- Attitudes and behaviours - The attitudes and behaviours of the general community towards people with disability have been described as the single greatest barrier to full access and inclusion. Attitudes and behaviour permeate all aspects of life. Consultation to date has identified that attitudes towards people with disability are often determined by ignorance, fear or lack of opportunity to interact. Developing positive attitudes involves increasing awareness and changing negative perceptions over time. This is a long term goal that may need to be dealt with in stages.
- Liveable communities - Creating liveable communities will focus attention and resources on the elements of community life that most people desire. Creating liveable communities for people with disability is more than modifying the physical environment, it covers areas such as accessible housing, access to transport, community recreation, social engagement and universal design.
- Employment - Employment and economic security for most people are closely related. Employment contributes to feelings of self-worth, social interaction and mental health, and increases opportunities to support individual choice and control. Employment rates for people with disability are significantly lower than those without disability across all sectors. People with disability experience multiple barriers at all stages of the employment process, ranging from inaccessible interview venues, lack of reasonable adjustments to the work environment, poor career planning opportunities, rigid role descriptions and online testing that may place applicants at a disadvantage. These factors reduce their opportunities to gain and retain employment. While there are many aspects to consider in executing a diversity and inclusion employment agenda, most benefit will come from taking an ‘inclusion by design’ approach. That is, employers and managers will maximise their ability to employ and retain a diverse workforce if they build inclusion into work design, workforce strategy and system-level decision making (as opposed to simply making reasonable adjustments to accommodate persons with disability on a case-by-case basis).
- Systems and processes - A common issue for people with disability is the difficulty in navigating systems and processes to access the services and supports they need in the community. Some of these difficulties stem from the quality of service and training of front line personnel, the systems and processes required to access services, and the lack of accessible options for communicating, accessing information or providing input or feedback. There is often confusion about what services are provided across the three levels of government, and there is frequent repetition of information to be provided to public authorities and services.
What is a Disability Inclusion Action Plan?
Each council needs to determine how to best address the needs of people with disability in their community. Under the NSW Disability Inclusion Act (2014), Councils must have in place plans which outline the ways they are working to support inclusion of people with disability.
Lake Macquarie City Council has had a Disability Action Plan in place since 2006. The new Disability Inclusion Plan 2021 - 2025 will be developed in accordance with NSW guidelines and focus on four key areas: attitudes and behaviours, liveable communities, employment, and systems and processes.
Who is the plan for?
The plan outlines to the Council what work they are committing to over the next four years, and shows the community what action they can expect to see from us.
Access and inclusion is important for everyone in the community – not just people with disability. Everyone benefits from accessible community spaces and inclusive practices. People who are aging, families with prams, injured sports people all benefit from physical improvements. People who have a vision impairment, hearing loss or learning difficulty benefit from easy to understand information and support tools.
What four areas does the Disability Inclusiuon Action Plan cover?
What will the plan do?
Lake Macquarie City Council is committed to inclusion of people with disability, and to building a strong and equitable community. We want to find ways to make Lake Mac a better place live, work and play – creating a liveable city for all.
The Plan will identify what Council needs to do to help people with disability feel and be more included in the community, and be able to access the same services, facilities and opportunities as everybody else. To get there, we need to hear from people with disability, carers and service providers about their experiences and ideas for change.
What is inclusion?
People with disability have the same human rights as people without disability. Attitudes, practices, and structures can create barriers to people with disability which can prevent them from having the same economic participation and social inclusion as others.
An inclusive society is about acceptance. It works to break down barriers, raise awareness and provide equal opportunities to everyone.