Public access rights for assistance dogs
People with assistance dogs trained by the following organisations are automatically granted public access rights under the
Dog Act 1976 regulations, including access to any building or place open to or used by the public for any purpose, or travel on public transport.
- Assistance Dogs Australia
- Lions Hearing Dogs
- Seeing Eye Dogs Australia
- Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia and affiliated bodies
Other assistance dogs
Public access rights for other assistance dogs may be granted on application to the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC). The applicant must be able to demonstrate that there is a need for an assistance dog and that the dog meets the specified training criteria.
Applying for public access rights
To apply for public access rights for a dog not trained by one of the recognised organisations named above, a
policy and application form must be completed and submitted to DLGC. This must be accompanied by a copy of electronic photographs of the applicant and the dog. Following approval, applicants will be provided with an identification card that must be carried on the named person at all times. Approved applications are valid for two years, or six months for dogs granted a probationary approval.
Public access test assessor
Dog Act 1976 has provision for assistance dogs not trained by a
recognised organisation to be approved. To be approved, the dog and its handler must pass the Public Access Test (PAT). The PAT indicates the minimum standard that must be achieved in order to be considered safe and effective in accessing public areas and public passenger vehicles on a daily basis.
Independent PAT assessors are approved by DLGC. Applicants need to show that they are capable of administering the PAT and ensuring that the dog is capable of being well behaved in public places and on public transport. All PAT assessors are responsible for their fee structure and organising tests with their clients. Once a PAT has been completed, the original assessment form must be forwarded to DLGC within seven working days.
Evidence needed to apply
- A brief CV detailing history of working with/training dogs and assistance dogs.
- Relevant qualifications attained to support working history.
- Evidence of a previous PAT conducted (if applicable).
- If the applicant has worked with a recognised organisation, a letter from that organisation stating that the applicant is competent to administer the test.
- Additional information that may be required by DLGC.