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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.