In the Media

Kelly Vincent – ABC891 Mornings with Ian Henschke

Caller Allan & Kelly Vincent, Dignity for Disability (891ABC 9.52-9.59) Dispute with Mitcham Council over a $330 fine for the display of a non-contemporary disability permit

Ian Henschke: Allan has been in dispute with the Mitcham Council over a fine, tell us what happened?

Allan: On Tuesday I parked in a Disabled car park outside the FMC, I had my mother-in-law with me. We were off to see my daughter who was in Intensive Care. We spent four or five hours in Intensive Care. We had left in the car a disabled permit displayed on the passenger side dashboard and when we came back out I found that I had a fine for $330 for apparently not displaying the right disabled permit. My Mother in Law has the old style … and not the new style permit.

Ian Henschke: Right so you hadn’t got an up to date disability permit?

Allan: No; I did know that they existed but not being – …

Ian Henschke: and your current one had two years left on it?

Allan: Two years and ten months, yes.

Ian Henschke: Alright so it this an issue where people haven’t been informed about it. Kelly Vincent this seems a bit unusual doesn’t it? That someone would have a permit that’s got two years and ten months left on it and some parking official is going around the FMC writing out $330 tickets?

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely. I’ve double checked the standards on the SA government website and as long as a person has a valid permit they’re using to transport the permit holder which I assume is his mother in law, and it’s displayed in such a way that the permit number and the expiry date are visible from the exterior of the vehicle they’ve done nothing wrong. So I think it’s clear here that the Mitcham Council has unfortunately acted outside of its jurisdiction.

Ian Henschke: Allan, Kelly Vincent a member of parliament Upper House telling you that they’ve acted outside their jurisdiction. Have you taken the matter up with the council?

Allan: I have and they’ve asked me to fill in an expiation notice appeal form. I did point out to them that I really don’t have time to go through, to jump through all of these hoops because my daughter is actually in Intensive Care in the Flinders Medical Centre. I also rang yesterday the RAA legal section who also told me that it is completely illegal under Section 98T, subsection 1B of the Motor Vehicles Act so what all that means I’m not really too sure –

Ian Henschke: So they told you they’d acted illegally.

Allan: Yes, yes.

Ian Henschke: And is it to do with the fact that I know sometimes you can be ticketed for not putting the permit on the left or the right hand side or if you put it in the middle. I mean is it something to do with where you placed the permit or the fact that the permit was the old permit not the new one?

Allan: No, apparently the legislation hasn’t actually been changed so the permit still needs to be displayed on the non driver’s side of the vehicle so really the new ones that you hang off the mirror you could actually say technically are illegal because the legislation hasn’t actually been changed.

Ian Henschke: Back to Kelly Vincent, you’re hearing a man whose daughter is in Intensive Care, he’s been stressed out by all this. Are you able as an MP to simply say ‘look Allan give us your details, I’ll contact the relevant people and make sure this doesn’t happen, not only to him but to other people who turn up at the Flinders Medical Centre trying to visit relatives?

Kelly Vincent: Look absolutely; I would encourage anyone looking for further information as to what they can and do to avoid this kind of situation to contact us. I’m happy to give my details on the air, 8237 9543 and can I say also that I’m sorry that this has happened to Allan at a time when he is so obviously suffering some very difficult stress.

Ian Henschke: But why would they change a permit and leave it with two years and ten months on it and have two types of permits out there, what is the purpose of changing the disability permit in the first place?

Kelly Vincent: I think that for many people that’s a good question and certainly they’re obviously, given Allan’s case, hasn’t been enough information given about the transition time. I mean if someone still has – I’ve got the guidelines from the SA Government website here in front of me and again if somebody has a valid permit it doesn’t specify as to whether it has to be a dashboard permit or a hook permit.

Ian Henschke: Have they changed them from being dashboard permits to ones you hang over the mirror?

Kelly Vincent: Yes, the newer ones are the ones that hang over the mirror that’s correct.

Ian Henschke: And why would you drive around with something hanging over your mirror?

Kelly Vincent: Well interestingly Ian, the only mention in the guidelines that I have here in front of me is that if a person does have a hook permit they’re required to remove that from their mirror to prevent obscuring vision. So again it doesn’t specify this person has to have a particular kind of permit, it’s just that it has to be valid and be used to transport the permit holder.

Ian Henschke: Well it sounds a bit like that thing I read in the paper today about the Adelaide Council who had an audit of laws and found out that there were something like a couple of hundred laws that were just redundant and cluttering up the legal system. This sounds like a law that should be fixed shouldn’t it?

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely and again that’s why we’re certainly calling on the Government to provide further information through the website and other means to be clear about the fact that if you have a current valid old style permit it’s still legal to park using that permit.

Ian Henschke: Alright, Brian of Unley?

Caller Brian: I’ve got a disability permit and I’ve had it for I don’t know how long but had the old one, the little blue one, that you used to put on the dashboard and I got a letter to say that all those have been cancelled and the one I’ve got now is good for Australia. The brought the whole lot in so every state had the same disability permit … hang that on the rear vision mirror and those things notwithstanding they might have a couple of years on them they’re all  by acts of parliament [fades out])

Ian Henschke: Thanks to the news. But Allan of Gawler we’ve also been told by Mitcham Mayor that you do have to appeal, it’s a matter of writing a letter to the council et cetera, laying out the case and he says generally they’re pretty good about these things and also you’ve been given Kelly Vincent’s number who says that she will follow the matter up. Thank you very much Kelly Vincent. Maybe if you’ve got a disability permit and you’re driving someone around just double check it today and make sure you don’t get a fine.