Access Insight - June/July 2020

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JUNE / JULY 2020

The Great Outdoors

Kalbarri National Park and the Kalbarri Skywalk Take a Hike: How to Access the Impossible People, Pandemics and Premises Grow Bold with Disability Announces Season Two Australia’s first communication accessible campsite Access in NSW National Parks: a best practice example Age and Dementia Friendly Outdoor Spaces


IN THIS ISSUE From the President’s Desk....................................................... 3 ACAA MATTERS: Congratulations from the Committee of Management............. 5 2020-2021 Membership Certificates..................................... 5 Celebrating 20 Editions in Spring 2020!................................. 6 Managing your Events and CPD............................................. 7 Take a Hike – How to Access the Impossible When Every Mountain is a Boundary!......................................................... 10



People, Pandemics and Premises.......................................... 16

Contact: ACAA SA Chairperson Grant Wooller

YMCA Camp Manyung and Scope create Australia’s first communication accessible campsite...................................... 20


Grow Bold with Disability Announces Season Two.................... 24

Contact: ACAA QLD Chairperson Angela Chambers

Access in NSW National Parks: a best practice example of Edward River Bridge’s canoe and kayak launch....................... 28


Age and Dementia Friendly Outdoor Spaces........................... 32 Review................................................................................. 37

Contact: ACAA VIC Secretary Mr Paul Eltringham

Kalbarri National Park and the Kalbarri Skywalk....................... 38


International Insights: The Great Outdoors.............................. 42

Contact: ACAA WA Chairperson Anita Harrop

ACAA COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT PRESIDENT: Mr Mark Relf AM VICE PRESIDENT: Ms Lindsay Perry Address: 20 Maud Street, Geelong VIC 3220 Email:

Phone: +61 3 5221 2820 Web:


Anita Harrop

June / July 2020 Issue Cover photo credit: iStockphoto Please email the Editor if you would like to showcase your project on the Cover of the next Access Insight



SECRETARY: Mrs Anita Harrop TREASURER: Mr Howard Moutrie ORDINARY MEMBERS: Ms Cathryn Grant Ms Claire Cunningham Mr Francis Lenny Mr Dale Sheppard


President of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia

ABCB NATIONAL REGISTRATION FRAMEWORK FOR BUILDING PRACTITIONERS Overview & ACAA Members Survey The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) Discussion Paper on the draft National Registration Framework for Building Practitioners (NRF) has developed a best practice model for adoption by state and territory governments that includes a wide range of professions that are involved in design, construction, compliance and coordination roles for the design and construction of buildings. The draft NRF includes Disability Access Designers. The Discussion Paper is the first step in the process of developing a suitable model framework for parallel adoption by state and territory governments. The draft National Registration Framework for Building Practitioners (NRF) has been developed in response to recommendations 1 and 2 of Building Confidence Report (BCR), authored by Sheargold & Weir which was endorsed by the Building Ministers Forum (BMF) in 2017. Initially, the BCR focussed on the standard of construction of buildings and plumbing work. However, the scope of practitioners has expanded to include Disability Access Designers and Energy Efficiency following feedback from the Subject Matter Experts group.

Recommendation 1: That each jurisdiction requires the registration of the following categories of building practitioners involved in the design, construction and maintenance of buildings: • Builder • Site or Project Manager • Building Surveyor • Building Inspector

• Architect • Engineer • Designer/Draftsperson • Plumber • Fire Safety Practitioner

Recommendation 2: That each jurisdiction prescribes consistent requirements for the registration of building practitioners including: • certificated training which includes compulsory training on the operation and use of the NCC as it applies to each category of registration; • additional competency and experience requirements; • where it is available, compulsory insurance in the form of professional indemnity and/or warranty insurance together with financial viability requirements where appropriate; and • evidence of practitioner integrity, based on an assessment of fit-and-proper person requirements. The Discussion Paper covers a range of topics: • Qualifications as described within the Australian Qualification Framework • Experience of work history beyond initial attainment of a qualification • Accreditation of suitable courses • Qualified registration by categories for individual discipline and level • Endorsements for specialist training and work experience • Grandfathering – while grandfathering is outside the scope of the NRF it is envisaged that mutual recognition principles will cover this issue including Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

June / July 2020


FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK States and territories may utilise grandfathering during transition from a void in established systems to be suitable within the NRF. • Mutual recognition of qualifications/ registration of individuals for permitted work between state and territory governments is essential for a national framework. • Industry Accreditation Schemes. A number of industry bodies operate accreditation schemes that identify people who are competent to do work in specified disciplines or special areas of expertise. Such accreditation schemes can be referenced by states and territories, either as part of a legislated registration scheme or as a regulatory tool.

“To be both nationally effective and consistent, the NRF assumes each state and territory will reference industry accreditation schemes within the context of a legislated registration scheme. Legislation is necessary to ensure that the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cwlth) applies consistently and to ensure that regulators have the necessary powers to investigate offences and disciplinary matters and to prosecute offenders.” • Good character expectations the registration is limited to individuals who have not been convicted of any offence in any jurisdiction. • Offences covers the necessity for individuals to work within their area of qualification and registration category. Taxonomy and Scope of Permitted Work The Discussion Paper is unclear as to what the precise scope of work for Disability Access Designers is as one section indicates Parts D, E, F, H of NCC volume 1 for building classes 2 to 9 that contain disability access requirements while another section specifies “all NCC Building classes”, which presumably is, and more aptly, classes 1 to 10. The Taxonomy also notes that Disability Access Designers are permitted to provide performance solutions and deemed to satisfy access designs for all relevant buildings of any size. The taxonomy matrix raises two issues: • NCC training and approved NCC training which 4

does not explain what approved NCC training consists of and who approves, delivers and awards competencies. • 3 years experience without specifying whether it is full or part-time work as a Disability Access Designer/Consultant. While ACAA has sponsored and assisted in the development of core competencies and AQF courses at certificate IV, diploma and post graduate diploma the registered Training Organisation (RTO) becomes the initial gatekeeper for entry into the Access Consultant workspace prior to obtaining ACAA membership at Associate or Accredited category with the latter requiring a formal written test. It is hoped that state and territory governments will start with ACAA system of qualification, including allied qualifications and specialist training combined with work history and continuous professional development program as a base for due recognition of Access Consultants (Disability Access Designer) within a NRF. For my part the title of Disability Access Designer does not fully encompass Access Consulting and suggests we are designing for 20% of the population when the real aim is 100% in a universal and inclusive manner. The Sheargold & Weir BCR also noted:

We have consistently heard that the adequacy of design documentation is generally poor and that, on occasion, builders improvise, making decisions on matters which affect safety without independent oversight. This exacerbates disputes about the quality and compliance of building work. We have been told that oversight by licensing bodies, state and territory regulators and local governments can be weak due either to inadequate funding or a lack of skills and resources to undertake effective enforcement. We found that, until relatively recently, there has been almost no effective regulatory oversight of the commercial building industry by regulators. Those involved in high-rise construction have been left largely to their own devices. Where there has been supervision, this has generally been by private building surveyors whom critics argue are not independent from builders and/or designers.


ACAA MATTERS The building and construction industry needs to actively participate in lifting standards, competency and integrity if it is to produce safe and reliable buildings and continue to be an important driver of infrastructure development and economic growth. The Discussion Paper needs your input to ensure a best match between ideals, reality and practicality. Please respond to the ACAA member NRF survey and don’t miss the ACAA CPD Webinar on 30th July. ACAA will be making a submission to the ABCB and individual members are encouraged to respond to the ABCB by using the online response form CLICK HERE Responses to questions on the ABCB discussion paper, outlined in the consultation form, are invited until 11:59PM AEST Sunday 23 August 2020. Only comments submitted using the online form will be considered. CLICK HERE for a complete set of the Discussion Paper and related documents.

Mark Relf AM

Congratulations from the Committee of Management The ACAA Committee of Management warmly welcomes the following people who have joined ACAA or upgraded their membership:

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS • Kin (Kenny) Cheah • Jenna Fivelman • Boris Krastev AFFILIATE MEMBERS • Morwenna Collett • Wayne Hoadley • Michael Liem • Stephanie Loria • Andrew Stewart • Tony Truong • Kim Willoughby-Thomas

2020–2021 Membership Certificates ACAA Membership Certificates of Currency for 2020 - 2021 are available from 1 July 2020. Simply login to the ACAA website , main menu Your Account>Manage membership, click the My Subscriptions tab and Download

If you need technical assistance with this process, please contact the ACAA Support desk by email on, or for general enquiries contact

June / July 2020



Celebrating 20 Editions in Spring 2020!


s we look forward to celebrating our 20th edition of Access Insight in the Spring of 2020 I have taken the opportunity to look back over the preceding editions, at the wide variety of topics we have covered and the breadth of interest and experience of our access consultants and the people interested in and supporting the advancement of people with disability in our community. Topics have included those summarised below. I urge you to look back over the past editions of our Access Insight magazine and I can assure you, a gem of information, inspiration or perspective will be found. The archive can be found on our ACAA website, under the Communications tab, or click on the link - Access Insight Archive: • Housing and NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation • Assistive technology • Automatic parking systems • The Disability Rights and Access Movement in Australia • Bathrooms and toilet design • Accessible and inclusive tourism, recreation and accommodation • Professional report writing • Update on Australian Standards


• The Premises Standards and Universal Design • 25 years of the Disability Discrimination Act • International perspectives and best practice • Inclusive play and playgrounds • Designing for ageing communities and dementia design • Access and the Education sector, tertiary, secondary, primary and childcare • Accessible public transport • Fire and life safety • Hearing augmentation • The ins and outs of doors • Beach and swimming pool access • Access considerations and practices inclusive of people with autism Enjoy this edition of Access Insight, with a variety of contributions around the theme of The Great Outdoors! As we look ahead, the ACAA will be moving to quarterly publications of Access Insight, based on our Australian seasons, starting in September with our Spring Edition. Contributions are welcome from all our membership and don’t forget, you will earn 1 CPD Point for each 250 words contributed.

