Council considers accessibility framework
Published on 09 December 2020
The City of Launceston will this week consider the formal adoption of an 'Access Framework for Action', a strategic framework aimed at improving accessibility and inclusion in Launceston. According a 2016 survey, more than 4000 Launceston residents indicated they needed help with core daily activities due to disability. This equated to 6.4 per cent of the municipality's population, with a further 11 per cent of the population providing unpaid caring assistance.
Should the City of Launceston adopt the Access Framework for Action at this week's Council meeting, work will begin on the development of an implementation framework. The draft accessibility framework is the first of its kind in Tasmania's local government sector, and explores accessibility in relation to sport, public transport, the built environment, and more.
It includes case study profiles of six Launceston residents living with a disability, including Greg Mallett, who is vision impaired. It sets out five key commitment areas where the City of Launceston believes it can play a key role:
● Our inclusive community.
● Access to public spaces and buildings.
● Access to employment and education.
● Access to transport.
● Access to the arts and events.
The draft Access Framework for Action aligns with the State Government's Accessible Island Strategy, and lays out three ways in which the Council can play a role in improving accessibility and inclusivity in Launceston:
● Leading - Where the Council is the responsible authority for implementing an action, or leading a strategic direction or regulating certain conditions.
● Facilitating - Where the Council can work with strategic partners and stakeholders to progress an action.
● Advocating - Where the Council doesn't have control or authority for implementing an action but can advocate to other levels of government to assist in the delivery of that action.
This could also include advocating for funding to enable an action for which the Council is the lead, but which may not be adequately resourced. Deputy Mayor Danny Gibson said improving accessibility and inclusion would improve the lives of many Launceston residents.
"This framework is about how we can work as a Council to ensure the best possible life outcomes for all of our residents with a disability, as well as those caring for people with disabilities," Deputy Mayor Gibson said.
"While we already do much work in the area of accessibility and inclusivity, a draft strategic framework will ensure we have clear direction and the opportunity to develop a dedicated implementation plan based on our shared objectives.
"I'm very much looking forward to the discussion on this item at this week's Council meeting, because this is something that impacts so many people in Northern Tasmania."
The Council's Access Committee chair Cr Andrea Dawkins said the endorsement of a strategic framework would allow the organisation to build on the work it had already undertaken in this area.
"A framework will allow us to better align our strategies, actions, goals, and future decision-making to ensure we are building a Launceston we can all be proud of, and one where all voices are heard," Cr Dawkins said.
"This will be the first step on a longer journey, and it's a journey our community can take together should this draft framework be endorsed."
Photo caption: City of Launceston Access Advisory Committee Chair Andrea Dawkins, framework participant Greg Mallett, and Deputy Mayor Danny Gibson.