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‘Mongrel act’ at Florey infuriates disabled driver

By Charlotte Harper - 23 March 2017 14

The Lack Group vehicle parked in a disabled spot at Florey. Photo: Michael Richer
“Mongrel act of the day at Florey shops this afternoon,” Michael Richer wrote in a message to us on Facebook about this illegal use of a disabled parking spot.

“No pass on dash visible . Photo 1 shows dash clearly. As a disabled driver, I’m annoyed.”

It must be beyond infuriating as a person with a disability to drive to your local shopping centre and find that the designated disabled spots have been taken up by individuals who have no need for them.

Unfortunately, while it’s not always as blatant as in this very public example, use of disabled spots by able-bodied drivers is all too common an occurrence in Canberra. It’s a selfish and thoughtless act that is completely unnecessary given the alternatives available to those of us who can easily walk between our car and destination.

Mr Richer said scenarios like this occur frequently in car parks all over the country.

“All I say is live a day in our shoes,” he said.

“Having a disability does not preclude me from contributing to society and earning a income.”

Perhaps more social media and RiotACT shaming of those at fault is in order. We’re game if you are.

Not that we’re happy to be outing a business over such behaviour as we are in the case. The onus is clearly on individuals to act in accordance with company expectations, whether they’re in the workplace or representing the organisation publicly by wearing uniform or driving a vehicle displaying company branding. If they don’t, they’re putting their employers’ reputation, and potentially their own livelihood, at risk.

Plenty of individuals fail to make the connection between their behaviour and their employers’ reputation. In the past fortnight alone I’ve seen ACTION bus drivers hurtling down a quiet street at 20km over the limit; a food and packaging delivery truck cutting fellow drivers off in its rush through the suburbs and an electronics repair van tailgating another vehicle. It’s enough to make you consider investing in a dashcam so you can dob the offenders in, if not to police then at least to their employers.

While the evidence was damning in the case Mr Richer alerted us to (and provided photographic evidence of) a few weeks back, we felt we should check with the Lack Group before publishing an article on the incident in case the driver or a passenger in their vehicle on the day in question were disabled and had simply forgotten their disability parking permit.

The Queensland-based and family-run company confirmed there had been no disabled driver or passenger involved. It was therefore as Mr Richer had surmised a case of an “unfortunate and unacceptable decision” taken by one of Lack’s employees.

The Lack family was unsurprisingly very upset to learn that a member of its staff had behaved in such a manner while driving one of its vehicles.

David Lewin, the company’s executive manager, commercial and risk, told us the group implemented serious performance management actions for the employees involved .

“They are fully aware of the seriousness of their actions and that there is no tolerance to this type of behaviour,” Mr Lewin said.

“Our employees have admitted they made a very inconsiderate decision, are extremely remorseful and are sincerely embarrassed by their actions.

“As an equal opportunity employer, we condemn these actions and this incident has been used as an opportunity to further educate our employees in the importance of mutual respect for all members of the community.”

He noted also that the behaviour was “totally out of character for these employees” and expressed concern about the possible impact of the incident on the business as it had only recently commenced operating in the ACT.

“The Lack family name is prominently displayed on our vehicles and having originated from a small country community, we understand the importance of our public image and community expectations,” he said.

“Being relatively newly established in the ACT region, any negative perceptions can have a debilitating impact on our expansion program, and can very quickly bring undone all the hard work that goes into establishing a new base and clientele.”

Mr Lewin said the company’s values and codes of conduct [which are clearly set out on its website] require employees to behave in a manner that promotes positive interaction with clients and the general public as well as aligning with community expectation.

“From time to time people do sometime tend to make the wrong or inappropriate decisions and when we discover this has occurred we implement timely actions in order to prevent this from occurring again,” he said.

“In relation to this particular matter, when we discovered the information via a social media post being Facebook, our Executive Manager Human Resources initiated contact with the member of the community who was inconvenienced by the actions of our employee.

“We offered our sincere apologies and outlined the actions we were undertaking as a result of our employees behaviour.”

Mr Lewin said the Lack Group was an equal opportunity employer that condemned the actions of the driver in question.

“This incident has been used as an opportunity to further educate our employees in the importance of mutual respect for all members of the community,” he said.

Mr Richer remained sceptical about the actions and the remorseful comments of the Lack Group employees involved in the incident.

