Disability group will be created to advise Murray Bridge council

The formation of a new advisory group is one recommendation from a draft access and inclusion plan for the district.

Murray Bridge residents with disability will be invited to join a new advisory group under a plan to better include them in the community.

The access and inclusion advisory group will guide the city’s council on issues that affect people with disability, carers, service providers and others.

Creation of the group is one of the key recommendations of a disability access and inclusion plan drafted by the council.

Under the plan, the council will also:

  • Review community transport options for people with disability

  • Seek to employ more people with disability

  • Train its staff and councillors in disability awareness and valuing

  • Produce simple, easy-to-read brochures and forms

  • Publish more information about accessibility to public facilities, and improve facilities which are not accessible

  • Establish a register of service providers and individuals who can advocate for people with disability

Other initiatives will continue under the plan, including an annual awards ceremony held on the International Day of People with a Disability and the large print and other services available at Murray Bridge Library.

The council is seeking public feedback on the draft plan between this week and September 1.

Community services manager Reg Budarick said the council wanted people living with a disability to feel welcome and engaged in community life.

Almost one in five Australians lives with disability

At a meeting on Monday night, as councillors approved the draft plan, Cr Karen Eckermann said it would be good if the council could get a better idea of how many people in the community lived with disability, and what their needs were.

Chief executive officer Michael Sedgman said staff would try to find out, perhaps by reviewing census data or conducting a survey.

For the record, 4.4 million Australians – almost one in five – was living with disability in 2018, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

If Murray Bridge’s population reflected the national average, that would mean about 3900 people in the district were living with disability.

The council was required to develop a disability inclusion plan for the district under a state law passed in 2018, the Disability Inclusion Act.

Parts of the plan came from the council’s own accessibility action plan, which it had already adopted a year earlier.

Photo: Rural City of Murray Bridge.