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Changes to discrimination law have come into effect in the ACT, as the government cracks down on inequality in the capital.

The changes expand protections against unfair and unreasonable treatment of people based on their background or personal circumstances.

“For the first time anywhere in Australia, it will be unlawful to unreasonable discriminate against someone based on their accommodation status, employment status or the fact that they are a victim of family violence,” Attorney-General, Gordon Ramsay, said.

For example, it’ll be illegal to deny a person entry into a shop because they’re homeless.

Other changes include protecting against discrimination on the basis that someone is or has been an immigrant, refugee or asylum seeker.

The law also takes into account discrimination against people based on particular physical features or an irrelevant criminal record. 

“We are a progressive city and want to ensure our most vulnerable are better protected,” Mr Ramsay said.

“These changes are about ensuring that stereotypes and stigmatisation do not result in people missing out on a fair go to access services or receive opportunities.”

These new changes build on reforms which came into force last year to outlaw religious and disability vilification, and to make it easier for people to make discrimination complaints.

“These changes will promote inclusion and fairness in the day to day lives of vulnerable Canberrans. They hold together the appropriate balance between the needs of business, employers and service providers compared to the rights of individuals within our community,” Mr Ramsay said.

“Canberra will be all the stronger when people are not held back by unfair and unreasonable treatment.”

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