SWEET VICTORY: Cheryl Callaghan, State Member for Bundaberg David Batt and Helen Willett, with assistance dog Hank.
SWEET VICTORY: Cheryl Callaghan, State Member for Bundaberg David Batt and Helen Willett, with assistance dog Hank.

Victory for our visually impaired after legislation change

PROGRESSION has enabled two Bundaberg women who were declared legally blind to receive disability parking permits, after years of campaigning.

It took almost three years but Bundaberg residents Cheryl Callaghan and Helen Willett have finally been granted the right to obtain a disability parking permit.

It was a sweet victory for the two locals who placed their permits on their carer's cars for the first time today.

State Member for Bundaberg David Batt said it was a special moment and one of the best he has witnessed during his time as a local MP.

"I'm really proud to have secured this important legislative change that is now making the lives of 18,000 Queenslanders, including Helen and Cheryl, so much easier and safer," Mr Batt said.

"We wouldn't have obtained this fantastic outcome without the support and help from Cheryl and Helen, their carer's Kevin and Monty, Guide Dogs Queensland and everyone who signed our petition and supported our calls for change over the last two years."

Despite the fact that both women are blind, they along with other visually impaired Queenslanders were not considered eligible to apply for the state's Disability Parking Scheme, until the legislation was officially changed on August 31.

Over the course of three years, the Bundaberg MP wrote to the Transport Minister and launched a parliamentary petition which attracted 3200 signatures requesting visually impaired Queenslanders be eligible to apply for disability parking permits.

In 2019, Mr Batt successfully lobbied the Minister to alter the eligibility criteria to include legally blind residents under the Disability Parking Scheme.

Guide Dogs Queensland also wrote to MPs from across the state, supporting the law change and the bill was unanimously passed in Queensland parliament in July this year, a month prior to the legislation amendment.