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Supporting people with a disability

disability accessibility
Ross Duncan from Spinal Life Australia.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey met disability advocates this morning to discuss shared concerns to improve accessibility for people of all abilities.

Mayor Dempsey was invited to meet Spinal Life Bundaberg for morning tea.

The organisation has a mission to support people with spinal cord damage to live equitable and empowered lives.

Spinal Life Australia’s Ross Duncan addressed the meeting and spoke about recent major projects, including the launch of a new app.

“Our organisation has been running for 60 years, advocating for people with a disability,” he said.

“The kicker development for us this year is an accessibility app.

“The app should capture everything where the accessible car parks are around town right through to accessible toilets, adult changing facilities, hotels, restaurants, cafes, Council facilities, sporting facilities, event, festivals and all of that sort of stuff.”

Ross said the app was still under development and a workshop would be held in Bundaberg on March 10 to give more information.

Mayor Dempsey spoke about how Council values the working relationship with Spinal Life Australia and the work achieved to assist people with a disability in the region.

“As a Council we are certainly engaged with the difficulties facing people in our communities who suffer from a disability,” he said.

“In fact, there are more than 1800 people locally accessing support via the NDIS.

“A lot of the work undertaken by Council has a broad benefit to all residents and a direct benefit to people with a disability.”

Mayor Dempsey said Council had been undertaking a region-wide pathway program, enabling people with wheelchairs and mobility scooters safer access to their destinations.

“More than 33 kilometres of new pathways have been constructed across 125 locations in the Bundaberg Region,” he said.

“Council has allocated almost $3.68 million this financial year to renewing and improving our pathway network.

“We also have a dedicated budget to undertake any work specifically targeted at addressing disability issues or requiring immediate funding.”

It's work that has been met with enthusiasm from residents, with recent news stories about pathway construction gaining positive comments from readers.

“I have to say thank you, having a daughter in a wheelchair it was so hard having to walk on the side of the road as the footpaths were not suitable,” Cam Sage commented don a recent Bundaberg Now post.

“They now are very safe and easier to push on, can I say though please don't stop now there are still many more needed, keep up the great work.”

Mayor Dempsey said Council also had a focus on improving accessibility at pools, parks, libraries and events.

He said all pools were fitted with chair lifts, libraries catered to the vision impaired and local attractions, including the Hinkler Hall of Aviation, were free of charge to carers in the region.

Mayor Dempsey said Council was actively involved with the Options Day program.

“Last year was the seventh such event which provides inclusive, hands-on activities for people with disability, their carers, families, schools and the wider community,” he said.

“The event opens pathways to skills and education for those living with a disability.”

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