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Making the Upper Hunter more accessible for people with disability

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Media Contact: Belinda Featherstone (McLucas) 0408 743 457 Christine Boyd (Joel Fitzgibbon MP) 0488 654 527

M e d i a R e l e a s e SENATOR JAN MCLUCAS Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Federal Member for Hunter 7 June 2011 MAKING THE UPPER HUNTER MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Senator Jan McLucas and Member for Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon today announced that the Upper Hunter Shire Council would receive $59,800 to improve accessibility for people with disability in the local area. The Upper Hunter Shire Council has been successful under the Australian Government’s $5 million Accessible Communities initiative to provide better access for people with disability to community halls and other amenities including toilet blocks. Mr Fitzgibbon said “People with disability deserve the same opportunities as other Australians.” “Providing better access to public buildings and community facilities will remove significant barriers for people with a disability accessing services, employment and taking part in the community.” Mr Fitzgibbon congratulated the Upper Hunter Shire Council on their grant. “It’s great to see the Upper Hunter Shire Council wanting to do more to support people with a disability and creating a more inclusive community.” Senator McLucas said the Government was delivering on its election commitment to provide more support for people within their community. “We are working hard to break down the obstacles faced by people with a disability,” Senator McLucas said. “The Accessible Communities program delivers practical support for local councils to ensure local people with disability, their families, friends and carers can get involved in community life. “Local councils will match the Government dollar for dollar to deliver these projects over the next year.” The Gillard Government is working hard to improve accessibility for people with disability. We’ve introduced new building access standards to ensure all new and upgraded public buildings in Australia are accessible to people with a disability. In addition, the Gillard Government is providing digital playback devices in public libraries around the country, improving cinema access for people with hearing and vision impairment and encouraging the adoption of Universal Housing Design principles. Accessible Communities is part of an $11 million accessibility package to support the National Disability Strategy.