Tweed Daily News

Guide-dogs have cafe entry rights

CAFE La Cuccina owner Clive Watson can proudly say he has never dogged anyone.

The Tweed City Shopping Centre cafe yesterday became one of the first to sign on for a new campaign being run by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

“Guide Dogs Welcome Here” aims to educate restaurant staff and patrons that guide-dogs are entitled to go anywhere.

The campaign calls on Tweed restaurants and cafes to place a sticker in their window to help showcase their support and reverse guide-dog discrimination.

It was prompted after a survey found that one in three people were not certain that guide-dogs are allowed into restaurants and cafes.Mr Watson said he was shocked to hear the results.

“I thought it was just a bit of common knowledge because the guide-dog goes wherever the user goes,” he said.

“They are just like everyone else.”

Mr Watson said despite more than four years at the helm of the cafe, he has not had any customers with guide-dogs.

“They are always welcome here. This campaign is a good idea and will hopefully make other people more aware,” he said.

Human Rights and Disability Discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes said refusing a guide-dog user entry to a restaurant or cafe is illegal under the Federal Disability Discrimination Act.

“I urge eateries to join the campaign and show their support rather than risk legal problems,” Mr Innes said.

Guide Dogs Coffs Harbour regional manager Jeremy Hill said anecdotal evidence from guide dog users regarding local eateries suggests there is still a significant level of ignorance and further education is needed.

“On a daily basis we are hearing stories about guide-dog users still being refused entry into their local cafes and restaurants, and it always comes down to a lack of knowledge,” Mr Hill said.

  • Cafes, restaurants, clubs and cars who want to help build awareness can request a free kit by calling Guide Dogs NSW/ACT on (02) 9412 9300.

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