Avon Valley Gazette - - NEWS -

NA­TIONAL Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices WA, rep­re­sent­ing more than 100 dis­abil­ity ser­vice or­gan­i­sa­tions, is sup­port­ing calls to make State and Fed­eral elec­torate of­fices uni­ver­sally ac­ces­si­ble so that all con­stituents can ac­cess their lo­cal Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment.

Con­cerns have been raised that peo­ple with dis­abil­ity face dis­crim­i­na­tion if they can­not ac­cess their lo­cal MP af­ter it emerged that Hil­larys MLA Peter Kat­sam­ba­nis’ new of­fice ( at Hil­larys Boat Har­bour) can only be ac­cessed via a nar­row stair­well.

It is a ba­sic right that all con­stituents should be able to visit the of­fice of their lo­cal MP.

It is un­ac­cept­able that a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment has been given an of­fice that can­not be ac­cessed by a sec­tion of the com­mu­nity.

The abil­ity to move eas­ily around the com­mu­nity is es­sen­tial for the eco­nomic and so­cial par­tic­i­pa­tion of peo­ple with dis­abil­ity.

The State Govern­ment should be driv­ing the adop­tion of higher stan­dards and must meet its ac­cess and in­clu­sion obli­ga­tions as out­lined in the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity Strat­egy.

WA has made good progress to­wards an in­clu­sive so­ci­ety but this ex­am­ple shows there is still much work to be done.

The Aus­tralian 2015 Cen­sus shows that more than one in four peo­ple with dis­abil­ity found it dif­fi­cult to ac­cess build­ings or fa­cil­i­ties in the com­mu­nity in the pre­vi­ous 12 months.

A prob­lem area is older and ex­ist­ing com­mer­cial and re­tail prop­er­ties which have no re­quire­ment to move to­wards con­tem­po­rary ac­ces­si­bil­ity stan­dards un­less they un­dergo ren­o­va­tions of an or­der that re­quired plan­ning ap­proval.

NDS WA calls on the State Govern­ment to show lead­er­ship on this is­sue and en­sure all State elec­torate of­fices meet ac­ces­si­bil­ity guide­lines as spec­i­fied in the Dis­abil­ity ( Ac­cess to Build­ings) Stan­dards 2010. JULIE WAYLEN Na­tional Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices WA State man­ager

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