You have the right for your Seeing Eye Dog to be with you in public spaces and on public transport. This right is protected under law and means that you can enjoy a meal in a restaurant, shop in all retail outlets and catch a taxi or other public transport with your dog by your side.
If you have been refused services because you're in the company of your Seeing Eye Dog, you are being discriminated against because of your disability. Unfortunately despite this being illegal, and despite ongoing advocacy from individuals and organisations such as Vision Australia on this issue, it does still happen. Several states have extended these protections to the people who accompany puppies in training.
If this happens to you, you could insist in the first place that you speak with the manager or owner of the business to explain his or her legal obligations. You could also call the police.
In many States across Australia there are penalties or fines that may be applied to people or businesses refusing access to those in the company of their Seeing Eye Dog.
If you do not get the outcome you want, that is, to access whatever service you are being denied, please contact Vision Australia's Advocacy Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1300 84 74 66 for further information and advice. We can discuss with you what other steps you might take, including making a formal disability discrimination complaint against the business through the Australian Human Rights Commission.
There are numerous pieces of legislation and regulations relating to assistance dogs and the rights of their owners. We have provided a general list for your interest - please note there are many other Acts and Regulations that also have sections concerning assistance dogs.
Assistance Dogs - Acts and Regulations
Links to commonly cited legislation and regulations relating to assistance dogs is provided for general interest and in good faith. Many other Acts and regulations also have sections concerning assistance dogs.
Please note that as the Legislation/Regulation documents are from third party websites, some will download in PDF.
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth), (s9)
- Commonwealth Standards: Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code 3.2.2 (Chapter 3, Div 6 cl 24) (PDF)
- Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (New South Wales)
- Companion Animals Act 1998 (New South Wales)
- Passenger Transport Act 1990 (New South Wales)
- Domestic Animals Act 1994
- Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Act 1994 (S7) (PDF)
- Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (S4, 52)
- National Parks (Park) Regulations 2003, reg 37
- Transport (Passenger Vehicles) Regulations 2005, reg 72
- Transport (Taxi-Cabs) Regulations 2005, reg 33
- Transport (Conduct) Regulations 2005, reg 20
- Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Act 2009 (PDF)
- Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Regulation 2009 (PDF)
- Guide Dogs Amendment Bill 1997 (PDF)