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Council releases new inclusion plan

Broken Hill City Council has published its new Disability Inclusion Action Plan. Picture: Barrier Truth

Broken Hill City Council (BHCC) is adopting a new plan to increase inclusion for locals living with a disability.

After being placed on public display for 28 days, Council will now implement strategies outlined in the Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP).

The 32-page DIAP, available on the BHCC website, includes four focus areas: Attitudes and Behaviours, Liveable Communities, Systems and Processes and Employment.

Long-time resident Adrian Kent-Johnston – who has a visual impairment – is pleased that Council is taking steps forward to improve inclusion but believes there’s still a long way to go.

“They need to work hard to make people aware of people living with a disability,” he said. “I don’t think it’s talked about enough.”

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BHCC’s latest action plan vows to celebrate, support and promote events such as International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD).

It also mentions the purchase of communication aids (like magnifying glasses, large face clocks and portable hearing loops) for Council buildings and facilities.

“That day (IDWP) is a good way of doing it,” Mr Kent-Johnston said.  “I think that equipment is needed. A lot of that wasn’t available before.”

More training and support will be provided to Council staff to “respectfully, confidently and effectively communicate with people with disability.”

BHCC pledged to engage with people who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids and parents of children with disabilities to determine priorities for improving footpaths, crossings and kerb ramps.

Methods involve hosting community consultations and ensuring ramps at school bus bay areas is included in the Active Transport Plan priority list.

“It sounds like they are coming up with a plan to go about it,” Mr Kent-Johnston said. “It’s good that they are initiating that.”

The DIAP has information regarding “progressively increasing” accessibility and inclusion in places of entertainment, recreation, learning and leisure.

It involves plans to make event seating arrangements more accessible for people who use wheelchairs.

Creating accessible documents, greater engagement with ‘harder to reach’ individuals and communities and community satisfaction surveys all fall under Systems and Processes.

Mr Kent-Johnston said regular feedback from the public would be necessary.

“The schools are where they need to start,” he said. “High school is where they (young people) are ready to finish and go out into the community.

“Feedback from most people would be beneficial whether they have a disability or not.”

Mr Kent-Johnston recently relocated to Victoria in search of more reliable work.

He wants more to be done for people living with a disability in the community to assist in finding and securing paid employment.

Council states it will review its recruitment and employment processes to ensure they are “barrier-free” to candidates who have a disability.

 

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