Anita Harrop Editor, Access Insight



Managing your Events and CPD


he ACAA website has many built-in and automated or partially automated functions allowing you to manage your ACAA event attendances and Continuing Professional Development. In this article, I will take you through some of the procedures for managing your Events and CPD.

EVENTS You can register and pay for ACAA events on the website (using a credit card for paid events). To view upcoming events, go to: Site > Communications > ACAA events on this link https://access.asn. au/accessibility-communications/accessibility-events You will see all upcoming ACAA events that are public. For member only or committee meetings, and so on, you need to log in and view the same page and the non public events will also now appear on the page. To register for an event, click on the Register button at the bottom of the listing and it will take you to the Registration page.

On the registration page, you will be required to enter your login details or create a new account if you have never used the ACAA site before. Once logged in, many fields in the form will auto populate from your site profile and any discounts applicable to ACAA members will automatically appear in the financial section of the form. If you are a current ACAA member, your membership is up to date and the Members discounts do not appear for you, please contact us on to correct the issue for you before proceeding with the event registration.

EVENT CERTIFICATES After an event has occurred, event attendees will be checked in and their certificates will now auto populate in their event records. This may take a few days depending on workload for state committee members and the ACAA office. If you registered for an event but did not attend, you will not be checked in and your certificate will not be issued. To view or download event invoices, tickets or certificates, please LOG IN to the site then go to Site > Your Account > Manage Events on this link There you will see a history of the ACAA events you have booked and paid for along with links to previous invoices, tickets and certificates which are available for download in PDF format.

June / July 2020



If you cannot see the relevant records or downloads in your history, please ask us to investigate for you by emailing

CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT To read about the CPD Program please go to Site > Membership > Career Pathways > Continuing Professional Development on this link continuing-professional-development This page has the latest information on the CPD Program including Points Criteria and Activities and links to the pages for you to submit and manage your CPD records.

When you have attended an ACAA event, your CPD points will be transferred to the CPD portal for you. For any other external event or activity that you attend and want to record against your CPD records, you must submit an individual or annual return by logging in to the Site and going to Site > Your Account > Manage CPD > Submit a CPD activity return on this link manage-cpd/submit-a-cpd-activity-return 8


ACAA MATTERS Once you fill in this form and upload any supporting evidence, the CPD convener will review your submission and either approve it, ask for further clarification or evidence or not approve it. To view all your submissions and their latest status, please log in to the site and go to Site > Your Account > Manage CPD > Your CPD Listings on this link manage-cpd/your-cpd Here, you can see a list of all your submissions, their status and click on the Activity Name to view the full item or click on the edit button if you need to submit more information.

We highly recommend entering CPD submissions individually after they have occurred as it is easier to track your CPD through the year this way and see if you need to do more activities to meet your Accreditation requirements. It is also easier to upload the supporting documents when they hit your inbox rather than have to look for a whole year all in one hit. If you choose to enter an annual return, please only enter it for one year at a time and make sure all activity completion dates fall within the 1 July – 30 June period for that financial year. If more than one year’s activities are recorded in a single submission, you will be requested to resubmit them correctly. If you need help with your CPD submissions or listings, please reach out to us by emailing In our next Access Insight, we will be covering the Mentoring portal. Warm regards and happy web browsing.

Jacqui Blanch ACAA webmaster

June / July 2020



Take a Hike – How to Access the Impossible When Every Mountain is a Boundary! by Andrew Liddawi

With a background in Engineering, Security Consulting and qualifications in Access Consulting, Andrew’s combination with a lived disability takes his skills to a whole new level. A passionate adventurer prior to his disability, Andrew was confronted with all the barriers and boundaries you can think of. Rather than accept that the rough terrain was out of bounds he went on a journey that has led to a growing team of volunteers that helps other people with disabilities break their own boundaries in life.


ith the introduction of progressive Australian Standards and Legislation in 1992, and subsequently 2010 to curb out discrimination and insufficient access to services and facilities for people with disabilities, you would think a developed country would have it right more than 10 years on. Premises standards have improved significantly over the years resulting in a growing awareness of minimum design and structural requirements amongst the community and professionals. But what happens when the minimum is not enough? What happens when we venture into areas not directly covered by design standards but could possibly be argued by the DDA? Do we need to redefine terms such as “reasonable” and “necessary” when it comes to assistive technology and people’s agency? Is it possible to access public areas where the terrain is challenging while maintaining dignity and independence? What happens when people with disabilities want exercise their right to live their fullest life?


THE BEGINNING Break the Boundary Inc. challenges all these notions; a rapidly growing Australian Charity and WA Association which started in Perth late 2012 as an online information hub for people with disabilities wanting to go beyond flat surfaces and access the outdoor trails. Run 100% by volunteers, Break the Boundary helps people with disabilities venture into areas not typically considered accessible. The goal hasn’t changed from the start: to improve people’s mental, physical, and social health and wellbeing. The kind of things that everyone deserves in life! The goals are achieved by combining support personnel and assistive technology suitable to the challenges of outdoor terrain.

THE GEAR In 2012, after taking his everyday wheelchair down a gravel off-road trail with friends in Brisbane (at night), Break the Boundary founder, Andrew returned home with the burning desire to find a chair suitable to the terrain that would improve his independence and reduce the need for friends to push. After a few days of research, he came across a variety of off-road wheelchairs and handcycles capable of tackling the mountain trails he used to conquer before acquiring his disability. With the help of Rebound WA (Wheelchair Sports WA), the equipment started to grow in



numbers and diversity, allowing a wider range of people with mobility challenges to get away from the 1:14 concrete prisons of everyday city life and into Australia’s breathtaking bush.

THE STANDARDS Well... they do not exist when it comes to trails and anything outdoors not associated with a built structure that falls under the Premises Standards. Some attempts have been made in the USA and by some organisations around Australia, but still do not cover areas in the inner depths of forests and isolated trails.

CLASH OF THE TITANS Why haven’t outdoor standards been developed for the uneven terrain? The answer is as complex as the environment we are playing in – ground surfaces, gradients, cambers, distance, elevation, natural and man-made barriers and those pesky drop bears! How do you standardise something that changes from location to location? Another reason may be that the publicly accessible mountains, national parks and bush

Cape2CapeMTB. Photo Credit: Travis Deane June / July 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE masses are not deemed an ‘essential service’ or ‘necessary’ for the day-to-day life of someone with a disability. During COVID 19 lockdown in nearly all states and territories outdoor “exercise” was deemed an essential activity, so why would we not consider it essential when the world isn’t suffering from a pandemic? In Perth alone, people did everything they could within the restrictions to get out of their homes and become immersed in mother nature’s offerings. Family vehicles were lining the road verges to get a few hours of fresh air and social distancing from others. Then there are the clashes with other significant Acts and Regulations, including Environmental, Heritage and significant utilities (e.g. water catchment areas for drinking). Regulatory bodies may also cause a blurred line with accessibility for people using mobility aids by defining electronic assist units for adaptive bikes in terms of standard bikes and in some instances completely dispelling the use of non-foot related traffic on trails.

All factors are important and must be taken into consideration when advocating for accessibility in new trail development and nature-based destinations that aren’t covered by premises standards.

PROBLEM SOLVING To better address the needs of access in secluded and publicly open trails, Break the Boundary developed their own Adaptive Mountain Biking Guidelines, launched with the support of Mountain Bike Australia and the Queensland Government. The Guidelines cover a range of topics from Disability participation in sports, to trail construction recommendations for access by a range of adaptive cycles, to access management for events situated off-road and away from fixed amenities. Areas of accessibility considered in the guidelines include: • Information, signage and wayfinding • Toilets and bathroom amenities

Trail-rider with Perth Trail Series. Photo credit: Break the Boundary 12


FEATURED ARTICLE • Parking and walkways • End-of-trip and change facilities • Temporary adaptions to community events and races The guidelines also include a rating system developed to break down the accessibility criteria that make trails accessible for adaptive off-road bikes. The rating systems is based on a scale to better address the diversity of rider ability, equipment and experience. Current rating systems tend to fall short of providing enough detailed information for people with disabilities, typically taking the approach of “accessible” and “not accessible”.

THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER Having witnessed the time, energy and resources it takes to take a mountain bike or walking trail concept plan through to construction and commissioning, it is not a surprise as to why “additional” requirements for access take a back seat in planning and development. Access Consultants play a large advocacy role. The burden is on industry consultants and advocates to educate and influence the perceptions of others on how accessibility is NOT a silo requirement but rather an asset that can easily be integrated with mainstream designs that further the overall value of a project.

FOREST FROM THE TREES With all the challenges in providing accessibility in the off-road world, it’s easy for any Local Government or NGO to turn their focus onto other areas. Break the Boundary has embraced the challenge and despite all odds has found a solution. In late 2019 Australia’s first Adaptive Mountain Bike and Trail Walking Hub was constructed in the Perth Hills. Having only been formally established for less than 2 years, funding through traditional government, lottery and philanthropic streams were knocked back. Break the Boundary persisted and competed the facility with over 800 donated hours in labour and pro-bono work, totalling over $100k in value. From the foundations sand to the fire-rated shed itself, donations from local business and community members trickled in over 10 months to support the volunteer charity. Break the Boundary developed its own two-tier sponsorship program to help cover remaining costs that couldn’t be donated. Like-minded organisations such as Perth Trail Series and Outdoors WA jumped at the opportunity to gain

Standards are constantly changing and improving to meet the needs of the people it serves to protect. Our perceptions of what IS practical and possible should also shift with the change in people’s needs.

FAMILY Break the Boundary’s ethos is simple: Tools, Terrain and Attitude. All three components create a truly outdoor accessible environment with a focus on Attitude. Over the years Break the Boundary has encountered a range of people with varying disabilities, all with one thing in common; they want to belong. For some people it is their first time engaging with others in similar life predicaments, and for others it’s a thrill to be integrated with the larger population for a sense of normality.

AdaptiveMTBCamp. Chris from Geraldton cycling offroad for the first time. Photo credit: Kerry Halford June / July 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE exposure amongst members with disability and the wider community accessing the site which see’s over 40,000 visitors per year. Surplus funds raised will help to maintain the facility over the next 5 years with sponsorship opportunities still existing for the next 2-year period! The Adaptive Hub now houses 6 different adaptive mountain bikes for varying abilities, with a new adaptive trail walker making its way from Italy soon and Australia’s first Kids-sized off-road handcycle arriving later in the year. Fundraising efforts are also taking place to purchase a 4-wheeled joystick operated mountain bike hailing from France. Having all equipment in the heart of the forest not only provides access to trails within 30 metres of the hub but allows sustainable hiring and maintenance options for the future. The Adaptive Hub is 100% off-grid with solar power and rainwater storage. It is operated by a small handful of volunteers, some with permanent disabilities. From the workshop to the winching system, it is as accessible as it gets for a shed that’s turned into a community hub.

hundreds of West Australians to experience FREE adaptive one-on-one intro sessions and group clinics for both adaptive mountain biking and trail walking. All this is located within the Kalamunda Camel Farm which has a wheelchair-friendly raised platform for camel rides in the forest. Also adjacent to the Hub is Rock and Roll Mountain Biking that runs a range of services for standard mountain bikers and can cater for children and adults living with intellectual and mental health disabilities.

DEMAND AND DESIRE With COVID restrictions being lifted and disability service providers resuming full services, introduction clinics are kicking off on a weekly basis.

Parks and Wildlife Services WA and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries have come to the party with funding to allow

You can throw quantitative statistics in a grant application but how do you demonstrate the value in the community’s dedication to the programs? How do you quantify the shift in participants and family’s inner spirits? This article will not do the services and experiences justice, so you’ll just have to visit and witness the magic in person!

Photo credit: Gareth Andersen 14


June / July 2020



People, Pandemics and Premises by Joe Manton Director – Access Institute

Joe established one of the first access consultancy companies in Australia, Access Audits Australia (AAA), in 1993 and subsequently developed Access Institute a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that developed and delivers the only nationally recognised qualifications in access in Australia in both the Certificate IV and Diploma of Access Consulting. Her work focuses on both legislated access requirements as well as Universal Design. Joe and her team are highly sought after by many organisations, for their up to date access knowledge and advice across Australia, as well as overseas. Joe is also a member of the Industry Reference Group of Livable Housing Australia (LHA), and as well as Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She developed and delivers the Livable Housing Australia (LHA) Registered Assessors course as


espite the challenges presented to the whole community during the COVID 19 pandemic, much significant work has continued to progress regarding how we can make life for everyone more accessible, more inclusive, more productive and more enjoyable. In terms of the built environment and buildings in particular, 2020 has seen a variety of initiatives progress in a range of sectors, that will see governments across Australia build on an emerging understanding of the critical role that good access to the built environment plays in everyone’s lives. Clearly from a mobility perspective, the ability for people to access buildings and facilities as well as the external environment, means more people can participant in community life. Equally from a social and psychological perspective, the importance of considering the principles of Universal Design are 16

well as the Accredited Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Assessors course on behalf of NDIS. Joe also developed and delivers the Changing Places Assessors course, that incorporates the requirements for Accessible Adult Change Facilities in the new 2019 National Construction Code (NCC). Joe has undertaken access studies in Australia and the U.K. She is a qualified and Accredited Access Consultant and a Fellow of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia (ACAA). Joe leads a multi-disciplinary team of experienced and qualified access professionals and trainers who have extensive skills gained from both professional and personal experience in addressing a wide range of access issues. Joe and Access Institute are recipients of a range of awards relating to access and Universal Design training in the built environment. now being recognised and understood as critical building blocks for the mental health and wellbeing of all community members. For example, 2020 has seen the Australian Buildings Code Board (ABCB) publish the National Registration Framework for Building Practitioners Discussion Paper 2020, with recommendations that, if adopted, will recognise and reinforce the importance of the role that suitably qualified access consultants play in the design and certification of access requirements in buildings. Whilst the focus of this role is primarily about ensuring minimum compliance is achieved in buildings, it will also provide a basis from which skilled access consultants can raise the awareness of developers to the benefits and opportunities of incorporating the principles of Universal Design into developments of all scales and types.



Of course, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has introduced a range of initiatives including the Design Standard for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) to support the housing requirements of thousands of people with disabilities, who for far too long have been ignored. The inclusion of specific mandatory design criteria for more liveable housing in many states that support people to age in place, in their own homes, and the adoption of the LHA Design Guidelines by many developers and organisations, including those in both the private and public sector, have provided the building blocks for a real change in how our largest growing demographic - older adults - will be better able to maintain their independence and remain free from the need for supported accommodation as they age. The ABCB also released a new Guideline that addresses Performance Based approaches to implementing the National Construction Code (NCC), which will further enhance the awareness of the need for effective Performance Solutions, that adequately meet at least the minimum Deemed to Satisfy provisions of the NCC. These in fact, if used effectively and with vision, could enhance opportunities for more liveable buildings, thus future proofing these for many years to come. These initiatives will have long term positive impacts if they are supported, progressed and managed effectively and if the benefits and opportunities are recognised as a result of the actions taken. COVID 19 has highlighted a wide range of access issues that have not been considered in our minimum building access legislation, or in fact in much of our building design and open spaces, however, it has now clearly highlighted issues

for consideration moving forward. These considerations have a significant impact on the accessibility of buildings and facilities but also importantly on building user’s mental health. Long periods of lockdown and the need for social distancing has seen reactive responses to retrofitting the built environment in both buildings and outdoor spaces to control spread of the infection. Whilst it is clear that we must act swiftly, if is also clear that some changes are more difficult and require careful thought as they have placed a significant stress on community members. This highlights that if the principles of Universal Design had been considered in the design of the built environment, or even if effective implementation of minimum requirements for access had been undertaken, some of these stress triggers may have been significantly reduced. Some of these considerations relating to the design of the built environment include the following: • Lockdown of the social housing towers in Melbourne has meant that many residents have been unable to get out into the fresh air and in some instances are unable to open windows sufficiently to gain adequate fresh air. This is often the case with the design of hotels and similar buildings where lockdown has also occurred. • The design of the social housing towers does not often provide opportunities for people to see outside or enjoy a ‘view’ from a seated position, which restricts their sense of space and detrimentally impacts on mental health. • The need for plastic screens to be installed at customer service counters to reduce infection spread, has created barriers for people with hearing loss when trying to communicate with staff. June / July 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE • Wearing of masks makes lip reading impossible and muffles speech, making it harder to hear people when others are talking

• Many self-serve checkouts heights and circulation spaces associated with them are inaccessible for a person using a mobility aid.

• Lack of adequate symbols on some signage restricts information from being disseminated effectively to people who may have difficulty understanding English.

• Lack of audio alternatives to signs, including alternatives to Braille (that must be touched to be read), supports infection spread.

