The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on disability and covers most areas of public life. The functioning of the DDA is supplemented by a series of standards and guidelines that provide more detail on the requirements for the provision of equal access and opportunity for people living with a disability. These standards include for public transport services in the form of The Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT), issued in 2002, and amended in 2004 and 2010.
In April 2016, Sterling was engaged to conduct an audit of the compliance of the V/Line rail passenger fleet to DSAPT and the exemptions granted in 2015 by the Australian Human Rights Commission for the Australasian Railway Association. This exercise was then repeated in March 2018 with a greater focus on detail and consultation.
Sterling audited 7no. fleet types varying from recently commissioned cars to older classic type fleet cars against DSAPT and its relevant Standards. In addition to the site audit, Sterling Auditors considered V/Line policies and practices in terms of customer assistance to assess whether satisfactory provisions are being made under Equivalent Access for the relevant DSAPT clauses assessed.
Findings and recommendations were to be considered by V/Line in combination with their fleet management strategy to assist in developing action plans and ensure the objectives of the DDA are met across the fleet.