Cairns residents with a disability made their voices heard on the future of accessibility in the region at yesterday’s Making Cairns More Inclusive meeting, organised by Spinal Life Australia.
The meeting saw community members and local organisations meet with representatives from Cairns Regional Council to discuss the future of accessibility and inclusion in the region.
Spinal Life member Don Tennant said he was hopeful Cairns could grow into a more welcoming place for other people with a disability.
“I love Cairns and it’s improving all the time but when it comes to accessibility, we still have a long way to go,” he said.
“It’s an older city but it’s time to move the region forward, especially with the NDIS providing people with disability more opportunities to interact with the community.”
Spinal Life’s Chief Advisor – Government John Mayo said the meeting examined how the Council’s future projects will be inclusive of people with disabilities and the aged and the value of keeping Cairns inclusive and welcoming.“An accessible, user-friendly Cairns would enable the region to share in more of the $10.8 billion spent each year by tourists with a disability around Australia,” Mr Mayo said.
“When you’re working at building an inclusive community, it’s important to be able to listen to the people who are affected most.”
At the meeting, Council representatives announced future accessibility initiatives including:
- Accessibility issues to be rectified at Tobruk Pool
- An innovative accessible change room to be installed at Woree Pool
- Portable accessible toilets used for the Commonwealth Games to be available at future Cairns outdoor events
- Further collaboration and consultation between Council and community organisations to ensure appropriate inclusivity.
Mr Mayo said Spinal Life Australia would be contributing long-term to Cairn’s accessibility with the upcoming construction of a $12 million Cairns Healthy Living Centre.
The Centre will include accessible accommodation, therapy rooms, a rehabilitation gym and training areas useable by people with a physical disability.
Construction is scheduled to start later this year, for more information visit www.spinal.com.au/our-expansion.