• Use of small text on written information and signage restricts access for people with vision loss. • The need to touch door handles, where door automation could be an option, has seen teams of cleaners march the streets to reduce infection control. • Narrow pathways, footpaths and internal corridors have made social distancing almost impossible in many areas such as strip shopping centres and residential footpaths. • Narrow shared pathways for pedestrians and cyclists with no capacity for social distancing has meant that significant limitations have been placed on safe exercise. • ‘Takeaway only’ from cafes has seen an increase in ‘hole in the wall’ vendors where the counter is often at a height that is inaccessible for many people to reach, does not incorporate leg clearance for a person using a wheelchair and reduces the capacity for customers to hear staff effectively as they are too far away. • Aged care facilities that have been designed without consideration to adequate private or separated spaces for resident’s recreation and resident and staff wellbeing, have contributed to forced lockdowns for long periods, having a major impact on the already fragile mental health of many residents. • Lifts in buildings that cannot be managed effectively for social distancing have created stress for users. • Installation of hand sanitiser stations at inaccessible heights has excluded some people from using these. • Soap dispensers and hand dryers that require buttons to be pushed where an effective senor operation would reduce the need for touching, have been counterproductive to infection control.


• Design of letter/post boxes that often require touching with both hands creates barriers for all users. • Lack of minimum housing features that consider liveability, has meant that many people now forced to work, study or teach their children from home, are often doing so in dwellings, that create a stressful environment for all. Homes that do not include adequate space, effective noise reduction, natural light and opportunities to separate from other dwelling members create significant stress on families, particularly extended families with older more vulnerable residents. In terms of access to the built environment, one of the take ways from COVID 19 must be that the benefits and opportunities provided by considering the needs of everyone and the incorporation of the principle of Universal Design in the design and development of both buildings and outdoor environments must be paramount. The ‘bean counter ‘approach that has been taken in the response to the ABCB Housing Options Paper relating to inclusion of accessibility features in all new housing in Australia, (based on the Livable Housing Australia (LHA) Design Guidelines through the NCC,) that suggests the cost of livablity of homes outweighs the benefits, has clearly not considered any impacts of COVID 19 in its recommendations to date. This is clearly misguided as has been evidenced by the need for both state and federal governments to introduce multi-million-dollar funding packages to support people’s mental health to deal with the fallout of the pandemic. It would be a disservice by any government if the impact of COVID 19 was not seriously considered in any building reform targeting access and livability. Opportunities for real reform that will benefit every person in Australia, based on the principles of equity and dignity, must consider the impact of the pandemic on all people and premises.


2020 Training Calendar Courses will be delivered via video / teleconference using Zoom

CPP50711 Diploma of Access Consulting - 11 days August 26, 27, 28, 31, September 1, October 7, 8, 9, 12, 13 and 14 October 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, November 25, 26, 27, 30, December 1 and 2

CPP50711 Diploma of Access Consulting Course for Occupational Therapists - 9 days August 26, 27, 28, 31, September 1, October 7, 8, 9 and 12 October 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, November 25, 26, 27 and 30

CPP50711 Diploma of Access Consulting - Course for Building Surveyors - 8 days August 26, 27, 28, 31, September 1, October 12, 13 and 14 October 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, November 30 and December 1, 2

CPP40811 Certificate IV in Access Consulting - 8 days August 26, 27, 28, 31, September 1, October 7, 8 and 9 October 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, November 25, 26, and 27

CPP40811 Certificate IV in Access Consulting Course for Building Surveyors - 5 days August 26, 27, 28, 31 and September 1 October 21, 22, 23, 26, 27

Bridging Course for CPP50711 Diploma of Access Consulting - 3 days August 10, 11 and 12 October 12, 13 and 14 November 30, December 1 and 2

Livable Housing Australia - Design Guideline Assessor Course - 2.5 hours September 14 November 5

October 20 November 23

Accredited Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Assessor Course - 4.5 hours July 31 October 1 November 12

September 2 November 6 November 24

Understanding Access and Universal Design in Parks and Outdoor Spaces - 1 day July 18

Access Institute is currently taking Expressions of Interest for the next Changing Places Assessor Training course (via Zoom) and also for the Complex Home Modifications prerequisite – self paced learning course covering the following units of competency as determined by NDIS: CPPACC4020A Provide access advice on building renovations and CPPACC5016A Provide expert advice on renovations to private dwellings Email your details to to stay informed of developments.

T: 03 9988 1979 RTO Provider Number 22404


YMCA Camp Manyung and Scope create Australia’s first communication accessible campsite by Jacob Matthew & Sarita Slater Communication Access Consultants Scope’s Communication & Inclusion Resource Centre

Jacob Matthew is an Access consultant and works at Scope as a Communication Access Mentor. Jacob was born with cerebral palsy and as a result, utilises a range of alternative methods of communication. Jacob is passionate about raising awareness of communication accessible and universally designed environments. Sarita Slater is a Communication Access Consultant and Speech Pathologist with Scope’s Communication and Inclusion and Resource Centre. Sarita supports businesses Australia wide to become accredited with the Communication Access Symbol. Sarita is passionate about building community awareness of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)


oing on school camp is an exciting time for any student but being away from the comfort of home in a new, unfamiliar environment can be overwhelming. For people with disability, this experience may be even more daunting. A person with disability might ask themselves: Can I participate in all the activities at the camp? Will I be able to find and access my dorm easily? Can I talk to volunteers and staff? Will I have access to the services that I need like accessible bathrooms? Like most places, it’s essential that school camps are fully accessible for people with disability so that all campers feel comfortable, safe and included.

COMMUNICATION ACCESS: JUST AS IMPORTANT AS PHYSICAL ACCESS Whilst many school camps may have wheelchair access, it’s not often that all campsite areas and activities are fully accessible for people with disability. This means students with disabilities have limited activity options. Additionally, students with communication difficulties may find that the staff and volunteers have not been trained to communicate effectively using methods other than speech. Approximately 1.2 million Australians have a communication disability. However, this number is likely underrepresented due to inaccessible reporting methods1. People with a communication disability may have difficulties using speech to communicate. They might use methods such as writing, pictures or electronic communication technology. Some people also have difficulty understanding everyday spoken language or written communication. For these individuals, communication access – where staff, written communications and signage are fully accessible - is vital. Communication access means people are respectful and responsive to individuals with communication disabilities, using strategies and resources to support successful communication2.

1 Speech Pathology Australia. (2015). 2015 Review of the Disability Standards for Education (2005). Retrieved from 2 Solarsh, B., & Johnson, H. (2017). Developing communication access standards to maximize community inclusion for people with communication support needs. Topics in Language Disorders January/March, 37(1), 52-66



FEATURED ARTICLE YMCA HAVE CREATED A UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE CAMP One camp in the Victorian Mornington Peninsula is championing both physical and communication access. YMCA Camp Manyung has created a universally-designed campsite that is fully inclusive of all students. To achieve this, they made extensive upgrades to physical access, including installing three fully accessible cabins, upgrading signage across the site and considering the holistic accessibility of camp activities. Camp Manyung not only considered physical access but recognised communication access – the ability of all campers to get their message across - as fundamental for creating an inclusive environment and striving for best practice Universal Access. In 2019, Camp Manyung partnered with Scope to gain Communication Access Symbol accreditation, leading the way as the first camp in Australia to meet the internationally-recognised standard. Scope launched the Communication Access Symbol in 2011 to address the communication gap present in the majority of community environments. Businesses that commit to cultural change through communication access training and assessment are awarded with the symbol as public recognition of their ability to be fully inclusive. To date, more than 200 businesses across Australia have gained accreditation.

Camp Manyung worked closely with Scope and the Communication Access Network to achieve communication access accreditation at two key sites – a universally designed Tree Rolling Course and the camp’s main reception. The first step involved the development of customised communication tools to facilitate communication between campers and staff in the dynamic activities at the camp. On the uniquely designed Tree Rolling Course, campers in adapted wheelchairs, clip onto the course and use a ramp to ascend into the trees and access a universally designed high ropes course.

June / July 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE ACCESSIBLE COMMUNICATION THROUGHOUT THE EXPERIENCE A briefing takes place beforehand at the main platform. A large communication board permanently stands at the entrance of the course with messages such as “Buckle under the chin,” and “Nervous”. The boards allow campers to clearly communicate how they feel and ask questions, as well as see clear instructions in a visual format. Course staff wear a lanyard with commonly used phrases and picture cards attached. These communication cards facilitate effective communication in the midst of the action. Custom communication boards were developed for campers to make enquiries at reception about their accommodation, or other things to do with camp life. Communication boards were placed at a suitable height for a person in a wheelchair to use. Accessible written information was also produced in the form of plain language and an easy-to-understand site map.

