Survey focuses on disability access

CHANGED: Twins Zia and Cyanne Westerman at the Changing Places toilet in Adelaide.
CHANGED: Twins Zia and Cyanne Westerman at the Changing Places toilet in Adelaide.

While most of us do not have to plan when we are going to return home to use the toilet when we go out, for those with certain disabilities this is part of everyday life.

Zia and Cyanne, who suffer from a neuromuscular condition called limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, always have to plan for when they are going to come back to their home to use the bathroom whenever they go out.

The girls find this incredibly frustrating – but during a recent trip in Adelaide they were able to go out and shop for a whole day, thanks to the Elizabeth Shopping Centre featuring a Changing Places toilet.

Changing Places is a project advocate for public toilets with full sized change tables and hoists in major public spaces across Australia.

Additional features of the toilets include tracking hoist systems, non-slip flooring and extra space to accommodate two carers and a person in a wheelchair.

The state government has committed $200,000 to fund partnerships for five Changing Places toilets in South Australia. The government are now running a survey to assess the need for the facilities around the state.

There’s potential for one to be in Whyalla, which would be massively beneficial for people like Zia and Cyanne.

“Going around town would be so much easier, we wouldn’t have to re-arrange our whole day just to figure out when to go the toilet and how long you can go out for,” Zia said.

“It’s very frustrating to do in your day-to-day life.”

Member for Giles Eddie Hughes said the partnerships funded by the government could be be with private sector organisations such as shopping centres or entertainment venues, non-government organisations or councils.

“As an example a Changing Places toilet at the Whyalla foreshore would be a positive move especially given the recent acquisition of beach access wheelchairs and the possibility of a beach mat in the near future,” he said.

“I encourage people to fill in the short on-line survey to help assess need in Whyalla. The survey is at yoursay.sa.gov.au/decisions/changing-places-survey/about."