Celebrate inclusion on International Day of People with Disability

03 Dec 2021

City of Newcastle is calling for comment on its new draft Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) as part of its commitment to creating an accessible and inclusive community.

City of Newcastle Interim Director Strategy and Engagement Kathleen Hyland said International Day of People with Disability was the perfect time to reflect on key achievements of Newcastle's inaugural DIAP and ask the community for their input on the updated Plan.

"Today we celebrate the progress made through the 2016 DIAP, including the establishment of the Access Inclusion Advisory Committee," Ms Hyland said.

"I'd like to thank our Access Inclusion Advisory Committee members for their hard work and support of our plan to ensure Newcastle is an inclusive community.

"It's now time for the broader community to provide input into the new draft 2021 DIAP, which sets the direction and outlines key actions to be implemented over the coming years to ensure our services and programs are accessible for everyone.

"City of Newcastle remains committed to ensuring our city is inclusive for all who live, visit and work here, by leading action towards a more equitable society."

Image: Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Interim Director Strategy and Engagement Kathleen Hyland with members of the Access Inclusion Advisory Committee Eliot Shaw, Chris Leishman, Kirsty Russell and Tracy Walker, community representatives and City of Newcastle staff members.

City of Newcastle was the first Council in New South Wales to adopt a DIAP under the current legislation, which saw 55 of 57 actions significantly progressed or completed across the four-year period from 2016 to 2020.

Positive outcomes from the first plan include:

  • the establishment of the Access Inclusion Advisory Committee to ensure decisions are informed by direct consultation with people with lived experience with disabilities.
  • the establishment of Newcastle’s Count Us In festival to raise the profile of disability inclusion across the city.
  • the inclusion of people with a disability in the consultative processes, including provided input into or co-design of major projects by City of Newcastle. Examples include the planned revitalisation of Newcastle Ocean Baths, inclusive play spaces for Stevenson Park and Harbour Foreshore and access improvements such as lift and change facilities at Nobbys Beach and Newcastle Museum.
  • support ahead of the International Deaf Games 2022.
  • increase in accessible format programming at CN cultural facilities for people with disability.
  • continued access improvements in public domain and local centres planning.

Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable future is this years’ theme for International Day of People with Disability. Community engagement to develop the 2021 DIAP included in-person consultation sessions, focus groups survey as well as internal consultation with CN areas such as facilities, services, human resources and project planning divisions.

Under the new DIAP, 35 new actions will be carried out to achieve the community's vision for Newcastle in line with the City's Community Strategic Plan and pave the way for City of Newcastle to become a more inclusive organisation.

Accessible and easy-read versions of the draft DIAP are available for comment until Monday 10 January 2022. Feedback can be made online at newcastle.nsw.gov.au/yoursay

Committee members include Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's Nathan Burford, Community Disability Alliance Hunter's Joseph Popov, Maroba Communities' Tracy Walker, community representatives Chris Leishman, Kirsty Russell, Eliot Shaw and Margaret Wood, and Councillors Carol Duncan and Andrea Rufo. Former committee members include Cath Mahony from Community Disability Alliance Hunter and community representative Norm MacPherson.