Funding for disability access initiatives

Date posted: 
10 August 2006

A grants pool of $750,000 has been established to support local governments in making communities more accessible for people with disabilities.

The State Government is making funds available to local governments who take up the State-wide 'You're Welcome' access initiative.

Disability Services Minister Tony McRae today announced the 'You're Welcome' grants program to mark Local Government Week.

Mr McRae said local government was a key player in developing accessible communities.

"It is one of the great strengths of local government that it has always excelled at identifying, planning for, and providing for the needs of its citizens," he said.

"People with disabilities, their families and carers, increasingly report that they do not have the same opportunities to participate fully in community life and face access barriers on a daily basis trying to do the things that most of us take for granted, such as going to the shops, having a meal in a cafe or finding suitable hotel accommodation.

"With one in five Western Australians having a disability, businesses are missing out on many potential customers, a market that will become more and more significant as the population ages."

Piloted in the City of Perth last year, 'You're Welcome' provides information management and promotion by local governments and provides people with disabilities with clear information about accessibility of local facilities and services.

The project combines the efforts of the Disability Services Commission, the Western Australian Local Government Association, Tourism Western Australia, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability, ACROD, People With Disabilities (WA), and those local government authorities who choose to participate.

Information will be gathered about accessibility within a geographic area and posted on the local government's website.

At the same time, businesses and facilities are invited to attend free customer service awareness training sessions, and receive an information pack to enable them to make their services accessible

"The pack includes a 'You're Welcome' sticker to display outside their premises and a certificate of participation to display inside," Mr McRae said.

"People will know at a glance which restaurants they can go to, which hotels are accessible, and which shops will meet their needs."

The Minister said with their direct relationship with local people and business, local governments were in the ideal position to create truly inclusive communities.

"Local governments are the engine room for 'You're Welcome' and I have no doubt everyone will get on board with the sort of drive and commitment that so characterises Western Australian local government authorities," he said.

"I would like to commend the untiring commitment and professionalism of the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), which has been a partner from the outset in developing 'You're Welcome'.

WALGA will administer the program.

Minister's Office - 9213 7150