Paul Omodei

Paul Omodei


    Disability Services Minister launches Access Awards

    3/09/2000 11:00 AM

    Individuals, businesses, local governments and State Government departments are being encouraged to enter the 2000 Action on Access Awards to show their commitment to creating an accessible and welcoming community.

    Launching this year’s awards, Disability Services Minister Paul Omodei said the Action On Access Awards provided an opportunity to acknowledge and promote efforts by organisations and individuals to increase the community participation and quality of life of people with disabilities throughout Western Australia.

    The awards are organised by the Disability Services Commission and the peak consumer group, People With Disabilities.

    Mr Omodei said that while most people went about their daily lives without experiencing access barriers, the same was not always the case for people with disabilities.

    “Access barriers can present themselves in many ways - physical barriers may prevent people entering a building or facility and communication barriers may prohibit access to information about a service,” he said.

    “Of equal inconvenience are the barriers presented by a lack of understanding and awareness of the needs and rights of people with disabilities and how these can be met.”

    Mr Omodei said State Government agencies, local governments, the private sector, non-Government organisations, people with disabilities and others in the community had been working co-operatively to identify and address access barriers, encouraging a wave of access improvements across the State.

    “The improvements have been one of the most important achievements of our society in recent years,” the Minister said.

    “Many individuals have also made a major contribution to this process by working to increase community understanding of disability.

    “The Action on Access Awards celebrate the achievements of these organisations and individuals and encourage further improvements.

    Disability touches the lives of more than half a million Western Australians, or one in every three people. One in five Western Australians, or 355,500 people, have a disability, and more than one in 10, or 199,600 people, are the primary carers of friends or family members with disabilities.

    “Improvements in access not only benefit people with disabilities, but also others in the community such as seniors, tourists, parents with young children and people with temporary disabilities resulting from accidents or injuries.

    “Access improvement also makes good business sense. People with disabilities are a big segment of the consumer market. Because of the many challenges they face, they have considerable consumer loyalty to businesses which are accessible or have treated them with dignity and respect.”

    There are five primary categories in the Action on Access Awards, culminating in one overall award, the Dr Louisa Alessandri Award for Excellence in Action on Access.

    The Department of Conservation and Land Management won last year’s Dr Louisa Alessandri Award for Excellence in Action on Access for adopting the concept of universal access for its services and facilities throughout many of the State’s nature-based recreation and tourism areas.

    All CALM staff had been provided with the opportunity for disability awareness training.

    These moves have led to a progressive upgrading of CALM’s services, facilities and information to people with disabilities. All major developments in visitor facilities and services in natural environments include universal access and design principles.

    Other winners included the City of Perth and Karrinyup Shopping Centre, while Mr Paul Naomis, whose work has improved the quality of life of hundreds of Western Australians with disabilities, won the individual award.

    For further information on how to enter, contact Irma Schnecker at the Disability Services Commission on (08) 9426 9384, TTY (08) 9426 9315 or e-mail To access a web version of the entry package, go to

    Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700