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Australia

Disabled access in Australia

Australia shows great innovation in its way of handling disability issues, and its accessibility policy is widespread, even in places that seem to be the hardest to get to.

Provision for disabled people in Australia

Because the government is very open to discussion about disability issues, there is a genuine dialogue between citizens and politicians which enables the key players, such as charities to make effective provision. There are many examples to be found of inclusionof thedisabledin society, particularlyintheworldofwork. For example, a printing company in Tasmania is famous for its employment rate of 80% disabled people (including the blind and partially sighted, people with mobility problems and those with Down's syndrome).

Getting around and living in Australia

Because the social facilities for the disabled are so good, when you're travelling in Australia, you can enjoy enjoy the wonders that the country has to offer without too much difficulty, particularly in the cities like Sydney and Melbourne where all trains are accessible as are most of the buses and trams, both for wheelchair users and those with visual impairments. The city pavements are wide, so the main problems come when you get outside of the cities and into the suburbs or older buildings that haven't been adapted. There is assistance for travellers and you'll see the disability logo on maps of the underground stations and tram system, toshowingwhichstationsareaccessible with the proviso 'some trains' and 'all trains'. If you want to get about under your own steam, the hire car option is worth considering and there are cars with manual controls or standard cars adapted to suit your needs.

Wider doors (on the right) for wheelchairs

Like many other countries, hotels in Australia are obliged to have at least one room adapted to the needs of those with mobility problems. This also applies to public buildings, such as museums, restaurants and bars.

Special services provided

The big advantage of Australia, both for its citizens and visitors is all the services that the government has set up for the disabled, such a map of accessible toilets throughout Australia with the opening times, a national communication service that enables those with hearing loss to use the telephone via intermediaries, and a phone line to assist anyone having trouble accessing buildings or places in the city to combat problems of accessibility or at least reduce their impact.

In any case, bearing in mind the openness of the country with regard to disability, you can feel free to talk to Australians because it seems to be the (very best) way they've found to live together whatever their differences.

Ségolène Renoud-Lyat
Updated 18 November 2015

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