Call for feedback on disability plan

POSITIVE OUTCOME: The purchase of beach wheelchairs to enable those with disabilities to access the Whyalla Foreshore was a big win last year.
POSITIVE OUTCOME: The purchase of beach wheelchairs to enable those with disabilities to access the Whyalla Foreshore was a big win last year.

Whyalla City Council is seeking community feedback on its draft Disability Access and Inclusion Plan to ensure it addresses local needs.

Council recognises the value that all residents bring to the community and is dedicated to ensuring an inclusive culture that optimises opportunities for residents with a disability.

Mayor Clare McLaughlin said council was committed to providing services, facilities, and future planning strategies to support residents that are identified as having a disability and to embed 'inclusivity' as part of its ethos.

"We believe it is critical that policies and strategies are developed to support accessible and engaging environments and communities for all vulnerable residents now and into the future," Mayor McLaughlin said.

"With this in mind, we have developed our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan to articulate the community's voice on how council can make improvements to services, facilities and programs to ensure a community that is inclusive of all.

"Council is focused on ensuring that all residents are included in mainstream services, especially those with a disability, and that they feel respected as valued members of the community.

"We are therefore committed to delivering this plan over the next four years, ensuring our city is accessible, inclusive and promotes participation for all local residents."

The draft plan was created on the back of extensive community surveys, with 184 people who have lived experience with disability completing the survey.

REPRESENTATION: Councillor Zia Westerman is a voice for the disabled on the Whyalla City Council. She is pictured with twin sister Cyanne.

REPRESENTATION: Councillor Zia Westerman is a voice for the disabled on the Whyalla City Council. She is pictured with twin sister Cyanne.

Councillor Zia Westerman said it was fantastic to have so many residents representing the target audience that contributed to the drafting of the plan.

"I'm quite proud of this plan, as it provides a voice for residents like myself that are living with a disability," Ms Westerman said.

"Without their knowledge, we wouldn't know where to begin to identify how we can improve services and facilities across the city."

Actions were developed on four different themes: inclusive communities for all; leadership and collaboration; accessible communities; and learning and employment.

The overall vision of the plan is that:

'Whyalla is recognised as an accessible and inclusive city which supports people with a disability to realise their full potential, participate in all aspects of community life and be recognised for the value they bring to our community'

The draft Disability Access and Inclusion Plan is currently out for public consultation, with council seeking community feedback, including ideas for improvement. The plan can be viewed and responded to on council's website: whyalla.sa.gov.au/council/publicconsultation. Submissions close on Tuesday 10 November.

To assist those in the community who may have difficulty in completing a response form, or require it in any other format, council's Community Services Team is here to help you - please call 8640 3444 for assistance.