QAI was recently featured on A Current Affair for a story about a person with an assistance animal who was having trouble with accreditation.

You can watch the episode ‘Disability pensioner and assistance dog’s life-saving relationship at risk’ here.

Both the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act and the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act make it unlawful to discriminate against someone because they have an assistance animal. Assistance animals do not need to be accredited for these protections to apply.

Assistance animals need to:

  • Be trained to assist a person with disability to help ease the effect of their disability
  • Meet the standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place

This training is different to accreditation and can be done by anyone, including the animal’s owner.

In one Queensland case last year, an assistance dog was refused access to a pub because it was not accredited. This was unlawful and the pub was ordered to pay $8,000 in compensation.

You can read more about that case here: Matthews v Woombye Pub Trading Pty Ltd.

QAI recognises that it can be difficult to prove your animal is trained without accreditation. In the case about the pub, the dog had a Translink pass. A Translink Assistance Animal Pass is one of the simplest and easiest ways to get documentation to help demonstrate your animal is an assistance animal.

You can access the Translink Assistance Animal Information and Application form here.

If you have experienced unlawful discrimination because of your assistance animal, QAI may be able to help. We have a limited number of appointments to provide advice on disability discrimination complaints. It is important to remember that if you have been discriminated against, you only have 12 months to make a discrimination complaint in Queensland.

For more information about disability discrimination see:

Queensland Human Rights Commission on Impairment Discrimination

Australian Human Rights Commission on Assistance animals and the Disability Discrimination Act