Celebrating Guide Dogs and Handlers on International Guide Dog Day

Minister for Child Safety, Minister for Seniors and Disability Services and Minister for Multicultural Affairs The Honourable Charis Mullen
  • Queenslanders celebrate the incredible contributions of Guide Dogs on global day of recognition
  • Guide Dogs are a key support for people who are blind or vision impaired

Celebrations are underway across Queensland in global recognition of International Guide Dog Day.

This day recognises the incredible impact Guide Dogs have on their Handlers, helping to increase community access for those who are blind or visually impaired.

This year, Guide Dogs Queensland is urging businesses to understand the rights of Guide Dog Handlers.

In Queensland, Handlers with their Guide Dogs have a legal right to access certain public places under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009.

Queensland is a national leader in legislation to protect public access rights of people who rely on assistance dogs.

This inclusive legislation ensures access to public spaces, from shops and cinemas to cafes, restaurants, accommodation and transportation services, including ride share and ride booking services.

Today’s celebrations promote awareness of the invaluable service Guide Dogs provide their Handlers, and recognises the dedication of volunteers, trainers and organisations who work tirelessly behind the scenes to create these life-changing partnerships.

Brisbane man David Saxberg, who actively advocates for accessible public transport across south-east Queensland, has been blind since the age of seven and has a Guide Dog named Gizmo.

The strong bond between Guide Dog and Handler is evident with David, who says if Gizmo had a voice, he’d like David to tell people to treat Guide Dogs with respect.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Disability Services Charis Mullen:

“I was delighted to catch up with David and Gizmo for International Guide Dog Day and witness first-hand the special bond they both share.

“Today is an important day to not only recognise Guide Dogs but also a day to thank the many volunteers and organisations involved in creating this special bond.

“I’m proud to say Queensland leads the nation with laws protecting the rights of Handlers and Guide Dogs to access public places.”

Quotes attributable to Guide Dogs Queensland Acting CEO Jock Beveridge

“While the public generally do the right thing, there are many opportunities for people and businesses to adapt a more inclusive mindset and allow a Guide Dog Handler their legal access rights.

“Denying access isn’t just about inconvenience – it’s about jeopardising safety and their basic right to enjoy the same things as everyone else.

“Whether it’s getting public transport or a rideshare, visiting your favourite café or staying in a hotel, a Guide Dog can go too.”

Quotes attributable to Brisbane guide dog handler David Saxberg

“It’s an important day to remember Handlers like myself and Guide Dogs like Gizmo, have undergone extensive training as a working team.

“Please do not deny us access into public areas such as public buildings, restaurants, ride-share vehicles, taxis and public transport services across Australia.

“And please remember if the dog is in harness, not to pat them. Dogs are working for the Handler to ensure their safety.

“If you would like to pat the dog please ask the Handler, and respect their decision.”

/Public Release. View in full here.