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MLAK Key explained – why you need one and where to get it

We have had a MLAK key attached to Braeden’s wheelchair for many years. Each time I post something on Facebook about a MLAK key I still find that there are people who haven’t heard about it, want to know where they can use it and where they can get one. So, although I’ve included the MLAK key in many posts, I’ve decided it needs it’s own review in the hope more people will understand the benefits of owning one and know how to get a MLAK key. I’m an advocate for anything that makes local outings or travel easier and in our experience the MLAK key does just that.

MLAK Key - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

MLAK Key explained – why you need one and where to get it

MLAK stands for Master Locksmith Access Key and is a unique locking system developed for use in many accessible bathrooms, Liberty swings (wheelchair swings), some water wheelchairs and Changing Places bathroom facilities. We have found that some councils in New South Wales are particularly keen on using the MLAK key on public accessible bathrooms. Lake Macquarie Council is one that seems to have adopted the use as commonplace.

MLAK Key - Liberty Swing - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

People who have a disability or have written authority from a doctor are eligible for a MLAK key. Many disability organisations are able to apply for a MLAK key to assist with outings for their clients as well.




MLAK Key - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

The MLAK key was developed to help increase the availability of accessible, clean and functioning public facilities for people with disability. And although there are many people in the disability community against the MLAK key, we think that the key is incredibly useful. We find that MLAK locked facilities are much more readily available when we need them and the bathrooms are usually much cleaner. It would be great to think that people that don’t need an accessible bathroom would not use it but that’s not been our experience. Unlocked accessible bathrooms seem attractive to many people who don’t necessarily need the facilities which means that when someone with a genuine need wants to access the bathroom, it’s often occupied.

MLAK Key - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Last weekend was a perfect example of a time when having the MLAK key was helpful. We were in the Blue Mountains and there was a queue for the unisex accessible bathroom. Those in the queue had young babies they wanted to change on the change table which is also located in the accessible bathroom. Opposite the general accessible bathroom there is a MLAK key locked bathroom which we could access instantly thanks to having the key attached to Braeden’s wheelchair. It’s especially helpful in these instances to have a MLAK key and it’s often essential for anyone wanting to use a Changing Places bathroom.

MLAK Key - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

We have several MLAK keys and we keep them attached to Braeden’s wheelchairs to ensure that no matter which chair he is using and who he is with, there is a MLAK key available for use. So we have one attached to both his manual wheelchairs and one attached to his beach wheelchair. When we go to the beach we often only take Braeden’s beach wheelchair and after many trips where we forgot to take a MLAK key, we attached one to his chair. Now when we need to change Braeden out of swimmers back into his clothes in the accessible bathroom, we are assured of access.

MLAK Key - Have Wheelchair Will Travel
The MLAK Key is slightly larger than a regular key

Victorian Companion Card holders are able to obtain one MLAK key for free by filling out this form.

Some councils also offer a free MLAK key to rate payers in their council area. Read about the facilities Lake Macquarie Council offers its residents in this review.

The MLAK key can be ordered online by completing this form and paying $25.

If you need a MLAK key and want it quickly, you can purchase one from a Master Locksmith. There’s a list of Master Locksmiths on this website so you are able to search one close to you. The key costs $25.

Don’t forget to also check out our post on 7 things that make travelling in Australia with a disability easier. 

 




12 thoughts on “MLAK Key explained – why you need one and where to get it”

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for this article as it is very useful. But as we live in Sydney therefore we don’t have the Victorian Companion Card Holder, is there a form to apply for for Australian Residence or may be I just need to go to the Master Locksmith and buy one.
    I assume we will need to show some kind of identification like Disabled parking permit or the Companion card to the Locksmith to buy the MLAK key?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Linh,

      They are not free for NSW residents so you need to order online or go to a Master Locksmith with your parking permit or a letter from your doctor.

      Good luck.

      Julie

      Reply
  2. I have had one for years its great to have to take my son to the toilet. And saves questionable looks we get as he is 21 when I had to use female toilets as there is no way I could let him in male toilet alone.

    Reply
  3. The accessible toilet app has MLAK toilet as a search option. but I’m yet to find an accessible toilet where my MLAK key works (I was hoping I could use it at Melbourne’s Bourke Street Station in the disability assist room when the counter is unmanned – but no luck). Can someone explain how to find the MLAK locked toilets? We travel from Canberra to Armidale, Canberra to Albury and Melbourne annually and we will now be adding Canberra to Brisbane via Armidale to our travels. Thanks
    Regards
    Lou

    Reply
  4. Hi, I wish they had this in Queensland. Blatant mis-use of accessible toilets at my local shopping centre – used by school kids who are up to things they shouldn’t be doing in public.

    Reply
    • Hi Fiona,

      It’s always so frustrating to see misuse of accessible bathrooms. While they may not have the accessible bathrooms at your local shopping centre MLAK Key locked they do use the MLAK key in some areas in Queensland. We’ve seen it used at Broadbeach for the Changing Places bathroom at the beach there.

      Kind regards

      Julie

      Reply

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