Paul Omodei

Paul Omodei


    Exmouth boat wins disability access award

    29/11/2000 12:39 PM

    After their first boat was destroyed during a cyclone, Exmouth tourism operators Bob and Naomi Edwards set about designing a replacement vessel that would allow people with disabilities the chance to view the Ningaloo Reef.

    Their efforts were rewarded in Perth on Tuesday when their boat, the Ningaloo Coral Explorer II, won the Disability Services Commission’s 2000 Action on Access Award in the Private Sector (for a small business) for a range of initiatives to meet the needs of customers with disabilities.

    These included ensuring the glass-bottom vessel was accessible to people with disabilities who use wheelchairs, providing a wheelchair-accessible bus to take tourists to and from the boat and working to provide beach matting and a waterproof wheelchair in the near future.

    Disability Services Minister Paul Omodei said disability touched the lives of more than half a million Western Australians - or one in three of the population - and access barriers effectively excluded people with disabilities and their families from services and facilities the rest of the community took for granted.

    “Access improvement is an area where the whole community can make a difference towards full community participation for people with disabilities,” Mr Omodei said.

    “The days of access being a rubber-backed ramp are gone. Access is now about universal design and good customer service.

    “Customers with disabilities are customers first and business which don’t cater for them do so at peril to their financial bottom line.

    “The efforts Bob and Naomi have made to improve access for people with disabilities to a picturesque part of our State set the standard for other businesses to follow and are to be applauded.”

    Media contact:
    Hugh Ryan 9213 6700