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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.

Social and Disability Community in Lithgow

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.

Mobility Scheme for Disabled People

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:

  • Individual (blue card) – issued for five years to eligible people whose disability is permanent
  • Temporary (red card) – issued for up to six months to eligible people whose disability is temporary. A temporary permit may be renewed for up to six months (providing 12 months in total).
  • The third type of permit (green card) is also available to organisations that provide transport for people who meet the eligibility requirements.

Action Plan and accessibility for Community and Disabled People

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:

  • Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  • Accessibility
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Non-discrimination
  • Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
  • Principles of Universal Design.

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Human write and Disability within the Community

In addition to the human rights imperative, the case for an inclusive community is strong:

  • As a community, we are poorer without diverse viewpoints and individual perspectives.
  • Exclusion leads to disadvantage and discrimination, which have far-reaching negative impacts across all aspects of life, including health, welfare, education and employment. These impacts are felt beyond the individual, with families and the broader community being negatively impacted by a non-inclusive community.
  • There is a solid economic imperative for increasing the inclusiveness of our society. Employment can provide independence, reduce reliance on government income support, and improve people’s living standards with disability. This can also have positive health impacts and contribute to a greater sense of self-worth.
  • Providing physical access to businesses benefits not only people with disability but older people, parents with prams and business owners by expanding their business reach.
  • With an ageing population, there is a growing need not simply to create places for older people but to ensure that all areas are designed to support people regardless of age.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

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.

National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (NDS)

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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Have opportunities to make the decision of your own choice and pursue your chosen activities are limited only in the same ways that one’s non-disabled neighbours are limited 

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Tel: 1300-303-135    Mobile: 0422-041-421

Address: 4/390 Clergate Road, ORANGE NSW 2800

Other Locations

North Manly NSW 2100,  Sourthbank VIC 3006