Event accessibility guidelines
Brisbane City Council is implementing its Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan to ensure Brisbane is accessible for people of all abilities.
Under Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against people with a disability. If your event, venue or service is not as accessible as possible, patrons may lodge complaints with the Anti-Discrimination Commission, which could lead to legal action if their concerns are not addressed.
The fundamental requirement for an inclusive festival is a willingness to provide equal or alternative access for all patrons. These guidelines outline the kinds of accessibility measures that you could consider in your planning. If a measure seems likely to be important, but your resources do not allow for it, workable alternative solutions should be sought.
The recommendations below can be used as a checklist for providing accessible services to patrons of all abilities; however, this list is not exhaustive.
If you are planning an event and need more help or advice, you can:
- google ‘accessible events’ for examples from other guidelines
- contact Council’s Access and Inclusion team on 07 3403 8888, or
- email us
- organise an onsite meeting with Council’s Event Management team.
Recommendations for accessible events
Promoting your event
- Registration processes allow people to request features such as sign language interpretation, a hearing loop, wheelchair-accessible seating, etc.
- Printed promotional material is available in large font.
- Downloadable online material in PDF format must also be made available in Word format.
- Venue-access information includes a site or venue-access map, specifies whether a hearing loop and/or sign language interpreters will be available, and whether approved companions or carers are provided with free entry.
- Your website is accessible, for example, it meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.
- Promotional material lists aids to contacting you, including the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS), the National Relay Service (NRS), email, phone and an SMS number.
- Online video or audio material includes a written transcript.
- Approach disability advocacy organisations to promote your event to their members.
- Promotional material uses appropriate language to describe accessible features (e.g. ‘accessible parking’ rather than ‘disabled parking’).
Getting to the event
- Accessible parking locations, taxi drop-off zones and public transport are signed and promoted.
- Adjacent kerb ramps are kept clear for wheelchairs, prams etc.
- Pathways from transport and parking, and those inside the venue, are of gentle slope, at least one metre wide, made of sturdy material and not obstructed. Where paths are not accessible, signage directs patrons to an accessible route.
- If you are running an outdoor event on grass, sand or other surfaces, temporary pathways (e.g. metal or rubber mats) are provided to stage areas, toilets, food vendors and transport.
- Signs have large font and good colour contrast (e.g. black text on white background) with appropriate symbols (e.g. ‘running man’ to indicate an exit).
- Large-font maps and programs are available in print, and downloadable.
- A unisex accessible toilet is available and clearly signed for use by parents or carers with differently gendered children or clients.
- Other accessible toilets (e.g. PWD toilets, ambulant toilets and/or Changing Places facilities with ceiling hoist) are provided and their location clearly signposted.
- Accessible pathways run to the toilets from the main site (i.e. at least one metre wide concrete or firm gravel on a gentle slope).
- A dog toileting area for guide dogs is provided and signed.
- There is level access to, and within, the site, with no steps or other barriers.
- The event location is accessible by public transport.
- Reception desks are of a height accessible by wheelchair users.
- Stages are accessible by ramp or lift in addition to, or instead of, stairs.
- Some seating has arm supports to help people enter and leave their seats.
- Fixed seating and tables provide space for wheelchair and pram access.
- Lighting is strong enough for people who lip read.
- Warnings are provided if strobe lighting is to be used.
- Lift entrances are at least 1400 mm wide, with Braille signage and raised tactile numbers.
- Doors are at least 850 mm wide, or a clearly signposted alternative door is provided.
- Food vans, stands and drinking fountains are accessible to wheelchair users.
- Hearing loops are provided where public address systems are used.
- Auslan (sign language) interpreters are used for major addresses and presentations.
- A screen is provided that transcribes audio into text for people with low hearing.
- PowerPoint presentations are available in hard copy, in Word online, and as an audio description for vision-impaired patrons.
- Event timetabling takes into account the time that people with a disability may require to move between sessions.
- All staff, volunteers and security personal are briefed on the accessibility elements described above and are comfortable supporting people of all abilities to access the event.
- A staff member is assigned to address access concerns that may arise during the event, and is comfortable dealing with complaints.