Staff and volunteers at Camp Manyung participated in a series of training sessions to learn how to use the communication tools, and respectfully speak to campers with communication difficulties both in person and over the phone. Communication access plays a key role in access and inclusion at any organisation; it ensures that everyone can get their message across and is treated with dignity and respect. This is a basic human right. The idea of creating communication access at an outdoor campsite may seem like a daunting task, however Camp Manyung’s Communication Access Symbol award shows that communication access really is possible anywhere! If you would like to learn about Scope’s accreditation process for the Communication Access Symbol, please: visit, email or call 1300 472 673.

ABOUT SCOPE See the Person. This is the heart of Scope. It guides everything we do. It’s how we deliver services. We are one of Australia’s leading providers of support services for adults and children with disabilities, autism or developmental delays. We work with corporate and community organisations to create a more inclusive society for people with a disability. Scope was founded more than 70 years ago by families who wanted better support for their children. Our mission is to enable each person to live as an empowered and equal citizen. Today, we are one of the largest not-for-profit disability service providers in Australia, supporting thousands of people with complex intellectual, physical, and multiple disabilities.




RBA’s new range of Designer Grab Rails is now available in Matte Black, White and Bright polished finishes. Finally you don’t have to compromise looks for performance and strength. Select from shower, ambulant and straight configurations for your next project. June / July 2020



Grow Bold with Disability Announces Season Two ABOUT FEROS CARE We’re Feros Care. And what we care most about is helping people live bolder lives. Healthier. Better connected. More active. More fulfilling. We call it growing bold and we’ve been doing it for over 30 years. Whether you need, home care, respite care, some clever technology to make life easier, help accessing community services and activities, someone to coordinate your local NDIS services or one of our growing number of allied wellness solutions, we can be there for you. And because we’re a not-for-profit community organisation, you know we’re there for only you, with services awarded in Australia and internationally. What’s more, we know variety is the spice of life. So everyone is welcome and everyone matters at Feros Care.


he success of Feros Care's new podcast, Grow Bold With Disability, saw another nine episodes added to the first series after its popularity prompted a host of new guests to volunteer to be involved. The not-for-profit care provider and Local Area Coordinators for the National Disability Insurance Scheme is now launching a second season as it continues to shine a light on the way society deals with disability, amplify marginalised voices and create more inclusive communities. Grow Bold With Disability talks to people who are either living with disability, caring for someone with a disability or working in the disability space and covers topics from art, love and relationships; to parenting, technology, employment and housing. 24

The podcast is hosted by journalist and broadcaster Pete Timbs and co-host Tristram Peters of disability services comparison website, Clickability who lives with spinal muscular atrophy. Guests in season one included comedians Adam Hills and Tim Ferguson, spinal research spearhead Perry Cross AM, author Carly Finlay and artist Priscilla Hutton. Timbs said creating the podcast had unearthed some of his most interesting interviews in 20 years of journalism. "These stories make you realise what is truly important in life - family, love, mateship, understanding, a helping hand, empathy, patience and being bold," he said. “We've heard a wide variety of stories – from a professional surfer with quadriplegia finding love; to an amputee who creates art out of discarded prosthetic limbs - and they've all got one thing in common: they're living boldly, embracing disability and creating societal change. “I’m sure listeners of the podcast will find these stories fascinating and walk away with a better understanding of what life is actually like for people with disability.” The 20-minute episodes feature interviews with people from all walks of life including advocates, activists, celebrities, writers, sporting professionals and parents. Peters said Grow Bold With Disability played an important role in giving people a voice. "As a person with a disability, I'm constantly disappointed by the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in media, but this podcast knocks that for six," he said. "It's been a thrill speaking to our guests, gaining their insights and perspectives, and letting them tell their stories in their own words.


FEATURED ARTICLE "Our incredible guests will educate you, captivate you, make you laugh, tackle taboo topics, and share what living a bold life means to them." Feros Care CEO Jennene Buckley said the organisation worked tirelessly to smash stereotypes around ageing and disability through its work in aged-care and as a partner in the community under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). "Through our work with the NDIS as Local Area Coordinators, our mission is to help clients live bold lives by identifying their personal goals - and then helping create a clear path to achieve them," she said. "We want the community to focus on what these people can do, rather than what they can't, and to spread that sentiment so people learn to look past disability and stop seeing it as a barrier.

“Being heard helps people to understand each other and in the digital era, podcasts are the perfect platform to start conversations that will hopefully resound across the nation. “By telling these real stories, we aim to provide rare insights into disability and educate our listeners in the hope we can contribute in some small way towards creating a more inclusive society.” The full first season of Grow Bold With Disability is now available on the Feros Care website, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or Spotify, with season two starting late July. Vision of the immersive podcast launch can be found here. For more information visit au/grow-bold-podcast

June / July 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE HEARD ON GROW BOLD WITH DISABILITY "There has been no call for global, institutional, governmental and social change in regards to people with disabilities. Employment of people with disabilities is the next tidal wave that must occur worldwide." - Tim Ferguson, episode 13. "For too long, sex and intimacy have been pushed to the bottom of the list of needs for people with a disability, but we are seeing more people who are able to advocate for themselves, speak up and challenge this situation." Jodi Rogers - episode 14. "Disability sport is not just about playing a game - it's about mental health; it's about friendship; it's about self confidence. If governments would realise that funding disability sport is the same as funding mental health then so much more could be achieved." Adam Hills - episode 16. "Aboriginal people with disability participate in community and culture at the same rate as non-aboriginal people without disability, and it has a positive effect on their health. So how do we actually make this work in a service setting? It requires a mind shift so you no longer see people as needing to be a fixed or accommodated; it's about how to include them." Dr Scott Avery - episode 19.




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Access in NSW National Parks: a best practice example of Edward River Bridge’s canoe and kayak launch Christina Bullivant (Executive Officer, Park Operations Division, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service) Professor Simon Darcy (UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney) Associate Professor Tracey J. Dickson (Canberra Business School, University of Canberra)


ational parks are important places for our community; they are places to connect with nature, culture and heritage, spaces to connect with family and friends, and environments that contribute to our health and wellbeing. For an increasingly urbanised and technology-dependent society, being able to access natural areas is central for peoples’ physical and mental health. This has been highlighted by the current impact of COVID-19.


Further, a significant and growing number of people in our community have a disability, and/ or access needs, or are close to someone who does. For Australia this is 4.4million, or 17.7% of the population (ABS, 2019). Increasingly, protected area agencies, including the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) are addressing accessibility in planning and managing national parks to provide enhanced accessibility for everyone including those with mobility, vision,


FEATURED ARTICLE hearing, cognitive, psychosocial et cetera et cetera disability. This means focusing not only on physical obstacles to access, but providing appropriate information, services, and assistance to support not only the visit, but also the planning and decision making that occurs prior, during and after visitation (Darcy & Dickson, 2009; Darcy et al., 2020, in print; Dickson & Darcy, 2012; Patterson et al., 2015; Smith, 2017). Over the past decade, NPWS has undertaken a series of projects focusing on enhancing accessibility by increasing information provision, supporting physical access, and increasing people’s awareness of issues. This also includes capacity building within NPWS central and regional staff. These initiatives have, many of which are part of the Department’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan, included: • maintaining current WCAG standards on the NPWS website • reviewing planning guidelines and manuals to ensure that accessibility and inclusion considerations are embedded into the planning process • delivering universal inclusion training for staff and commercial tour operators • listing of accessible toilets on the National Public Toilet Map • creating virtual reality footage of national parks utilising Google Trekker • creating educational videos for teachers as part of the WilderQuest in the Classroom program • providing mobility equipment in several locations • creating accessibility information for hard-roofed holiday accommodation • developing accessibility maps and information for around 50 walking tracks • providing a searchable list of access-friendly parks and visitor experiences, and an accessible visitor website, and • development of disability action plans. Many of these projects have been undertaken in partnership with other organisations, including the University of Technology Sydney, University of

