New plan to ensure Newcastle is an inclusive community for all

21 Oct 2021

City of Newcastle has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring Newcastle is an inclusive community via an updated Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) to be presented to Councillors at Tuesday's Council Meeting.

Councillor Carol Duncan, who is a member of the City’s Access Inclusion Advisory Committee, said that City of Newcastle's DIAP helps ensure that people living with disability can access services and facilities.

"City of Newcastle is committed to making our city more liveable for all people who live, visit and work in Newcastle by taking action that will lead to a more inclusive and equitable society," Cr Duncan said.

"An estimated 30,000 Novocastrians are living with a disability and the DIAP acts as a roadmap to guide City of Newcastle’s actions and establish strategies to ensure Newcastle is an inclusive community for all.

"City of Newcastle’s first DIAP achieved many positive outcomes including the establishment of the Access Inclusion Advisory Committee to provide people with disabilities a stronger voice to Council. Committee members have also been consulted and co-designed a number of major projects for the City of Newcastle including the planned revitalisation of Newcastle Ocean Baths, and inclusive play spaces for Stevenson Park and Harbour Foreshore.

"The DIAP and the Advisory Committee have initiated the establishment of the inclusive Count Us In Festival and improved accessibility to Nobbys Beach and Newcastle Museum through the installation of an adult lift and change facilities.

"I look forward to the achievements that will come to fruition as a result of the new DIAP over the coming years and thank the community members who participated in the consultation which informed the new Plan."

The City's first DIAP 2016-2019, was developed in 2016 and included 57 actions, of which 55 were significantly progressed or completed across the four-year period.

Community engagement including in person consultation sessions, focus groups, online survey and staff consultation was undertaken to guide the development of the DIAP 2021-2025.

Under the new DIAP, key 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 by championing inclusion.

Actions and strategies presented in the draft DIAP 2021-2015 are categorised within four themes prescribed by the NSW Disability Inclusion Act including Attitudes and Behaviours, Liveable Communities, Systems and Processes and Employment.

On Tuesday night Councillors will vote to place the DIAP on public exhibition throughout November. Accessible and easy-read versions of the draft DIAP will be available for comment during the public exhibition period.

Highlights achieved as a result of the DIAP 2016-2019:

  • Establishment of the Access Inclusion Advisory Committee
  • Count Us In Festival, a month-long program of events and activities focussed on disability inclusion
  • Installation of accessible adult lift and change facilities at Nobbys Beach and Newcastle Museum
  • Access Inclusion Advisory Committee co-design of major projects
  • Inclusive design and consultation incorporated in City of Newcastle's Local Centres Upgrade Program
  • Inclusion of accessible activities in events at New Year’s Eve celebrations
  • Training provided to external event organisers on how to run inclusive events
  • Disability awareness staff training to create more accessible content, programs and built environments
  • Delivery of new and improved infrastructure in the public domain, including accessible and inclusive playground features
  • Facilities improvements, such as the introduction of wedge mats for better seating options at Civic Theatre for wheelchair users and improved access to City Hall via automatic doors
  • Improved program planning and inclusive customer service delivery at City of Newcastle facilities including Newcastle Art Gallery, Libraries, Newcastle Museum and Civic Theatre
  • Data sharing to assist with better orientation and mobility across the city
  • Online map of accessible parking published on City of Newcastle website
  • Development of an Inclusive Sports and Cultural Activities Guide