Recommendation 5

Streamlining identity cards

Recommendation 5

To amend the Act by removing the government’s role in issuing handler identity cards and authorise approved training institutions/trainers to issue handler’s identity cards.

Current practice/legislative framework

The Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 (the Act) provides for handlers (the person who relies on the dog) to carry an identity card. This allows members of the public and people in charge of public places, vehicles and places of accommodation to recognise the dog as a guide, hearing or assistance dog.

This is particularly important given the Act makes it an offence for a person in control of a public place, place of accommodation or a public passenger vehicle to refuse service to a person because they are accompanied by a certified guide, hearing or assistance dog, or a trainee support dog. The Act requires users to identify themselves by visibly displaying their identity card or producing it on request. In meeting this requirement, a user is ensured that their access rights are protected and that any offence provisions under the Act may be enforced by the department.  

Handler identity cards

Currently, there is a dual system in operation. At one level, the Act authorises the Queensland Government to issue handler identity cards. However, guide, hearing and assistance dog users are sometimes issued two identity cards as some approved training institutions also provide identification cards to handlers when a dog is certified.

There are a number of issues with the current processes:

  • having both government and training organisations issue similar cards is duplicative and not an efficient use of resources
  • handlers have raised concerns about the cost and time involved in establishing evidence of their disability
  • there are differences in identity card terms (for guide or hearing dogs, the term of the handler identity card is five years; for assistance dogs, the term of the handler identity card is two years).

Government currently does not prescribe a fee for the issuing or renewal of handler identity cards

Reason for recommendation

Removing the Queensland Government’s role in issuing handler identity cards and authorising approved training institutions/trainers to issue handler identity cards will improve and simplify processes. Advice from approved training organisations is that many already issue handler identity cards and as such, this proposal is effectively a continuation of their existing business. Most importantly, these changes will bring about a reduction in the duplication of administrative processes.

However, it is proposed that government will maintain an oversight role to ensure that rights of access are maintained and the department is still able to follow through on any offences committed under the Act. In particular, changes will be made to:

  • ensure there is one identity card recognised under the Act that is easily identifiable by business and community
  • set some minimum requirements around the card (for example, the duration and evidence of certification)
  • authorise only approved training institutions/trainers under the Act to issue handler identity cards;
  • require approved training institutions/trainers to keep a record or register of identity cards issued or notify the department once issued; and
  • provide a penalty for misuse or  unauthorised issuing of handler’s identity cards.

In implementing the recommendation, options will be explored to ensure that minimal operational or financial impacts are experienced by consumers and other parties.

Is your feedback

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