City of Lake Macquarie Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2017-2021 - page 4

Disability Inclusion Action Plan
Lake Macquarie City
Residents of Lake Macquarie enjoy an
enviable lifestyle. We are part of a thriving,
growing network of interconnected communities
who live among cherished natural environments
and vibrant urban spaces. We are also a
City that values inclusion. In the words of
our newly adopted City Vision – written and
informed by our community – we are a City
that “strives to be fair to all”.
I am proud to present Council’s Disability
Inclusion Plan 2017-2021, which continues Lake
Macquarie’s journey to being an accessible and
inclusive City that is responsive to the needs
of its residents.
The number of people living with disability
in Lake Macquarie is relatively high, so it is
imperative that our planning, services and
activities accommodate their rights and needs.
Census figures show more than 11,500 people in
our City need assistance with self-care, mobility
or communication. This represents 6.1 per cent
of our population, which is above the NSW
average of 4.9 per cent. Many others live with
incapacities which, while perhaps less severe,
still present challenges to their participation in
everyday activities.
Accessibility and inclusion will become more
important as our population grows older,
because the prevalence of disability increases
with age. As a popular retirement destination,
Lake Macquarie City has a significant older
population, with one quarter of our residents
over the age of 60.
Our City was a trial site for the National Disability
Insurance Scheme, which has made profound
changes to the lives of thousands of people in
our community, allowing them more choice
and control over their lives. Through this
Disability Inclusion Action Plan, Council will
continue that momentum of positive change,
implementing strategies at a local government
level that complement state and federal
government initiatives.
In developing this Plan, we asked the
community to share their ideas on ways Council
could make it easier for people with disability
to live in Lake Macquarie. The engagement
process involved conversations with local service
providers, people with disability, carers, high
school students, Council’s Ageing and Disability
Panel and stakeholder groups including the
Hunter Disability Network.
Among the suggestions they came up with
were social hubs for young people, improved
wheelchair access to beaches and community
buildings, and the development of an app that
puts information about accessibility at local
events and facilities at the user’s fingertips. We
also received feedback on the need to enhance
employment, volunteering and networking
opportunities for people in our community who
are living with disability.
These ideas have been absorbed into the
strategies and actions articulated at the end of
this draft Plan. These priorities will direct our
efforts over the next four years to become a
more accessible and inclusive City in which all
residents can participate actively and equally.
Cr Kay Fraser
Mayor of Lake Macquarie
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