Universal Design Policy Statement 2017

Hobsons Bay Council is dedicated to delivering an excellent quality of life for the people, both now and in the years to come. The company work hard to create a connected, clean and accessible environment, which values the diversity of its resident, protects the environment, and encourages an overwhelming sense of community.

With opportunities around every corner to help everyone achieve their best possible life, residents of any ability can unlock their full potential. Currently, the council is reviewing the public spaces and building available to ensure that they’re accessible for every individual, including those with disabilities, pram users, and older people, as well as those with a linguistically diverse background.

People with disabilities currently represent around 17% of the Hobson Bay Community or around 15,769 people. While disability can have a major impact on people in any environment, one of the largest issues is the physical barriers that people face within their everyday environment. These barriers make it difficult for people to enjoy a spontaneous and comfortable quality of life. A community must be a physically accessible space, with increased access for all community members.

As outlined by the Council’s Strategy for Disability Access and Inclusion 2013-17, and a person with a disability and their carers and family have highlighted that accessing spaces in Hobsons Bay is still crucial. These people also state that certain restaurants, shops, and playgrounds are still inaccessible. These barriers are putting people with a disability and their loved ones at a severe disadvantage.

At present, the council is constructing new buildings, and engaging in significant alterations and upgrades to comply with the Building Codes of Australia, ensuring compliance with access provisions regarding the Disability Discrimination act. However, these standards are only minimum requirements. The definition of universal design is more comprehensive and highlights the fact that products and environments should be accessible to everyone, without the adapted design being required.

Hobson’s Bay Council is now committed to going beyond those minimum standards and embracing the concepts of universal design in new buildings. The council will be engaging in significant upgrades to all buildings and working with other businesses and developers to encourage the use of the same wider principles within the Victorian and Australian governments. This will support the use of the universal design in all regulatory frameworks.

The Hobson’s Bay Council is dedicated to exceeding minimum standards and using Universal Design principles when creating new buildings, updating existing buildings, and doing minor maintenance works to existing buildings. What’s more, the council is working towards a future where all buildings will be accessible and inclusive.