Balancing the Act: ADCQ newsletter -
Vale Robert Jones (1958-2013)
Robert Jones was a long standing friend of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission, and had an enormous commitment to achieving equitable outcomes for people with a disability within the built and non-built environment. His expertise in access led him to advocate for people with disability in national forums and on government committees at all levels.
In the pivotal Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre case against the State government in 1994, Robert gave evidence. The case became a turning point for all Australians towards obtaining equitable access to buildings.
Robert volunteered his time and expertise as a board member in a number of community organisations including the Spinal Injuries Association, Queensland Council of Social Services, ACROD Access committee and chairperson of the Queensland Disability Advisory Committee. He also served on numerous reference groups on behalf of these organisations, providing advice to governments on access design for public buildings and public transport in
Queensland and Australia. Robert also provided advice to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Anti-Discrimination Commission to help resolve issues between providers and users.
Robert was a significant contributor to the development of the Australian Disability (Access to Premises - buildings)Standards 2010,which commenced in May 2011. He represented the interests of people with disability throughout the many years of negotiation to deliver a single reference which would provide certainty to developers, designers and users of public buildings in Australia.
On International Day of People with Disability in 2011 Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, acknowledged the contribution made by Robert Jones. He was one of two disability community representatives who volunteered their time on the Building Access Policy Committee throughout the development of the draft standards. Mr Innes spoke of Robert's 'dedication to making it happen' and the 'many significant improvements from which future generations of Australians will benefit' as a result of his work.
The ADCQ also benefited from Robert's technical expertise when we moved to our current premises at Albert St, Brisbane City. Robert provided assistance to the Commission to ensure the design and fit out of our premises was fully accessible, and complied with the then draft premises standards.
Robert Jones was always exceedingly generous with his time, and his expertise, commitment and friendship will be greatly missed. Many words have been used to describe Robert's contribution – dedication, skill, tenacious advocacy, a fearless spokesman, professionalism, attention to detail, stamina and passion. We cannot underestimate the significant contribution Robert Jones made to making this world a better place.