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Trevor Carroll

Trevor Carroll

My name is Trevor Carroll.  I have a rare spinal cord disease and a hearing impairment, both of which were acquired after age 40. Before this, I never gave much thought to what it might have been like for people with disabilities to access goods and services and the community in general. I now have first-hand experience.

As a person with a disability I have been empowered by the  Disability Discrimination Act to make the community  more inclusive and accessible for me and others. So much so, that I now manage an advocacy agency that specialises in discrimination and human rights.

It is not easy.  I’ve had taxi drivers refuse to take me because I have a disability; I’ve had problems accessing flights, hearing movies, live shows and public transport.  Things that able bodied people take for granted have become quite large hurdles for me.

One time, at a new railway station when the lift failed and I was stranded on the platform unable to exit via the stairs and with no ramp access whatsoever.  This complaint was eventually conciliated under the DDA but not before I had nearly a week in hospital.  In the end, the outcome was good for me and for everyone else who can’t use stairs when the lift fails.  If it wasn’t for the DDA I would not have been able to achieve this outcome.

In my experience, many organisations and businesses aren’t even aware of their responsibilities under the DDA and are often quite shocked when a complaint is lodged against them. Simple things such as keeping the aisles uncluttered in shops, providing ramp access and offering assistance would solve a lot of problems. Sure, they seem like common sense, but these are often overlooked.