Planning for a more inclusive future

Creating a liveable community: Bri Hankin, 18, whose artwork has been used to illustrate the new Georges River Council Disability Inclusion Action Plan which was launched yesterday. Picture: John Veage

Creating a liveable community: Bri Hankin, 18, whose artwork has been used to illustrate the new Georges River Council Disability Inclusion Action Plan which was launched yesterday. Picture: John Veage

The St George region will become a more liveable and accessible space for more than 6000 people with a disability following the launch of Georges River Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

For 18-year-old Bri Hankin, who is vision impaired, the plan means that life will be more inclusive with improved access to buildings and services in the future.

Bri, who graduated from Moorefield Girls High School last year, had a unique role to play in the final published version of the plan.

She was chosen to provide the artwork including the cover for the official 24-page plan published by Georges River Council.

It was the second time her artwork has been used by Georges River Council.

Last year she provide artwork to be used on coffee mugs for a domestic violence awareness campaign run by the council.

Bri said the launch of Disability Inclusion Action Plan means that many things will start to change for thousands of local people.

“It will make things more accessible for people living with disability in the Georges River local government area,” she said.

The plan will go one step further and offer more support for the carers and families and 12,600 people in the Georges River area who provide assistance to people with disability.

The Disability Inclusion Action Plan outlines how the council will make the local area a more liveable place for the more than 6000 people in the area who have a disability.

This includes making council services, activities, events, buildings and facilities more accessible and ensuring everyone can enjoy the benefits the local area has to offer.

The plan follows the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the NSW Disability Inclusion Act of 2014 which requires all government agencies, including local councils, to develop a DIAP.

The council consulted with the community to find out what people wanted the plan to incorporate.

The community input told the council what was needed to make the area more liveable for everyone.

The plan was launched yesterday by Georges River Council administrator John Rayner and NSW Minister for Multiculturalism and Disability Services Ray Williams.

Mr Williams said the plan would help steer Georges River Council on a clear path to towards building a more inclusive community.

“No longer will it be acceptable that people with disability are left in institutions. They are very much part of our community,” he said.

Mr Rayner said the council believes that all people have the right to exercise personal choice to live full and meaningful lives.

“In order to make this possible as a community we need to reduce the physical and attitudinal barriers that many people face  in participating and contributing to our community.”

The council has allocated $500,000 of its funds for accessibility and inclusion projects in its 2017-18 budget.

In addition, a $6 million program starts this year to improve to provide accessible facilities and cater for the growing number of women participating in sport. This will be funded by the NSW Government Stronger Communities Fund and the council.

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