“I’m sure that their attitude will change if it directly affects them or a member of their family,” he said today.

“Then it’s too late to respect others.”

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
‘Mongrel act’ at Florey infuriates disabled driver
1
Melissa Carrington 9:05 am
23 Mar 17
#

When I grab a coffee each morning on the way to work there is usually the same person parked in a disabled spot (which is straight out the front). I have looked on his windscreen and he doesn’t have a permit. I wish I had the courage to approach him. It is definitely one of my pet hates and it seems to occur a lot around Canberra.

I do have to say though good on David Lewin from Lack Group for not trying to run away from this issue. I’m pretty sure his employee would have now learnt a valuable lesson and will now have a new respect for disabled parking spots. I think the ACT government should do some sort of education campaign about the impacts of parking in disabled spots – I reckon you will find a large majority of offenders are just very ignorant and don’t realise what impact their actions have.

2
rommeldog56 9:47 am
23 Mar 17
#

The response from the Lack Group is commendable. As a parent/carer of a person with a genetic disability, those who miss use disabled parking spaces have absolutely no idea of the adverse impact they case the disabled who have a legal entitlement to use them. They totally lack understanding and empathy with the disabled – or as I suspect, simply couldnt care less.

This is an endemic issue all around Canberra I’m afraid. At our local shopping centre, there is a tradie truck, complete with heavy duty tool/toolkits, pipes, cables, etc, all over it. But, the driver uses disabled parking voucher regularly ! I have see this guy who had obviously come from a job – there is no way he has a physical disability. Very fit looking. This is another aspect of life in “progressive” Canberra. People actually pass disabled parking vouchers around between family members to use. Others couldnt give a hoot and park in disabled parking spots regardless. Happens at Erindale shops all the time. But sometimes people do forget to display their voucher. I might add that in major shopping centres that have those multi story privately owned carparks, no action can be taken against drivers who illegally park in disabled spaces. Again, regularly happens at the Tuggeranong Hyperdome.

I fully support publishing of pics of those who misuse disabled parking spaces as that will hopefully have an impact on marked vehicles as with Lack Group. But what about for unmarked/private vehicles ?? Would be good if the police could take action based on pics on a website/facebook page somewhere. There certainly doesnt seem to be much, if any, policing by parking inspectors/police of people parking illegally in disables spaces. I wonder if the ACT Gov’t has some stats on those infringement notices ???

Anyway, there used to be a great weekly post on RiotAct years ago where people could not only post pics of cars parked illegally in disabled spaces, but also general poor parking. Would be good if that could be reactivated. It was very popular. Just a thought.

3
bigred 10:21 am
23 Mar 17
#

This is consistent with my view that once you get away from the pay parking zones, it is pretty much a free for all. If there is a spare bit of bitumen, it can be parked on. My personal pet hate is parking in a way to block kerb ramps for anyone less able.

PS did I read a foreshadowing of a return to the weekly bad parking feature?

4
Maya123 11:10 am
23 Mar 17
#

Melissa Carrington said :

When I grab a coffee each morning on the way to work there is usually the same person parked in a disabled spot (which is straight out the front). I have looked on his windscreen and he doesn’t have a permit. I wish I had the courage to approach him. It is definitely one of my pet hates and it seems to occur a lot around Canberra.

I do have to say though good on David Lewin from Lack Group for not trying to run away from this issue. I’m pretty sure his employee would have now learnt a valuable lesson and will now have a new respect for disabled parking spots. I think the ACT government should do some sort of education campaign about the impacts of parking in disabled spots – I reckon you will find a large majority of offenders are just very ignorant and don’t realise what impact their actions have.

Leave a polite note under the windscreen wiper. I did this once when with a disabled passenger we arrived to find a big four wheel drive vehicle taking the disabled spot. (I’m not sure how a disabled person would heave themselves up into it. My passenger couldn’t.) I wrote something along the lines of that we needed that disabled spot, but if they are also disabled I apologise, but please remember to display your permit next time.

5
Holden Caulfield 12:14 pm
23 Mar 17
#

“…use of disabled spots by able-bodied drivers is all too common an occurrence in Canberra.”

