Putting people first in disability responsive design

Published on 29 November 2023

Three men running on an athletics track.

Listening and empowerment are at the heart of Kingston’s blueprint for improving the lives of those living with disability.

Developed with a team of 16 local people who either have a disability or care for someone with a disability, the four-year draft All-Abilities Action Plan focuses on four key priority areas:

  • Changing attitudes and caring communication
  • Healthy and active lifestyle
  • Getting around Kingston
  • Participating in the workforce

Among the 31 actions identified in the plan are initiatives such as increasing the number of people with disability employed by the City of Kingston, the establishment of a disability access and inclusion consultative forum, embedding universal design principles in all capital projects, increasing the network of changing places facilities, working with local traders to implement a Good Access is Good Business program, and the rollout of the Hidden Disability Sunflower program.

Kingston Mayor Jenna Davey-Burns said she was deeply proud of the approach to put people’s voices at the centre of the process, which means we have a plan that was importantly designed with people rather than for people.

“The courageous, passionate, and forthright contributions of our lived experience team have gifted us a very real and honest plan,” Cr Davey-Burns said.

“Vitally the team’s various backgrounds within the local community have ensured there were many and varied opportunities for local people to have an input. Careful consultation has given a voice to people living with all forms of disability, including those with more severe or profound disability who often experience paternalistic and disempowering approaches to design.”

Longbeach Ward Councillor Georgina Oxley said we've heard from our community that they want an inclusive Kingston for everyone.

“From safe and accessible pathways to inclusive playgrounds and parks, our vision is a Kingston where everyone is valued and included to contribute and enjoy our wonderful community,” Cr Oxley said. 

Yammerbrook Ward Councillor Tamsin Bearsley said living with disability shouldn't be a barrier to accessing our community, our services, our facilities, and our outdoor spaces.

“That's why it’s essential to put our all-abilities community at the centre of our planning and designs,” Cr Bearsley said.

Mayor Davey-Burns said this is a whole-of-Council plan that will strengthen existing community partnerships and lead to the development of new alliances.

“Now that our experts with lived experience have shaped this strategy, it is time to check back in again with our whole community to make sure we capture any final points to make this a truly inclusive process. Please take the time to read it and provide your feedback,” Cr Davey-Burns said.

The vision for the plan developed by the co-design team is:

As a person with a disability in Kingston I feel valued and included and can contribute to my community. I have the freedom to access what I need, when I need it, without feeling vulnerable, because I live in a community where diversity is seen as a strength, and accessibility and inclusion benefit everyone.’

To view the draft action plan and have your say head to yourkingstonyoursay.com.au/draft-all-abilities-action-plan before 5 February 2024.


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