Better Access To Beaches For People With A Disability

  • December 17, 2009
  • Bruce Bromley

People with a disability will have better access to a safe beach environment this summer thanks to a Surf Life Saving Tasmania project.

Launching the Beach Experience Days program, the Minister for Human Services, Lin Thorp, congratulated Surf Life Saving Tasmania for the initiative with expert assistance from the Tasmanian Branch of National Disability Services and Cosmos Recreation Services.

“The Safer Beach Access and Experience Program for People with Disabilities and Mobility Issues project is a great example of groups working together to provide opportunities for people with a disability to enjoy sport and recreation,” Ms Thorp said.

“It also shows how sport and recreation can be inclusive and accessed by all Tasmanians, with participation opportunities for people with a disability an important part of the Tasmanian Government’s agenda.

“Beach Experience Days bring people with a disability together with surf life saving staff and provide safe beach access and familiarisation activities.

“They are part of a bigger project that is aiming to provide access to and awareness of avenues for people with a disability to enjoy Tasmanian beaches.”

The project includes:

  • an audit of the state’s beaches
  • research and development into how people with a disability can safely access our beaches
  • working with disability service providers to develop a ‘beach experience and engagement’ program to be rolled out at five different locations over summer
  • greater awareness of beach safety within the disability sector.

Surf Life Saving Tasmania received $31 000 from the Tasmanian Water Safety Council to deliver the project.

Ms Thorp said that the Tasmanian Government, through Sport and Recreation Tasmania, provides $30 000 per year to the Tasmanian Water Safety Council for allocation to programs and services like this one that are aligned with the Tasmanian priorities of the Australian Water Safety Strategy.

“Sport and Recreation Tasmania also recently released the Tasmanian Sport and Recreation Framework for People with a Disability, which will assist in the development of a more inclusive sport and recreation sector in Tasmania.

“Through participation in sport and recreation, individuals develop relationships, learn and share community values and attitudes, and can gain a better understanding of others.

“Physically active communities are inclusive, healthier and happier, and everyone is entitled to equal access to these benefits.”