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The Shire of Augusta Margaret River was last week awarded the Most Accessible Community in WA Award – Regional Town/Shire Category by the Regional Capitals Alliance of WA.
The award acknowledges the Shire’s commitment to improving access and inclusion for all our community, including people with a disability.
The awards considered four criterion being:
Improve the accessibility of Council infrastructure and public open space;
Inclusive communication technology and information initiatives;
Accessible and inclusive Council services, programs and events;
Exercises leadership and influences community attitudes and perceptions.
Shire Community Development Officer Katie Taylor said that the imbedded access and inclusion culture at the Shire helped to achieve outcomes for the whole community.
“The Shire aims to be inclusive and accessible for everyone who lives, works, plays, invests and visits here,” she said.
“We recognise the importance of working in collaboration with the community to break down social barriers to inclusion and to drive change from within the community itself.”
The Shire was commended for ensuring key services such as the Augusta and Margaret River Recreation Centres and Libraries are welcoming and inclusive for everyone in the community.
“Recent access initiatives at the Recreation Centre include vision impaired pool lane signage and the construction of autism friendly family change rooms,” she said.
“Both initiatives were achieved because staff were flexible with their service and open to collaborating with people with disabilities in implementing innovative strategies.”
The Shire was also commended for going over and above statutory access requirements in the redevelopment of the Margaret River Youth Precinct.
“People with disability were involved throughout the entire project, via ongoing consultation with the Shires Community Access and Inclusion Reference Group as well as the involvement and collaboration with Artzability Inc,” she said.
“The redeveloped precinct now boasts universal accessible features such as picnic benches, barbecues, water fountains, viewing platforms, an accessible stage as well as colour contrasting of multi-use pathways and dropped door sills at the Youth Zone Room to ensure continuous paths of travel, inside and out.
“Involving people with a disability within this project from the initial consultation stage right through to the launch and activation of the completed youth precinct has ensured the development of a fantastic community space that has captured the needs and aspirations of all users including local youth with a disability.”
Other highlights include:
Strong engagement with the Augusta Margaret River Community Access and Inclusion Reference Group (approx. 80 members);
All staff participating in comprehensive access and inclusion inductions;
Access and inclusion as a standard agenda item on the Executive Leaderships Team meetings;
Conducting disability access audits on community buildings and facilities including ACROD parking bays and a commitment to continuous improvements;
Ensuring our footpaths, roads and kerb ramps are accessible, connected and well maintained;
Ensuring that all new builds go over and above the standard access legislative requirements and incorporate best practice access elements;
Ensuring the Shire website meets accessibility standards and includes information to assist people with a disability;
Developing staff awareness and skills for providing good customer service to people with a disability;
Encouraging accessible community run events and ensuring contractors work in line with the Shire’s access and inclusion commitments through checklists and tips in Shire forms and contracts;
Influencing community attitudes and behaviour through the annual ACROD bay community awareness campaigns; and
Promoting good models of inclusive practice such as through the Shires commitment to employing people with a disability.
For more information on the award or to discuss further access and inclusion strategies please contact Community Development Officer Katie Taylor on 9780 5255 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PO Box 61
Margaret River WA 6285
41 Wallcliffe Road
Monday to Friday
Ph 08 9780 5255
Fax 08 9757 2512
66 Allnut Terrace
Monday to Friday
Ph 08 9780 5255
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