Canberra, the National Parks Association of NSW, Google and Wild Walks amongst others. NPWS has also focused on enhancing physical access to our parks, whereby any new installations or upgrades to existing infrastructure comply with access provisions in the disability standard on access to premises, the Australian building code, and NPWS policy and guidelines. Recent examples include the Three Sisters walk in Blue Mountains National Park at Katoomba, O’Hares Creek lookout walking track in Dharawal National Park, Wollomombi Falls in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, and the Edward River Bridge kayak launch at Mathoura in Murray Valley Regional Park. The Edward River Bridge canoe and kayak launch opened on 3 December 2018 at Mathoura, near Echuca in Murray Valley Regional Park. The project commenced following feedback from a local commercial tour operator concerning safety of the previous launch from the banks of the Edward River, which was very steep. NPWS partnered with SR Engineering and Replas to design and engineer a unique design wheelchair accessible multi-ability canoe and kayak launch, which is beneficial for all. The first of its kind in NSW, the launch is made from shopping bags, food and other household containers recycled by the Moama community, demonstrating both social and environmental sustainability. NPWS has recognised the requirements of people with disability when visiting the Edward River Bridge precinct: the launch is supported by other accessible park infrastructure, including a toilet, car park, picnic bench as well as a pathway to the launch, and the NPWS visitor website also contains information and images for potential visitors to assist with decision making. This approach highlights the need to cater for whole of journey planning, from the dreaming and planning stage to the visiting stage when it comes to delivering independent, dignified and equitable accessible experiences for all types of disability and levels of support needs (Darcy, McKercher & Schweinsberg, 2020). The local Mathoura motel had previously received some funding to upgrade two hotel rooms to provide wheelchair access. The availability of suitable accommodation complements the national park recreation offering. Without the June / July 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE availability of suitable accommodation, and other visitor services, such as restaurants, the decision to participate in an activity is more difficult. This highlights the need for destination planning when it comes to providing accessibility for visitors, it is not just about the one accessible visitor attraction, but the whole of the visitor’s journey, from their home to destination. This includes transport, toilets, activities and infrastructure across the whole of their journey that equate to the 3ps: can’t park, can’t pee, can’t participate! Since its opening in 2018, the Edward River Bridge launch has received good usage, not only by those who use a wheelchair, but also by novice canoers, kayakers and older visitors. This reinforces the concept that in enhancing accessibility for people who have a disability, we are in fact enhancing whole-of-life accessibility for everyone, both for local residents and visitors alike. In 2019 the NSW Government announced the Increasing Access to National Parks Policy, a plan to invest almost $150 million to improve access to national parks across NSW. This represents the largest investment in visitor infrastructure in NPWS’ history. The funding is divided into two streams: visitor infrastructure and facilities, and digital and safety initiatives. The visitor infrastructure and facilities investment will enhance existing and create new visitor infrastructure, including walking tracks, lookouts, picnic facilities to make them more accessible for people to visit and use (www.nationalparks. Already, projects in Sydney, the Central Coast and South Coast have been identified, and include the construction of new all-weather walking tracks, removal of stairs and barriers, re-configuration of car parks, and installation of new facilities, including toilets, to increase access for people with mobility impairments, however these upgrades will enhance accessibility for all visitors. The digital and safety component of the program will support the development of new online and digital tools. This will include enhanced information and functionality on the NPWS website and app platforms to support users with varied abilities in accessing information to plan their visit ( As well as the development of virtual 30


FEATURED ARTICLE experiences and digital storytelling, that builds on technologies like augmented reality and virtual visitation, providing an augmented experience while limiting the carbon footprint of travel. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is committed to providing opportunities for everyone to experience nature and is excited to deliver new opportunities via the Increasing Access to National Parks Policy over the coming years. Given the size of the accessible tourism market , these initiatives can provide economic benefits to gateway communities (Pavkovic et al., 2017), as long as they too have suitable accessible infrastructure such as transport, accommodation and food and beverage. This highlights the need for organisations such as NPWS to partner with off-park businesses and organisations to ensure the provision of high-quality accessible recreation and tourism experiences for all.

opportunities: Bringing together consumer demands and supplier understandings for people with disabilities. In R. Black & K. S. Bricker (Eds.), Adventure Programming and Travel for the 21st Century. Venture Publishing. Pavkovic, I., Lawrie, A., Farrell, G., Huuskes, L., & Ryan, R. (2017). Inclusive tourism: economic opportunities. University of Technology Sydney Institute for Public Policy and Governance. files/resource-files/2018-02/apo-nid133611.pdf Smith, H. (2017). Naturally Accessible: Improving access through information. National Parks Association of NSW. file/d/1jQwK7YjUr_JAATlBbK-ommvaxSR6-bKy/ view Photos supplied by NPWS, photos by DPIE/Rhys Leslie. Photos show the launch design, the paddler, Jason Clymo in action and the idea of independent travel.

REFERENCES ABS. (2019). 4430.0 - Disability, aging and carers, Australia: summary of findings, 2018. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 24 October from abs@.nsf/mf/4430.0 Darcy, S., & Dickson, T. J. (2009). A whole-of-life approach to tourism: The case for accessible tourism experiences. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 16(1), 24-31. Darcy, S., McKercher, B., & Schweinsberg, S. (2020). From tourism and disability to accessible tourism: A perspective article. Tourism Review, 75 (1) pp 140-144. Darcy, S., Ollerton, J., & Grabowski, S. (2020, in print). “Why Can’t I Play?”: Transdisciplinary Learnings for Children with Disability’s Sport Participation. Social Inclusion 8(3). Dickson, T. J., & Darcy, S. (2012). Accessible alpine tourism project and Disabled WinterSports. In D. Buhalis, S. Darcy, & I. Ambrose (Eds.), Best Practice in Accessible Tourism: Inclusion, ageing population and tourism (pp. 339-364). Channel View. Patterson, I., Darcy, S., & Pegg, S. (2015). Adventure recreation programming and tourism June / July 2020



Age and Dementia Friendly Outdoor Spaces by Ash Osborne Qualified Access Consultant, Affiliate Membership ACAA; Senior Consultant, Environments, Dementia Training Australia

Ash has a nursing background and a range of professional experience in dementia care, project management, research, OSH management and design as well as over 30 years experience in the health and aged care industry. For the past 10 years she has supported a wide range of stakeholders to create dementia and aged friendly environments that meet both the needs of organisations and older people, particularly those living with dementia.


he benefits of exposure to fresh air, sunshine and the natural environment are well established. Getting outside provides health benefits such as Vitamin D, exercise, sensory stimulation and the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of meaningful activities. Getting outdoors can also give you the opportunity to spend time alone or to socialise. People of all ages benefit from getting outdoors, including older Australians. In 2017, there were 3.8 million Australians aged 65 and over (comprising 15% of the total population)— increasing from 5% in 1927 and 9% in 1977. The number and proportion of older Australians is expected to continue to grow. By 2057, it is projected there will be 8.8 million older people in Australia (22% of the population) aged 65 and over. Nearly 1 in 10 of these older Australians are living with dementia. That is about 459,000 people. Without a major medical breakthrough this figure is projected to increase to 1,076,000 people by 2058. The way we provide health and social support services to these older people has undergone a major shift over the past few decades as most people want to stay independent, remain in their 32

home and connected to family and community for much longer. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of older people do not want to move into residential care. Our aged care system is now much more focussed on helping people to remain living at home. This is no different for people living with dementia with 70% continuing to live in the community. So we have a large (and increasing) population of older people accessing our parks and public spaces, many of whom are also living with dementia as well as the other health, physical and sensory issues that often accompany old age. How can we ensure that the outdoor spaces we design and build can help enable these members of the community to live active, joyful lives and utilise our outdoor spaces? There is a good evidence base around strategies and design considerations that can be adopted to create accessible, enabling and inclusive spaces for our elders. This article will provide a

A FEW FACTS ABOUT DEMENTIA • Dementia is not a normal part of ageing • Dementia is not a disease but a syndrome caused by a range of diseases, with Alzheimer’s Disease accounting for around 70% of dementias in Australia • Nearly 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 and 3 in 10 over 85 in Australia have dementia • Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and the single greatest cause of disability in Australians over 65 years


FEATURED ARTICLE brief overview of some key design considerations when designing truly inclusive, accessible spaces for all. Use a participatory design approach: When planning a project invite older people, including people living with dementia and those that support them, to be part of any community consultation. They can often offer valuable information and help with identifying potential problems and finding solutions that respond to these. Use familiar design: Use recognisable features consistent with user expectations. If the environment is familiar this makes it easier for people to find their way around and use infrastructure. This can be as simple as selecting seating that is easily identifiable as a seat! Provide an environment that is easy to interpret and calm: Those living with dementia commonly experience sensory challenges, with changes in the way they feel, hear or see the world. These changes can sometimes make outdoor environments quite challenging as these spaces often provide a multitude of smells, sounds and sensations which can be overwhelming. Providing calm, quite spaces within busy outdoor environments can provide a person with the chance to rest and recuperate if they are feeling overwhelmed.

An important element that can contribute to making an outdoor space easy to interpret is signage. Signage is a key part of a wayfinding strategy and, as with accessibility in general, there are some basic considerations such as that language should be clear and concise, only communicate the information that is necessary and be inclusive. For example, when selecting toilet signage, ensure that it is familiar and easily recognisable by all users. Graphics and symbols should be standardised so there meaning is clear. However, signage should be part of an overall wayfinding strategy and not used in isolation. Wayfinding should include the use of landmarks, sensory cues and be supported by the overall legibility of the site. Good visual access: Plan for good visual access into and across the site. An easy to interpret and understand layout may increase feelings of safety and security and allow for better wayfinding. Provide good visual access to key areas or points of interest. Ensure the exit and entry points are obvious and clearly marked. Using landmarks able to be seen from a distance, such as a feature tree, clocktower or sculpture, can assist in navigation and orientation. Paths should be logically placed in relation to key locations such as entry and exit points, drop off and pick up locations, toilets and points of interest. Dead ends should be avoided.

