Disability friendly premises recognised
BUSINESS operators and employees across the region are being asked to self-assess their preparedness to appropriately engage with a person with a disability.
Bundaberg Regional Council spokesperson Cr Judy Peters said recognising and having empathy for people with disabilities is an integral part of any caring and connected community.
“Disability Action Week is the time to reinforce messages ensuring people with special needs are afforded access to every opportunity our community lifestyle offers in the same vein as able-bodied people,” she said.
Council is a member of the Bundaberg Disability Sector Network (BDSN) which is an open forum, meeting bi-monthly to identify issues, develop strategies and share information and resources.
“Members of BDSN have compiled an “access checklist” that poses a range of questions to allow business operators and staff to check the disability friendly nature of the premises and to ensure staff are adequately trained and informed to deal with clients with a disability,” she said.
Ken Parker, a BDSN member and Suncare Community Services manager said many people were oblivious to the fact that disabilities came in many guises.
“Many people do not have an obvious or apparent disability and often they are the focus of community criticism for utilising disability parking or other services for impaired people,” he said.
Mr Parker said Bundaberg had a high percentage of people with disability rating about six per cent higher than the national average.
“Additionally, do business owners adequately train staff in dealing with the disabled? Are the premises disability friendly?” he said.
Mr Parker said the access checklist was designed as a tool to get people talking and to get business owners fully aware of a need to be inclusive.