On the annual International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) Indigo Shire Council is adding their voice to the cause to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability, and celebrate their achievements and contribution.
IDPwD is celebrated on 3 December internationally and the theme announced by the United Nations for 2020 is ‘Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World’. The recent Disability Royal Commission highlighted the unique challenges posed for people with a disability during the COVID-19 pandemic and also provided recommendations for how to better support people with a disability.
Currently in Australia around 18% of people have a disability. People with disability are diverse, with many different types and severity of disability. They come from all demographic and socioeconomic groups and have individual needs for assistance.
Indigo Shire Council is working to make the Shire a more accessible and disability-inclusive place for everyone to live. Council has an active Indigo Community Access Committeewho provide advice to Council on a range of issues relating to disability; including access, equity, and community awareness.
In 2021, a new Disability Access Plan (DAP) will be developed in consultation with people with lived experience of disability and local disability services, as well as the broader community. The purpose of the DAP is to provide a set of actions for Council that will enable people with disability to fully participate in their communities.
A DAP can help reduce discrimination and increase access for people with a disability to everyday services and employment. DAPs are also useful in addressing attitudinal barriers in organisations and communities.
Some of the most common barriers that can be addressed on a Council level include:
· Physical access to buildings
· Access to information
· Access to community services and programs
· Access to employment
Additionally, Indigo Shire Council implemented the Good Access = Good Business program in 2017, which was developed by the Hume region and surrounding local governments to help businesses to improve their accessibility. Providing good access to a business or essential service benefits people with a range of disabilities or illnesses, as well as parents with prams or wheelchairs and people with mobility aides. Increasing access to our businesses and essential services benefits the entire community.