging this Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan 2012-2017 with the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Council's local government role and responsibilities
Council's primary responsibilities as a local authority are to:
- enhance the quality of life of the people of Brisbane
- build vibrant communities
- support the sustainable development of the regional economy
- improve the city's infrastructure
- manage critical services including roads and public transport
- protect and enhance the city's natural and built environments
- improve the quality and value of services
- ensure the financial success and viability of Council 
More specifically in terms of access and inclusion, this plan identifies clear responsibilities across five areas:
- Pedestrian mobility and transport.
- Planning, development and infrastructure.
- Public buildings, venues and outdoor spaces.
- Vibrant, informed and caring communities.
- Customer service and governance.
For each of these topics the plan documents Council's role and responsibilities, where we are in enabling access and inclusion, where we want to be, existing actions that will continue and new initiatives or extensions to which Council is committed.