Following endorsement at the September 2020 Council meeting, the draft Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2020 – 2024 framework is now open for public consultation. The plan is a first of its kind for the City of Mount Gambier and outlines how Council proposes to provide equal access to services for all members of the community, regardless of ability.
Twelve priorities have been identified under four themes: inclusive communities for all, leadership and collaboration, accessible communities, learning and employment in line with the Inclusive SA: State Disability Inclusion Plan 2019 – 2023.
“People living with disability within our community may have difficulties using our footpaths and ramps, accessing our public buildings, amenities and parks, accessing and reading information including on our website or hearing at a public meeting or at a customer service counter,” said City of Mount Gambier General Manager Community Wellbeing Barbara Cernovskis.
“Council is committed to the continuous review and development of information, services and facilities to ensure equitable access and inclusion in our city.”
Proposed action items for Council to deliver over the four-year period includes ensuring community events meet diverse access needs, collaborating with local organisations to deliver training about disability, access and inclusion and developing a policy that ensures planned community consultations to enable people of all abilities to respond.
“The plan suggests Council provide information in multiple formats which could include Easyread, Auslan, pictorial forms, large font, audible options, Braille, captions, VoiceOver and dyslexia-friendly fonts,” said Ms Cernovskis.
The draft plan has been developed in consultation with stakeholders and groups that connect with and support people with disability living in the community, including Mission Australia’s Limestone Coast Inclusion Reference Group and local aged care and disability care provider Boandik Lodge.
“This plan is a great opportunity to enhance accessibility and inclusion in our community and will help ensure that people with disability can experience and connect within our community as fully as possible. By offering more opportunities for community access and connection, this will help increase the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of people with disability in our community,” said Mission Australia Community Engagement Facilitator Belinda Anderson.
“For example, we have suggested that if Council created and maintained an ‘accessible event’ checklist that people can refer to when organising and promoting a community event, this would go a long way towards making community events more inclusive and considerate of diverse access needs of people living in our community.”
Boandik CEO Gillian McGinty suggested that Council could encourage people living with a disability to be more involved in the community by giving careful consideration to the types of equipment people use.
“To ensure accessibility for all people, think about the requirements of those who use large wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Also, consider colour schemes that create contrast, nor mono-chrome colours blending into each other, particularly if there is a change in surface,” said Ms McGinty.
The proposed plan will become a living document that will be reviewed and updated as community needs change.
The plan is available to view at www.haveyoursaymountgambier.com.au/daip
Copies of the plan are available from the Council office, Library, the Riddoch Arts & Cultural Centre and the Visitor Information Centre.
Public consultation ends on Friday 9 October 2020.