Advertisement

Sisters With Albinism Told They're 'Not Disabled Enough' For Permit

The parents of two young girls with albinism are fighting to change the disability permit rules in Queensland after they were knocked back because they can walk.

Seven-year-old Arliyah Brown and her three-year-old sister Mackenzie were born with Oculocutaneous Albinism (OCA). 

The condition has left the girls with impaired vision and a lack of pigment in their hair, eyes and skin, while photophobia -- another condition both girls have -- causes extreme sensitivity to light. 

"It's really difficult to get around if it's sunny," Arliyah told The Project.

"Mum has to guide me while holding Kenzie... I just don't like the sun in my eyes, it hurts."

Arliyah and Mackenzie were born with Oculocutaneous Albinism. Image: The Project

To make things a little easier, the Townsville-based family applied for a disability parking permit, but their application was rejected by the Queensland Department of Transport because Arliyah and Mackenzie are able to walk.

"Vision, hearing, any mental disability doesn't qualify to be able to get the parking (permit)," the girls' mother Hailey Brown said.

Unlike other states including NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, visually impaired Australians who are otherwise able-bodied are not eligible for parking permits in Queensland and Western Australia.

That means if you can walk, you will not be given a permit.

It's something the Brown family are working to change, and local MP Nick Dametto is backing their fight.

"In Queensland, I would love to see as soon as you're legally blind you qualify for a state disability parking permit," Dametto said.

"This won't just change their life but it'll change the life of everyone who is legally blind in Queensland and that's pretty powerful."

The state's government said it's examining the rules which dictate who is eligible for parking permits, with the potential to expand the Australian Disability Parking Permit Scheme criteria to include people with vision impairment.

"We're in the advanced stage of our review", Transport Minister Mark Bailey said.

"I think we can do better in both eligibility and enforcement".

For Hailey Brown, it would mean a chance to give her daughters some sense of independence as they grow up.

"The girls wouldn't be as scared... (they) would be able to have more confidence going places. It wouldn't be a whole big nightmare to go places," she said.