Home of Iron
Lithgow was the birthplace of the Australian iron and steel industry. Constructed in 1913, the Lithgow Blast Furnace, at its peak, produced 105,000 tonnes of pig iron produced primarily for use by the Trans-Australia Railway. The many signs around the site provide information on Lithgow’s earliest industrial heritage.
Lithgow City Council is a Local Government Area (LGA) located about 140km west of Sydney CBD and has about 20,160 residents. According to the 2011 Census, 1,162 or 5.8% of people were identified as “needing assistance” in Lithgow. This relates to people with severe or profound disabilities and does not include residents with a disability for which they do not need assistance. In addition, the number of people over the age of 55 is up from 5,523 in 2006 to 6,506 people in the 2011 Census, an 18% increase in 5 years. This growing number of older residents may have difficulties navigating their local environment and accessing information and services.
Therefore, Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan must account for these shifts in demographics by creating an accessible and inclusive community. According to the PHIDU, in 2010, 2,541 persons over 18 years had a profound/severe/moderate/mild core activity restriction. This suggests that about 13% of the population experienced difficulty executing a specific task or action. It also shines a light on the diversity of disability, whereby some disabilities are profound, severe and chronic, while others are moderate, mild and acute in nature. Disability does not discriminate and can happen to anyone at any point in their life. Disability inclusion action planning will assist in meeting the access and inclusion needs of the community.
The Mobility Parking Scheme (MPS) provides parking concessions to people with mobility disabilities in NSW. Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) issues a licence-style card to eligible people. There are three types of permits available to people with a disability:
The Disability Inclusion Action Plan aims to outline precise strategies and actions that will help Council achieve its inclusion goals over the next four years. This will allow people with disability to have better access to the services, information and facilities offered by Council. The Plan takes a holistic approach and includes actions for all areas of the Council. By implementing the steps in this Plan, not only will people with disability benefit, but older people, people with acute or short-term injuries, and parents with young children will also benefit. Therefore, this Plan is based on the broader guiding principles outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which includes:
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In addition to the human rights imperative, the case for an inclusive community is strong:
The UNCRPD, ratified by Australia in 2008, acknowledges that people with disability have the same human rights as those without disabilities. This commits participating governments to ensure these rights can be exercised and remove barriers. Significantly, implementing a rights-based approach under the UNCRPD does not limit governments to addressing the provision of specialist services to people with disability – it requires mainstream services to be provided in a way that does not directly or indirectly prevent people with disability from fully participating. This focus on mainstream service access means that all levels of government and other parts of the community have a role in affecting the UNCRPD.
The NDS 2010-2020, developed in partnership with the Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments, sets out a national plan for improving life for Australians with a disability, their families and carers to support the commitment made to the UNCRPD. The NDS is designed to guide public policy across Australia and aims explicitly to change mainstream services and programs. The NDS sets out six priority areas which reflect the broad scope of the UNCRPD, for action to improve the lives of people with disability, their families and carers. The NDS NSW Implementation Plan 2012-2014 was the NSW Government’s initial two-year strategy to promote the principles of the NDS. These principles have now been aligned with the Disability Inclusion Act (2014) and Disability Inclusion Plan objects.
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