Image 1: This jacaranda tree provides a great landmark, provides a lovely spot to sit for a while, is useful for navigation and orientation, and also provides a cue to the season (image: iStockphoto)

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FEATURED ARTICLE Provide unobtrusive safety measures: People living with dementia require an environment that is safe and easy to move around if they are to maximise their abilities. However, obvious safety features and barriers may lead to frustration and distress so potential risks need to be reduced unobtrusively. A common problem for people living with dementia is changes in depth perception. This can mean that strong changes in contrast within ground surfaces can be perceived as a change in level, a hole or a step. This can increase the risk of falls. Avoid patterns within ground surfaces and also consider the effects of shadowing along pathways, particularly along primary paths of travel. Provide solid, continuous paths with contrasting edges to minimise trip hazards and make the paths easy to see and navigate. Shiny or reflective surfaces which may cause glare should also be avoided, as glare may cause confusion, disorientation, make it harder for an older person to see and may contribute to falls. Consider artificial lighting, particularly along paths, avoiding up-lighting (that could shine into a persons eyes) or uneven illumination (which can create areas of high contrast along a path).

Image 2: strongly contrasting patterns within ground surfaces can be interpreted as a change in level, in this case, a confusing undulating surface (image: iStockphoto)

Image 3: strong shadowing on a pathway may be interpreted as steps and increase the risk of falls. (image: authors own) 34


FEATURED ARTICLE Distinct spaces: Provide a variety of spaces to enable people to enjoy outdoor spaces all year (such as seating in the shade and in the sun for summer and winter enjoyment). Create distinct spaces for different activities so that the meaning and function of these spaces is legible and more memorable. Consider spaces for communal activity such as: • Seating • Open green space • Shared, accessible gardens • Children’s play equipment • Night lighting These can support the older person to remain connected with their community, retain social contacts and maintain their sense of identity in a secure and safe environment. It is also good practice to provide opportunities for pleasant sensory experiences considering all of the senses. This can not only provide a rich, enjoyable experience, it can also aid reminiscence and provide cues to the season and location. Consider planting to provide an opportunity for meaningful engagement such as:

• bird and insect attracting plants and landscaping elements such as bird baths and water features • providing some seating that allows people to sit facing each other to support conversation, seating that supports a small group to sit together and seating that allows for a person in a wheelchair to sit with those using fixed seating Older people may not be able to participate in more vigorous physical activities available in outdoor spaces, so providing options for more sedentary and passive activities can provide enjoyable experiences for a wider range of users. Provide safe and accessible outdoor spaces: Older people may have limited transport options (they may no longer drive, they may use public transport or they may be unable or reluctant to travel long distances). Walking access to appropriate outdoor spaces may help maintain independence and safety and may also provide easy access for family, friends and carers for social events. Consideration should be given to accessibility for older people with mobility issues including the use of walking aids and wheelchairs. The needs of a

Image 4: Attracting birds can provide a richer sensory experience for an older person (image: iStockphoto)

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FEATURED ARTICLE carer or support person (who may also be elderly and perhaps unable to push a wheelchair long distances) should also be accommodated. Provide seating at key locations such as key drop off/pick up spots and consider shelter, lighting and safety features at these points. Consider comfortable seating in a variety of configurations to accommodate different needs and abilities. Arm and back rests provide a seat that is easier to get in and out of by most older people and back rests can also provide ‘leaning points’ to enable a person to rest during a walk. Seating intervals of 60m (or more frequent seating if there is a steep grade) should be provided as older pedestrians may tire more easily.

CONCLUSION: This article has only scraped the surface of some of the access considerations that can make outdoor spaces more accessible and equitable for older people and those living with dementia. With an increasing elderly population and greater focus on the development of aged and dementia friendly communities, the needs of these members of our community should be considered during the planning of any outdoor space. Like all human beings, everyone living with dementia will be an individual dependant on their history, experience, personality and level of impairment. Dementia is a progressive disease and a person’s capacity will change over time. There is no one size fits all dementia.

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WALKERS WITH VISUAL-IMPAIRMENTS IN THE BRITISH COUNTRYSIDE: PICTURESQUE LEGACIES, COLLECTIVE ENJOYMENTS AND WELL-BEING BENEFITS Author: Dr Hannah Macpherson Journal: The Journal of Rural Studies, November 2016 Dr. Hannah Macpherson conducted her research by volunteering as a sighted guide for walking groups for people with low vision that walk in both the Peak and Lake Districts of England. These places, Macpherson notes, are often described and valued for their visual beauty and so how could a person with a vision impairment appreciate walking in these environs.

METHOD: Macpherson observed 19 participant-walkers and 6 volunteer guides, conducted “walk and talk� interviews and sit-down interviews.

RESULTS: Participants described numerous benefits of walking in the countryside including a feeling of achievement derived from reaching summits, a sense of wellbeing, social opportunities,

physical fitness, feeling of freedom as the walkers were assisted by guides and did not need to navigate. One participant described being able to switch off and not needing to worry about the next obstacle as a result of being physically guided. This allowed her to relax and take in her surrounds. There are also challenges faced by the walkers including the degree of trust and physicality to walk on uneven ground, access to these guided walks is limited and the guide-walker relationship requires careful negotiation. Macpherson concludes that specialist walking groups do provide opportunities for people with low vision to walk in the countryside and experience the many benefits of this. However mainstream walking groups should be encouraged to adopt strategies that facilitate the integration of people with low vision.

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Kalbarri National Park and the Kalbarri Skywalk In April 2020 the new Kalbarri Skywalk, located in the Kalbarri National Park, opened for visitors. We took the opportunity to ask Rory Chapple, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and Craig Poletti, Eastman Poletti Sherwood Architects, Geraldton-based Architects for the project, a couple of questions about upgrade works through the Kalbarri National Park.

Can you tell us about the Kalbarri National Park and the recent redevelopments? Offering both coastal and inland attractions, Kalbarri National Park surrounds the lower reaches of the Murchison River, which cuts a magnificent 80-kilometer gorge through the red and white banded sandstone. You can experience scenic gorge views from The Loop parking area, Hawks Head and the Ross Graham Lookout and soaring sea cliffs from Red

Bluff, Natural Bridge and Island Rock. A 1.2 kilometre section of the Bigurda Trail between Natural Bridge and Island Rock, set along the cliff tops of the coast south of Kalbarri have been improved with sealed paths and an 800 metre boardwalk to provide more accessibility. Two skywalks with a connecting boardwalk jut 25 metres and 17 metres beyond the rim of the Murchison River Gorge at one of its highest points, at West Loop. There are designated accessible parking bays, unisex accessible toilets and sealed paths at the coastal and gorge sites. What was the initial driver that triggered the concept for a skywalk in the Kalbarri National Park? We met on the site seven years ago with the regional representatives of Kalbarri National Park to look at what might be able to be done at this site, the highest point above the river in the National Park. Initial concepts and perspective images were prepared for a cantilevered walk

Photo courtesy of Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions 38



Photo courtesy of Bocol Constructions Dermot Boyle

extending 10 meters over the edge. This fuelled some interest from the Midwest Development Commission and the project grew to include two skywalks with a kiosk, toilets, shelters, artworks and interpretive signage. The entire project was then packaged up to include upgrading other sites within the national park including construction of sealed roads and carparks to all sites to improve access for all. Highlights include the upgrade of facilities at Meanarra Hill, now a universally accessible site that looks back out over the Kalbarri township, the Indian Ocean and Murchison River, a complete redevelopment of the Z Bend lookout toilets and shelters. Has the design of the skywalk required collaboration with a range of stakeholders? Yes, over a long period of time there was considerable collaboration with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Parks and Wildlife team, working closely with the traditional owners of the land and the design and construction team (Eastman Poletti Sherwood

Architects, Terpkos Engineers, Bocol Constructions and GBSC Yurra) working together to make the project a reality. What features have been incorporated that have enhanced accessibility around the site and in particular, on the skywalk? Compliant gradients, path widths and surfaces have been incorporated throughout the skywalk site as an accessible alternative to the natural red sandstone paths provided to the skywalk. Paths have been provided with rest stops and seating, given this is a naturally windy and for much of the year a hot and exposed landscape. The skywalk structures have been designed with wide apertures throughout the length, to allow visitors to see through the mesh floor and experience the breeze as it rises up. In addition, included throughout the skywalk is an accessible path of travel with smaller gaps and furnished with handrails, allowing all people the opportunity to enjoy the cantilevered structure as it extends out over the Murchison River and gorge below.

