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Guide Dogs and Retail Food Premises

In NSW, Guide Dog users are allowed to enter all public places including the customer areas of food service businesses such as restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs.

A survey undertaken by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in 2010 revealed 1 in 3 people who use a guide dog have been refused entry to a restaurant in the past 12 months. It also revealed that 34% of Guide Dog users said they had experienced unfair treatment in a restaurant or cafe within the past year.

All Guide Dog users are allowed entry into restaurants under the

· Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Section 9)

· NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 (Section 14 & 59)

· Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Chapter 3, section 24 (1)b) (assistance animal)

Refusing entry to a Guide Dog user can result in legal action for the business owner. A guide dog will usually sit underneath the chair; therefore it is not in the way.

To address these discrimination issues Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has launched a public education campaign called "Guide Dogs Welcome Here" to remind NSW Cafe and Restaurant owners of their legal obligations. The campaign calls on restaurateurs to place a sticker in their window to help show their support and help reverse discrimination.

Business owners can get their free "Guide Dogs Welcome Here" information kits by accessing the website www.guidedogs.com.au or calling Guide Dogs NSW/ACT on 02 94129300.