City of Lake Macquarie Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2017-2021 - page 5

Disability Inclusion Action Plan
Lake Macquarie City
The Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2017-2021
is an integral part of the planning framework
of Lake Macquarie City Council. It will guide
the strategies we develop and the actions we
take over the next four years, to ensure they
meet our commitment to being a City that is
inclusive and accessible for all residents.
Council has responsibilities under state
and national legislation, and internationally
under the conventions of the United Nations,
to ensure we are proactive in removing barriers
that can prevent people with disability from
participating fully in City life.
However, our commitment to being an
inclusive City runs much deeper than fulfilling
a legislative responsibility. It is about creating a
fair society and meeting the expectations of our
community, who have confirmed through our
extensive community engagement process that
they consider accessibility and equal opportunity
to be key priorities.
The Disability Inclusion Action Plan will be
an important component of Council’s new
Community Strategic Plan, to be developed in
the first half of 2017. It will inform our Delivery
Program, Operational Plan and other
planning strategies.
The Plan will ensure inclusion is a fundamental
aspect of future decision-making by Council,
whether we are building amenities, developing
services or planning community activities. It will
further instil the principles of inclusion in our
organisational culture at Lake Macquarie City
Council; reinforcing the role of every employee
to identify and address barriers to participation.
Council has been developing disability action
plans since 1999 and has made some significant
advances during that time. We established an
Ageing and Disability Panel in 2010. We have
upgraded and constructed new facilities to
improve accessibility at community centres,
holiday parks, libraries, swim centres, surf clubs,
boat ramps and beaches, as well as at the City
Administrative Centre and Art Gallery. We have
increased accessibility of car parks, toilet blocks
and pathways, including the Fernleigh Track, and
built an award-winning all-abilities playground at
Speers Point Park that is a major City drawcard
and has been emulated around the country.
The Disability Inclusion Action Plan will continue
to steer inclusive strategic planning with
emphasis on four focus areas: attitudes and
behaviours; liveable communities; employment;
and systems and processes. It will help Council
identify deficiencies and opportunities in each
focus area and set benchmarks to strive for over
the next four years.
As a Council, we must also be an advocate for
inclusion, and this Plan outlines actions we can
take to foster positive change in attitudes and
awareness. These include working with business
to increase employment options, ensuring public
events are accessible and inclusive, and using
Council’s communication networks to raise the
profile of people with disability.
We can all play a part in making it easier for
people with disability to live, work and visit our
City. This Plan empowers Council to take a
leadership role in making Lake Macquarie a
community that embraces diversity and
equal opportunity.
Brian Bell
General Manager
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