Being able-bodied does not actually preclude a person from getting am authorised permit (temporary or otherwise) to park in disabled car parking spots. There are obviously criteria that one would need to satisfy before getting a pass (I’m not sure if that is listed anywhere), but one can appear to be able-bodied and still qualify for a disabled parking pass.

6
Holden Caulfield 12:19 pm
23 Mar 17
#

Here we go:

Australian disability parking permit
https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/1677/~/parking-permits#!tabs-2

I do think there may be some examples where the “whose physical condition is detrimentally affected by walking 100m” criteria is applied very loosely, which may give the impression that an able-bodied person is misusing a disabled parking space.

7
Elizabeth Lee MLA 12:49 pm
23 Mar 17
#

Unfortunately this does occur and it seems perhaps more and more now (I’ve certainly noticed it more and more). The NSW Government has introduced a demerit point penalty in addition to the current fines that exist. What are people’s thoughts on this for the ACT? To add another angle to this issue, I have also witnesses people who make judgments about people who do have a valid disability permit but do not “look” or “act” with obvious mobility issues – and we need to be mindful of this also.

8
rommeldog56 1:24 pm
23 Mar 17
#

Elizabeth Lee MLA said :

Unfortunately this does occur and it seems perhaps more and more now (I’ve certainly noticed it more and more). The NSW Government has introduced a demerit point penalty in addition to the current fines that exist. What are people’s thoughts on this for the ACT? To add another angle to this issue, I have also witnesses people who make judgments about people who do have a valid disability permit but do not “look” or “act” with obvious mobility issues – and we need to be mindful of this also.

A demerit point penalty would be great – but illegal parking in disabled places needs to be policed. I doubt it is.

I couldn’t care less if a person “looks” disabled or not. If they display a valid disabled parking permit, thats ok with me. How they obtained that and if its justified is not up to me to judge – but u have to wonder………

9
Leon Arundell 2:56 pm
23 Mar 17
#

A commendable response from the Lack Group. How should we deal with the thousands of Canberrans who force their neighbours to walk on the road by obstructing their nature strips with landscaping or with illegally parked vehicles?

10
Felix the Cat 8:00 pm
23 Mar 17
#

rommeldog56 said :

Anyway, there used to be a great weekly post on RiotAct years ago where people could not only post pics of cars parked illegally in disabled spaces, but also general poor parking. Would be good if that could be reactivated.

It was very popular. Just a thought.

https://www.facebook.com/CanberraDrivers/

11
olfella 8:43 pm
23 Mar 17
#

One of the reasons these spots are so big is so a person can open the door fully and transfer to a wheelchair. Many times I have had to park in the middle of the street to perform this task while others that clearly don’t need to use the disabled spot do so. Very inconsiderate of them and the doctors that issue the permit.

12
olfella 8:54 pm
23 Mar 17
#

Elizabeth Lee MLA said :

Unfortunately this does occur and it seems perhaps more and more now (I’ve certainly noticed it more and more). The NSW Government has introduced a demerit point penalty in addition to the current fines that exist. What are people’s thoughts on this for the ACT? To add another angle to this issue, I have also witnesses people who make judgments about people who do have a valid disability permit bI think but do not “look” or “act” with obvious mobility issues – and we need to be mindful of this also.

I think the legislation needs review, esp how the permits are issued and the criteria to obtain one. Like I said previously, the car door need to be opened fully to enable transfer, be it a wheelchair or other walking aid. Many of these spots are beyond the 100 metre distance required yet ‘some’ travel this distance with ease. Another place to observe this is at the Southern Cross club in Jamison and Jamison Shops. Fines are useless if the areas are not policed.

13
Buster 3:40 am
24 Mar 17
#

There is a Facebook page called Canberra Hospital Shit Parking, that mercilessly takes the mickey and shames people parked in a dangerous and illegal manner ie people parked illegally blocking the wardsmens access route to the care flight helicopters at the TCH. Ive had a good chuckle at the page a few times now.

14
No_Nose 6:42 am
24 Mar 17
#

Firstly, I’m glad to see the company accepting responsibility for its employees actions, contacting the original poster and apologising. They do seem to be trying to do the right thing with their policies and training and it is impossible to police the actions of every employee all the time. All they can do is take action when it is brought to their attention. I think its a bit ungrateful by the original poster to not accept this, what else does he think they can do?

Secondly – Bring back the Monday Parking Photos!

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