June / July 2020



Photos courtesy of Bocol Constructions Dermot Boyle 40


FEATURED ARTICLE KAJU YATKA: TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE By Rhianna King, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (sourced from 'LANDSCOPE, magazine, Autumn 2020') Kalbarri National Park has long been one of Western Australia’s favourite national parks. Its rugged river gorges and stunning coastline provides opportunities for hiking, photography, nature watching, abseiling, swimming, rafting and canoeing, and wildflower spotting. And now, a $24 million redevelopment of the park, including the construction of the spectacular Kalbarri Skywalk, is set to provide improved access and even more reason for visitors to travel to the area and spend time in the local community. The new facility has been designed with access for all in mind. The path from the carpark is flat and on the same level as the skywalks, so people with prams and wheelchairs can access and enjoy the extraordinary views. And the skywalk precinct has been designed to include an air-conditioned kiosk, where visitors can find a cold drink and some respite from the heat; as well as wheelchair accessible toilets and shaded areas. In addition, visitors can now drive anywhere in the park without needing a four-wheel drive as all roads are now sealed and suitable to two-wheel-drive vehicles. DBCA worked with representatives from the Nanda people who assisted with the interpretation of the Nanda story. Nanda words are shown in English and are raised so the blind can fell each word. Nanda artwork can be touched and felt, the

Message Stick forest has carvings on metal poles telling stories of camping along the Murchison River. Skywalk One extends 25 metres out over the edge of the gorge (longer than the Grand Canyon) and Skywalk Two is 17 metres, both 100m above the Murchison River. The deck is constructed of fibreglass-reinforced plastic mesh allowing visitors to see through as well as feel the breeze rising through from below.

“Being able to take in the magnificent scenery (so long denied to those of us with disabilities due to a largely inaccessible environment) I felt so much pride for all those involved in creating this wonderful facility, for turning a vision into a reality, for acknowledging and embracing Nanda people in its creation, for the ease of access embedded into the design making it something everyone can enjoy. It also made me happy that when I visited four days after it was opened - a total stranger who also happened to be a wheelchair user was smiling at me and we shared our joy that we were out there just doing our thing alongside our loved ones and everyone else - as we should be able to but so often are not. Congratulations to everyone involved - it is a truly magnificent achievement.”

Chris Kerr

Photo courtesy of Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions June / July 2020



INTERNATIONAL INSIGHTS The Great Outdoors The articles featured in Technical Insights are to prompt thought and discussion to assist our members' question and evaluate their understanding of the technical requirements of Australian Standards and other national/international source material. Technical Insights is to intended to provide background information, a different viewpoint, a perspective from an individual with lived experience of disability or to prompt further discussion and/or research by you as an access professional.

by Paul Eltringham Stonehenge Consulting Pty Ltd

Paul Eltringham is the founding owner/operator of Stonehenge Consulting Pty Ltd based in Geelong, established in 2008. Paul has over 25 years experience in Building Surveying (commercial and domestic buildings) and is qualified as Level 1 (unrestricted) in Victoria and Qld. Paul is also a qualified Access Consultant (Cert IV completed 2016) and is an Associate Member of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia. Paul is now mainly involved as an Access Consultant to other building surveyors, builders, architects and developers.

UNITED STATES ACCESS BOARD – OUTDOOR DEVELOPED AREAS The Accessibility Standards for Federal Outdoor Developed Areas developed by the United States Access Board defines a trail as 'a pedestrian route primarily for outdoor recreational purposes. Pedestrian routes that are developed primarily to connect accessible elements, spaces and buildings within a site are not a trail. Trails The technical requirements for trails as defined for the (USA) Federal Outdoor Developed Areas standard are briefly summarised below:

• Passing spaces at least 1525 x 1525mm wide must be provided at maximum 300 metre intervals • Tread obstacles on the path can be no more than 50mm high and ideally spaced 1200mm apart (when they extend the full width of the trail) • Openings (e.g. grates and decking gaps) must be small enough that a sphere more than 13mm cannot pass through • Trail running slopes (i.e. grade) can be constructed up to 1:20 for any distance. However, to accommodate steeper terrain trails can be designed with shorter segments that have a grade and length as shown in the table below, with resting intervals at the top and bottom of each segment. No more than 30% of the total trail length may exceed a running slope of 1:12 and the running slope must not exceed 1:8 • Cross must not exceed 1:20 unless the surface is paved and elevated above natural ground when the cross slope must be no steeper than 1:48 (2%) • Resting intervals of at least 1525 mm long x 915 mm wide must be provided any time the running slope exceeds 1:20 (5%) • Gates in paths must have a clear width of 915 mm minimum • Objects must not protrude into the trail tread up to a height of 2030mm high (e.g. signs, rock walls, tree branches.

• Surfaces of trails, passing spaces and resting intervals must be firm and stable • Clear tread width of the trail must be 915 mm minimum 42



Note: 200 feet = 61 metres 30 feet = 9 metres 10 feet = 3 metres

Source: Outdoor Developed Areas: A summary of accessibility standards for Federal outdoor developed areas (May 2014). United States Access Board

Outdoor Recreation Access Routes The Access Board goes on to define Outdoor Recreation Access Routes (ORARs) as 'a continuous, unobstructed path that is intended for pedestrian use that connects accessible elements, spaces, and facilities within camping and picnic facilities and at viewing areas and trailheads'. At viewing areas, at least one ORAR must connect accessible parking spaces or other arrival points that serve the viewing area with accessible elements, spaces, and facilities provided within the viewing area. At trailheads, at least one ORAR must connect: • Accessible parking spaces or other arrival points serving the trailhead • The starting point of the trail • Accessible elements, spaces, and facilities provided within the trailhead The same elements as described above for trails are also defined for ORARs, with some differences in tolerances and dimensioning, allowing trails to have a steeper and rougher terrain, whereas interconnecting routes between accessible facilities at the trail heads are to have a greater level of accessibility.

Design Guide states that 'Information provided about trails has traditionally been very limited. It usually consists of trail length and a subjective rating such as “easy” or “difficult”. Subjective ratings reveal very little about the actual conditions of the trail. For example, a hiker who uses a wheelchair cannot determine from an “easy” rating whether a trail is wide enough throughout to permit the wheelchair to pass. If the trail is too narrow, the user may have to turn back. This is frustrating for both the hiker using a wheelchair and any hiking companions.' The Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) is an inventory tool that records accessibility and maintenance information on a trail. The UTAP was designed to meet the information needs of both trail users and land management agencies. The assessment process was developed over a four-year period through the collaboration of US Federal, State, and local land management agencies, as well as trail organizations. The UTAP has been implemented by several agencies and organizations to record trail conditions for access and maintenance information. The Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) is used to collect data that can be used to provide objective information to users about the conditions of trails. The primary accessibility information recorded for trails includes:

The Accessibility Standards for Federal Outdoor Developed Areas also provides accessible design criteria for elements such as trailheads, camping and picnic facilities, viewing areas, fire pits, seating, outdoor showers, pit toilets and beach access.

• Trail length;


• Minimum clear width; and

• Maximum and average cross slopes; • Maximum and average grades; • Surface type and firmness; • Average tread width.

Chapter 13 of the document Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access Part II of II: Best Practice June / July 2020


TECHNICAL INSIGHTS The below is an example of a Trail Information Sheet and a Trail Access Information Strip

Source: Chapter 13 of Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access Part II of II: Best Practice Design Guide (2001)


surface, width, length, obstructions and features. Trail Access Information is generated by using the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP).

Federal Highway Administration

The Trail Explorer website conveys objective trail information in a unique Trail Access Information format to help trail users make informed decisions about which public lands to visit, and which trails will best meet their interests, abilities and desired experiences. The Trail Access Information summarizes information about various trails throughout the USA including - grade, cross-slope,

44 recreational_trails/publications/ The Accessibility Resource Library of the Federal Highway Administration features information as it relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) plus other accessibility resources.


United States Access Board guidelines-and-standards/recreation-facilities/ outdoor-developed-areas The United States Access Board has developed Standards for Outdoor Developed Areas and issued requirements that now form part of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards and apply to national parks and other outdoor areas developed by the U.S. federal government. A guide that explains these requirements also is available. The new provisions address access to trails, picnic and camping areas, viewing areas, beach access routes and other components of outdoor developed areas on federal sites when newly built or altered. They also provide exceptions for situations where terrain and other factors make compliance impracticable.

LOCAL INSIGHTS A quick search on the internet will assist locate accessible walking trails, access to adaptive equipment and creative play options. Some examples that may be of interest include:

US Forest Service (United States Department of Agriculture / US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration) The US Forest Service has developed the Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (2013) and a neat Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines Pocket Version (2015) plus Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines with the Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines Pocket Version. The US Forest Service has developed a National Trail Class Matrix, reflective of the extent to which trails are developed, arranged along a continuum from Trail Class 1 (Minimally Developed) through to Trail Class 5 (Fully Developed). The Trail Class continuum looks at attributes such as tread and traffic flow, obstacles, constructed features and trail elements, signs and typical recreation environs and experience.

USEFUL UK LINKS countryside-for-all know-before-you-go/access-friendly access-friendly things-to-do/traveller/accessibility/ wheelchair-accessible-walks-queenslandnational-parks.html access-nature In addition, an Australian Walking Track Grading System is in existence, with some indication of the level of track accessibility, and this can be found at: files/docs/activities/users-guide-walksclassification-standards.pdf

Australia’s only Type A inspection body accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) for slip resistance & recognised globally through the ILAC mutual recognition agreement to AS ISO/IEC 17020 for the inspection and conformity of slip resistance and luminance contrast testing.

02 9621 3706

June / July 2020



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