Employment and infrastructure are two key areas identified as priority areas for enhancement under Gunnedah council’s draft Disability Inclusion Action Plan.
The draft policy will be on public display for a 28 days to provide opportunity for community feedback.
The plan notes that how initial consultation, which featured 340 people across the community, reminded council of the need for further infrastructure enhancements to make it easier for people with disability to move around the shire and to access events, activities and community life.
Also highlighted by the community was that employment opportunities for people with disability in the shire are limited and focussed effort on increasing access to long term employment, traineeships, work experience and volunteering opportunities is a must.
Another point raised was that embedding access and inclusion into the mindset of council staff would be key to delivering on the actions within the plan. Council identified 6.3 per cent of its full-time workforce in 2017 as having a disability of some type and/or of caring for family with disabilities.
Among other issues raised were access to designated disability parking and non-compliance; the need for council to collaborate with and provide incentives to the local business sector for better disability access and that council information be available in an array of alternative formats and languages.
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said the plan provides an opportunity to assist residents and visitors to actively engage with, and contribute to, the diverse fabric of the community.
“In developing this Plan, council recognises the value of creating and fostering a strong, vibrant and welcoming community and is committed to becoming both a champion and advocate for accessibility and inclusion,” Cr Chaffey said.
“[The plan] is relevant to all areas of our operations and we look forward to continuing our conversations with the community and in particular people with disability and their carers, in order to maximise the potential that this plan provides.”
Copies of the draft plan are available council’s customer service locations including the council administration building, GoCo, shire library and The Civic.