Rights – Hearing Impairment

Picture of hands doing sign language

Under the Disability Discrimination Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of a disability.

If you have a hearing assistance dog, you have the legal right to access to all public areas of the community, public passenger vehicles and places of accommodation with them as your companion.

Fines may apply to people in control of a public place, public passenger vehicle or place of accommodation if they:

  • Deny entry or access, or refuse to serve you
  • Separate you from your dog
  • Charge extra for your dog

If you require an Auslan interpreter, there are some situations where an interpreter should be provided to you without charge. In these situations, the interpreter is paid for by the government or the organisation providing the service or arranging the event. These situations include:

  • Doctors’ appointments
  • Public hospitals
  • Other health professionals
  • Education
  • Meetings with government departments and agencies
  • Workplace meeting
  • Conferences
  • Courts
  • Employment services

There are situations where an interpreter may not always be present. An example of this may be a conference that is not targeted at people who have a hearing impairment or disability. Another example is private educational colleges.

In some situations it may be difficult or impossible to get an interpreter unless you are able to pay for one. These situations include:

  • Family and social occasions
  • Children’s activities
  • Purchasing goods and services or obtaining quotes
  • Sporting activities
  • Community meetings, public speeches or live theatre performances
  • Emergencies
  • Religious activities
  • Non-job related education or hobby courses
  • Many employment related situations
  • Private hospitals
  • Private legal services
  • Counselling
  • Financial advice

An interpreting agency may provide the interpreter without charge in some of these situations, but this is at their discretion.